Questions tagged [countability]

"Countability" is a property of English nouns, which reflects whether or not they have a plural form.

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Fish - countable or uncountable

I've heard people saying How much fish or How many fishes, so I don't know whether fish is countable or uncountable.
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Why is a singular noun, 'war', used in 'war was inevitable'?

In the 2nd explanation of the word 'thesis' in the Cambridge Dictionary online, an example sentence goes as 'their main thesis was that war was inevitable'. Why does it use a singular noun 'war' alone?...
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Is "town" a countable noun? [closed]

Is the noun "town" a countable or uncountable noun? Since the plural of "town" is "towns" it seems it is a countable noun. On google it said that is countable and ...
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Should there be an article before "rebound" in "a need for (a) rebound"? [closed]

Consider this sentence: He admits that the reason he initially contacted her was a need for a rebound. Is it better to avoid the second "a" and just leave it "a need for rebound"?...
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Is it natural to use the plural form of tea?

According to Oxford Dictionary, tea is uncountable. However, there's a countable form i.e. a cup of tea. Is it natural to leave out a cup of and just say two teas please, for example? I saw a sentence ...
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Which one is correct for general ideas? [closed]

Which one is correct? When I was a kid or when I was kid Kid is a general idea there. So should it be without the identifier? And also I sleep during a day or I sleep during day Isn't day a ...
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the usage of 'many', 'much', 'few', and 'little' as a pronoun

As far as I know, all the words can be used as a pronoun. 'many' and 'few' occur with countable nouns, while 'much' and 'little' with uncountable nouns. There are two confusing sentences, which I saw ...
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"A healthy food" or "healthy food"

Is a required before healthy food in my sentence? I like fast food, but it's not a healthy food.
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The sum of uncountable things and countable things

There are red colour, yellow colour and three pencils. Could I say “there are five things (2 qualities + 3 objects)”?
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Can “berries” refer to types of berries?

We call milk, water and wine “many liquids” when describing types of liquid. Likewise can we call blue berries, raspberries and strawberries “many berries” referring to types of berries?
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Is the article necessary in "The phone has 'a' good battery backup", and if so how is "backup" countable?

The phone has a good battery backup or the phone has good battery back. Is the article necessary? If necessary, how is the word "backup" countable here? The party is going to be outdoors,...
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How can a noun be countable and uncountable at the same time?

How can a noun be countable and uncountable at the same time? For example 'shock'. You can get a shock. I'm suffering from __ shock.
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"Two or less/fewer"

Couple can mean "two (or more)''. Pair will almost always mean "two (or less).'' Why is less used here? What's it mean? LESS https://oed.com/oed2/00132077 , FEW https://oed.com/oed2/...
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'at very high altitude', 'at very high altitudes': both are okay in this sentence?

I'd like to know and ask whether both the sentences below are correct. At very high altitude you will have difficulty breathing. At very high altitudes you will have difficulty breathing. My ...
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Are there any rules for placing a noun after a preposition?

I still cannot master which form of nouns (singular or plural) should be placed before and after the preposition "of". For example, if I want to refer to one book of each student, which one ...
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Apples in the pie

I came across an example in the book Oxford Discover by Emma Wilkinson. What was in the pie? Apples and sugar. I have learnt that when we can no longer count an ingredient, or when the amount of end ...
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Do people have multiple heads?

I know every person has their own head. -> Each person has a head above the neck. I can see other people's headS in the crowd. -> I can see lots of headS among the crowd. I know people have ...
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Such Business vs Such a Business? Which one is correct?

Singular nouns use an indefinite article (managing a business) and plural nouns use a definite article or no article (Managing the businesses or Managing businesses.) I have heard (not sure if read) ...
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Is "in fiction" right?

It is all very well for such things to occur in fiction. Why not use in fictions?
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Could you please suggest the correct article usage here?

In the following sentence, do I need an article before "external influence"? The juvenile being more vulnerable to (an?) external influence such as numerous marketing campaigns tend to be ...
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Countability of the word “gameplay”

I have searched all the online dictionaries, and they all say that the word “gameplay” is uncountable. The problem is that they don’t have the up-to-date meaning of the word “gameplay”. Can we use the ...
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Do you pluralize the word 'garment'?

For example, do you say: 'I want to buy cloth garment', or 'I want to buy cloth garments'? I more specifically would like to know the answer to cases like this, when it's getting multiple or all of ...
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Is a determiner, some or four, needed?

If there are 5 boys, 4 boys eat chicken, and 1 boy doesn't eat chicken, is saying just 'boys eat chicken' wrong?
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-1 votes
2 answers
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Theoretically, can I count something several times?

As a picture above shows, we say 'there are three spotlights' even though the three spotlights meet in one point and make an one circle. Isn't only 'there is one spotlight' correct?
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What statement is needed to hear

To hear someone describe it as '16 triangles,' from '1 triangle,' what should I say? I guess, 'how many triangles are there more exactly or more specifically?'
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Why doesn't 'half' only modify countable nouns? [closed]

Why doesn't 'half' only modify countable nouns? According to the definition, isn't 'half' also number?
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1 answer
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Are 'complexity' and 'performance' countable or noncountable?

First of all, I am sorry to ask a question that is worth asking a lot of people, but I could not find an answer that was right for me, so I am posting a new question. In many scientific journals, e.g.,...
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Can I express counting like this? [closed]

If there are 2 but there aren't 4, is 'half 4' valid phrase to express 2? Otherwise, is it valid only when there are 4?
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Is “stock” used both countable and uncountable?

I learned that the word “stock” is uncountable when used to mean “the goods or merchandise kept on the premises of a business or warehouse and available for sale or distribution“ as in “This item is ...
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"shorthand" - uncountable or not?

Cambridge dictionary lists "shorthand" as an uncountable word. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/shorthand) However, I see a lot of its usage with the indefinite article. ...
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Does decline have plural form?

Does decline have plural form? Is it correct to say there were declines in the amount of fish and beef consumed in the UK? One of my students asked me this question in an IELTS Writing class, but I ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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A single line of 'code' or 'codes'?

What and why should I use, a single line of 'code' or 'codes'? Example sentence: Today we don't need to write a single line of codes to do anything
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1 answer
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"All hopes are gone!"

Is there any grammatical problem using 'hope' as a plural noun? Can't we say: All hopes are gone I wrote in a sentence but the Grammar software marked it incorrect. It says it has to be: All hope ...
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Is "Load" countable or non-countable?

Which one is correct: We notice that they may incur load to the box. Or, We notice that they may incur a load to the box. EDIT: the load means computing load.
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Do native speakers use this construction with numbers?

We often say something like "a million and two hundred dollars" or "ten thousand and fifty five dollars", which are the common ways to say such things. However, I remember a ...
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"Wage" vs "Wages". Another use of "wages"

Laura was complaining for a wage. Laura was complaining for the wage. Which one would be correct?
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1 answer
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An uncountable noun can be counted when the context is clear?

Questions: (a) In a clear context, especially when telling the listener that there are types or versions of it, any uncountable noun can actually be counted, no matter what the uncountable noun is, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Should I use an article in “extract text from document” phrases?

I am writing an article about the extraction of an entire text from a document. I am not sure if I should use "a", "the", or nothing in "extract text" phrases. Sample sentences: "How to extract text ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
452 views

Can we say "He is a scum"?

According to dictionaries, "scum" can be used in countable or uncountable sense; but "He is a scum" sounds wrong to my ears. Can the sentences "He is a scum" and "He is scum" be used interchangeably?
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1 answer
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a chocolate vs some chocolate

Would you like a chocolate? (If I offer to taste one chocolate from a box.) Would you like some chocolate? (If I offer to taste a bar of chocolate.) Is it correct?
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3 answers
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Why is bread uncountable?

I'm a Persian, and we consider bread countable in Persian language. I wonder why is bread considered uncountable in English language?
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1 answer
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Livelihood vs livelihoods usage

I am really confused about the usage of livelihood and livelihoods in below sentences: "The falling orders for new ships mean that many shipyard workers are likely to lose their livelihood." "Many ...
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1 answer
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Use of indefinite article before "worsening"

Since worsening is an uncountable, singular noun according to the Cambridge dictionary, I dont know how an indefinite article comes before it. For example: " No one could have predicted such a ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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"so much to do"

Why is it usually "so much to do" than "so many to do"? Isn't it "things to do"? I don't mind to think that a certain number of things can be considered as a certain amount of things, though the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Need help with a list of quantifiers please

I'm trying to figure out if this list of quantifiers is countable, uncountable or both. I have marked them as either: C (COUNTABLE), UC (UNCOUNTABLE) or B (BOTH). I use the following simple (...
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1 answer
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have a friendship or have friendship

BBC: I have friendship with all the living beings The New York Times: I have multiple doormen and I have a friendship with one of them According to Cambridge, friendship is both countable and ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Is it wrong to say "what an irony is"?

Some rude person said my English was bad, because I said "I know what an irony is" instead of "I know what irony is". Although the second sounds better, I don't think the first is incorrect ...
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1 answer
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Which one is more used: tomato or tomatoes / strawberry or strawberries?

When asking "Do you like...?" or saying "I like or I don't like...", is it more idiomatic to put "tomato" or "strawberry" in the singular or in the plural?
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2 answers
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Article in the question "do you like". With or without articles

Do you like hamburger or do you like a hamburger ? Do you like orange or do you like an orange ? Which one of these above is correct ? Do we have to use a / an/ the articles after "like" or not ?
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

"Distance" vs "a distance"

I would like to understand in which cases the word "distance" is a mass noun and in which it is not. Indeed, distance is something that one can measure, so for me it looks like it should be ...
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