Questions tagged [uncountable-nouns]

For questions about nouns that are viewed as a "mass" or "whole" that cannot be counted or separated. These nouns usually aren't used in the plural, with the indefinite article ("a" or "an"), or with numbers.

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114
votes
10answers
24k views

Why do we say "I love cake" but "I love cars"?

Why do some nouns need to be in the plural for that structure to work, while some are ok in the singular? E.g.: I love pizza, I love beef, etc. I always thought it was a matter of countable x ...
36
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is "science" in "Bachelor of Science" singular, whereas "arts" in "Bachelor of Arts" is plural?

In the following degrees — "Bachelor of Science" and "Master of Science" — "science" is an uncountable or singular noun. In contrast, in "Bachelor of Arts" and ...
20
votes
11answers
6k views

Is "bananas is" possible by any chance?

My brother is a highschooler. His mid-term English-language exam is early next month. His teacher gave him an assignment in preperation for the exam. One of the questions given is: (Bears - bananas ...
20
votes
5answers
632 views

Can "zero" be used to describe uncountable nouns?

“There was zero courage in this verdict,” he said. ”I think this goes to the jury not wanting to make a difficult decision." I learned that mass nouns cannot be enumerated. Yes, I know that zero ...
19
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9answers
9k views

What's the correct unit for homework?

Consider the case when a teacher has thirty students in the class. The noun "homework" is uncountable so he cannot say "I have thirty homeworks to grade every week." My question is that if there is ...
18
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4answers
8k views

Can "staff" ever be pluralized?

I am under the impression that the word staff is uncountable/singular when referring to a collection of employees in a company. This is corroborated by some online sources I have found: Macmillan and ...
13
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3answers
14k views

Singular or plural usage for 'face' in the sentence

We should wash our face with clean water. We should wash our faces with clean water. Which is more natural, 'face' or 'faces'? Does the plural subject 'we' require a plural noun in the object?
12
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3answers
13k views

Does an uncountable noun take an article if it has an adjective before it?

We all know that uncountable noun does not take an article. But then, if there's an adjective modifying an uncountable noun what should happen? An article before adjective + uncountable noun? OR ...
11
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3answers
5k views

Using indefinite articles before adjectives: "Let's have a good breakfast"

Let's have breakfast Let's have a good breakfast I've learned that indefinite articles aren't used before uncountable nouns, so why is a used before the adjective "good" here? Is there an ...
10
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5answers
5k views

I gave him a paper to read

I gave him a paper to read. I am really uneasy about this sentence. The thing which makes me upset, is "a paper" in this sentence. I had read in Wren & Martin long ago. A paper is wrong. A ...
10
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3answers
4k views

Understanding, countable or not?

Read the sentence below- "Christine Sterling’s determination to repackage her Olvera Street concept into something Chinese has been matched by her total lack of understanding of our culture, ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Formally can money be in a plural form (monies) or not?

I have studied that money is a mass noun, but now I saw that money can be in plural form as well. So I am confused. when we say on something that it's uncountable, then should it not be in one form ...
9
votes
1answer
975 views

Is 'optimism' countable?

Cambridge Dictionary offers the sentence below as an example of give rise to: International support has given rise to a new optimism in the company. Although it's shown in Cambridge Dictionary and ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Why some countable nouns treated as uncountable?

since the inception of the iPod we have seen numerous audio formats come to market yet only a select few of them have been adopted on a mass scale. (Source: What is the best audio format? - ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

Is the sentence "Paul drinks much milk" grammatically correct or not?

I'm doing my homework. The question is Is this sentence ‘Paul drinks much milk.’ grammatically correct? For me the answer is yes, because the quantifier "much" is used before non-count ...
8
votes
3answers
29k views

"Some" and "Any"; countables and uncountable

I'm doing my English homework and my book says these sentences are correct: 1) Do you have any wine? 2) Can I have some water, please? My questions are: These sentences are structured differently. ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it correct to say "There are 5 hepatitis B viruses in his liver"?

Ok, in this dictionary, virus is a countable noun. All the tomato plants are infected with a virus. But why rice is an uncountable noun while virus is a countable noun though it is so much harder ...
7
votes
2answers
14k views

"Have you ever had surgery?" Why does surgery in this sentence have no article?

Can't we ask instead, Have you ever had a surgery? Is surgery a countable noun? I guess we can speak of surgeries in the plural form. Why should we use zero article in this sentence? Update: What ...
7
votes
2answers
30k views

Is experience countable or uncountable?

"Seeing the Grand Canyon was certainly____(an /some) experience." Is experience countable or uncountable? Should I use some or an?
7
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2answers
3k views

Why is "schematics" used in its plural form for a single item?

I am a visitor from Electronics.SE, where we often discuss the schematics for various devices. Mostly asking a user to post the schematics, because it is impossible to follow someone's thoughts ...
7
votes
3answers
744 views

How to distinguish countable and uncountable senses?

The general rule is to use an article for countable nouns (i.e. nouns permitting a plural) and no article for uncountable nouns. However, some nouns may be countable in one sense and uncountable in ...
6
votes
7answers
4k views

How many pieces of garlic? How much garlic? uncountable noun

I learned that we should say How much gravel do you have now? since "gravel" is an uncountable noun, but it's also okay to say How many pieces of gravel do you have now? Then, how about garlic,...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

"got any eggs" vs. "got any egg"

Have we got any eggs? vs Have we got any egg? What is the difference between these two sentences in terms of meaning?
6
votes
1answer
6k views

Confusion about 'less' and 'fewer' in sentences with countable/uncountable nouns

There were no less (or no fewer) than fifty persons in the dining hall. In 25 words or fewer/less, please summarize what took place. fewer / less calories? The hamburgers should contain no less/fewer ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

It is said that we cannot use articles with "abstract nouns" but what about "Don't tell a lie"?

It is said that we cannot use articles with "abstract nouns". But here articles are used with them? I am just confused. How do you explain this in detail? Don't tell a lie. Speak the truth. I ...
6
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4answers
2k views

Have a good command of something – is "command" countable or uncountable?

I am confused, the following examples are from the Oxford dictionary, all from the same entry (2). Why in some cases it is "a command" and in some it is treated as uncountable? ‘he had a brilliant ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it 'lesser' or 'less' when describing an amount of water?

From the following sentences, which one is more grammatically correct? Carbohydrates in diet need less amount of water in comparison to proteins and fats. Carbohydrates in diet need lesser amount of ...
5
votes
2answers
645 views

Using "a" with the word "slang"

Can I use the word "slang" with an indefinite article "a"? For example: That phrase is an obvious slang. or That choice of words is an obvious slang.
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Isn't it wrong to use the word "homage" as a countable noun in this book?

I came across this line in the book Ship of Theseus(p.14): It's just an homage to his writing. (the hand-written notes filling the book's margins are printed and an inseparable part of the book.) ...
5
votes
5answers
36k views

If 'Social Media' is uncountable and plural, why do we say 'Social media is...'?

This all began when I saw Grammarly giving me a red line on the verb has. My sentence, as I remember roughly, was... Social media has all potential to make your products and services popular The ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is is grammatical to use a mass noun after the phrase "the majority of"?

The majority of people who have a church wedding ... is grammatical because "people" is a countable noun, but, for example, "driving" is not: The majority of driving is done on country roads or ...
5
votes
1answer
120 views

Can an uncountable noun be an apposition of a countable noun?

Can an uncountable noun be an apposition of a countable noun? For example, A castle, sand, is desturcted. It means a sand castle (a castle made of sand) is destructed.
5
votes
2answers
830 views

Which follows an uncountable noun of multiple things, singular or plural verb?

Which of these sentences is better? The water usage of Alice and Bob are different. The water usage of Alice and Bob is different. The first one seems better because we can treat two ...
5
votes
2answers
60k views

"Part of the team" vs. "a part of the team"

I see both of these are used: I'm part of Acme's technical team. I'm a part of Acme's technical team. Which one sounds more natural when introducing myself in an email? Is "Part" ...
5
votes
1answer
24k views

"How many...." vs. "How much fish"

What is the correct way to say the following phrase: How many fish did you catch yesterday? How much fish did you catch yesterday? Is fish countable or uncountable here? Given the answer ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is "singular noun + and + singular noun" singular or plural?

When I type "[singular noun] and [singular noun]" in Word 2010, I find some interesting things. Bread and butter is essential. (the auto-correction warns me of subject-verb disagreement.) ...
5
votes
1answer
18k views

countable and uncountable word "noise" - a sound

According to the Oxford dictionary, the word noise can be considered countable or non-countable when it means "a sound, especially when it is loud, unpleasant or disturbing". But it doesn't provide ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

A noise or any noise(s)?

In Longman's Common Mistakes in English Grammar Practice, 6th Ed. by T.J. Fitikides (2002), at #251 the author recommends using make a noise instead of make noise. The example sentences go like this: ...
5
votes
1answer
617 views

How to use a word when its meaning is both countable & uncountable?

A meaning of a noun in English may be both countable & uncountable. For example, The Longman dictionary says: fruit [countable, uncountable]: something that grows on a plant, tree, or bush,...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

which one is correct? I don't like egg? or I don't like eggs? [duplicate]

which one is correct? I don't like egg? or I don't like eggs? After "don't like" we should use singular or plural form.
4
votes
3answers
7k views

different "culture" or different "cultures"

I believe this is simple, yet crucial and time-worthy to know amongst ELLs. As a traveler, I've experienced different culture/cultures across the world. First off, culture is an uncountable noun. ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Strange use of "were" with uncountable nouns [duplicate]

In the sentence If aging were programmed, then... were is used instead of is or was or have been. Why?
4
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4answers
8k views

"Thank you for the good advice" - can this refer to a single piece of advice?

Jim: I cannot use Linkedin! It is blocked! Tim: You can use friGate, it's a nice addon that will help you. Jim: I've just installed it, and it works. Thank you for the good advice! I wonder if ...
4
votes
2answers
553 views

Is "prose" ever a count noun?

He writes a crystalline prose (source) I find this countable usage of "prose" from the Oxford Dictionaries very unusual. I have never seen "prose" used countably. In contrast, several dictionaries ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

All this information

Is it correct to say all this information? I know that the noun information is uncountable, and subsequently preceded by this instead of these, but I wonder whether the full phrase *all* this ...
4
votes
3answers
30k views

Can "expertises" as a plural form be used?

I've seen here that there is no plural of expertise, so what should I do in the following sentence? the different expertise is/are complementary. To put into context, we have a multidisciplinary ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are "software", "advice", and "information" uncountable?

Sometimes in English I encounter words which are uncountable, while they may be countable in my native language causing some mistakes in my sentences, and I wonder why they are uncountable. For ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Indefinite article before uncountable "drink" nouns, e.g. "a water"

I have been reading Bad for You (a novel) for the last seven days. I have seen in the novel that the writer used the indefinite article a before a uncountable noun water. I glanced at Linc again. ...
4
votes
2answers
966 views

What is correct - grape flavor or grapes flavor?

Its very confusing which is correct: grape flavor or grapes flavor We had a debate in our office regarding the collective noun - Grapes As per user3169 [in ELL]: "You should use grapes though, ...
4
votes
1answer
256 views

Why “desert” in the following examples are used as uncountable?

Below are some dictionary examples in which the noun desert is used as an uncountable: this area of the country is mostly desert (Longman) drought and deforestation are turning fragile ...

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