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75 votes
Accepted

Why is “deal 6 damage” a legit phrase?

It's domain specific, and not something that would be said outside the context of a game like this. It's almost certainly an elided form of the following: Deal 6 points of damage. (And damage ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

Can "staff" ever be pluralized?

Some people confuse the terms collective noun with mass noun or uncountable noun. As a simple, relatable example, herd is a countable, collective noun. You can have one herd or multiple herds, even ...
CJ Dennis's user avatar
  • 4,022
33 votes

Why is “deal 6 damage” a legit phrase?

Generically, because it's established gaming jargon. While the answer by Jason Bassford is almost certainly correct about the origins of this particular bit of jargon, it's gotten to the point now ...
Austin Hemmelgarn's user avatar
29 votes

"She speaks an impeccable English" vs "She speaks impeccable English"

Some words and phrases in English can be either countable or uncountable. The difference in meaning between the two is often subtle. Sometimes the difference can shift us from a general concept to a ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 66.8k
29 votes

Can "staff" ever be pluralized?

Staff is a collective noun, so when you are talking about individuals within the staff, you would say something like 2 staff members A sentence like the following is also possible. Two ...
LeeV's user avatar
  • 282
27 votes
Accepted

What is the plural form of "magic"?

If you're referring to the idea in general, it's not countable. There's nothing to count. "Someone who practices magic", "friendship is magic", or "magic powers this device" would all fit this pattern....
Nathan Tuggy's user avatar
  • 9,514
22 votes
Accepted

"in 60 seconds or less" or "in 60 seconds or fewer"?

"60 seconds" is the amount of time, so by saying "60 seconds or less" you basically say "in less amount of time than 60 seconds." According to Lexico, less is also used with numbers when they are on ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 3,615
18 votes
Accepted

Can "traffic" be used as a shortened form of "traffic jam"

In American and British English, this use of "traffic" implies "heavy traffic". A "traffic jam" is a kind of very "heavy traffic" that moves very slowly. Notice that this meaning of "traffic" does ...
Jasper's user avatar
  • 24.3k
17 votes

"She speaks an impeccable English" vs "She speaks impeccable English"

I'm not going to tell you in absolute terms that #1 is never a valid sentence but I can still tell you that they are not going to mean the same thing. It is not the case that the first one is "more ...
shawnt00's user avatar
  • 763
16 votes

"She speaks an impeccable English" vs "She speaks impeccable English"

The other answers are baffling me. As a native speaker of American English, #1 sounds absolutely wrong. You don't speak "an English", so you can't speak "an impeccable English". You speak "English"...
BradC's user avatar
  • 2,764
14 votes
Accepted

"include a talk of" vs "include talk of"

Talk can be either countable or uncountable. See this from the Oxford Learner's Dictionary Uncountable (definitions 4, 5, 6): include talk of ... means there will be conversation or discussion ...
John Feltz's user avatar
  • 5,136
13 votes

Can "traffic" be used as a shortened form of "traffic jam"

I heard somewhere that in English-speaking countries folk use just "traffic" instead of "traffic jam" This is not the case in the UK. "Traffic" is, in this context, the vehicles using the roads. If ...
David Richerby's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Can one reminiscence comprise many items?

Verbs, including copulas, agree with their subjects, not their objects. A reminiscence is ... However— We don't use reminiscence in the sense you appear to intend. A reminiscence is an act of ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Which is correct 'Researches are going on' or 'Research is being carried out'?

In American English, "Researches are going on" is grammatically incorrect. As a noun, "research" is not countable. If Americans want to talk about more than one research project, they talk about "...
Jasper's user avatar
  • 24.3k
11 votes

What is the plural form of "magic"?

Alan and Nathan have both answered this, I'm only adding some references Magic is, indeed, an uncountable noun. However, an instance of magic is singular and so has often been made plural with the ...
PerryW's user avatar
  • 2,609
10 votes
Accepted

Is "prose" ever a count noun?

While uncountable nouns usually do not have plurals, they can sometimes follow an indefinite article. This could be when it is desired to qualify or limit the noun’s meaning. A crystalline prose, a ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
10 votes

Why is “deal 6 damage” a legit phrase?

As Jason Bassford's excellent answer indicates, "deal 6 damage" is an elided form of something like Deal 6 points of damage. Deal 6 damage tokens. and it's being used here as jargon, perhaps to ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Apples in the pie

There's a distinction between "apples" (countable) and "apple" (uncountable). I'd say that there's a distinction between "apples" and "apple" in this context: ...
nick012000's user avatar
  • 2,226
9 votes
Accepted

Is "funds" a plural or singular noun?

Fund is a countable noun meaning an amount of money kept for a specific purpose. There can be many different funds. Funds, in addition to its meaning as the plural of fund, is used as an uncountable ...
P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica's user avatar
9 votes

Apples in the pie

The dish is always called “apple pie“, and the main ingredients are: apple OR apples and sugar. Both the singular and the plural form are acceptable.
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 27.4k
8 votes

"She speaks an impeccable English" vs "She speaks impeccable English"

She speaks an impeccable English. Concept A: Not all Englishes are the same, even within a particular dialect. We have our own idiolects. Her English (the English she speaks) is impeccable. ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 127k
8 votes

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

There are 5 hepatitis B viruses in his liver This is valid, if you observed 5 individual viruses in his liver somehow. However only in a scientific context would you hear anything like this. In a ...
LawrenceC's user avatar
  • 36.9k
8 votes
Accepted

A single line of 'code' or 'codes'?

"Code" in the sense of "computer code" is a mass noun, and so has no plural. It would be "lines of code". code .... Computing mass noun Program instructions. ‘assembly ...
rjpond's user avatar
  • 23.1k
7 votes

How to ‘guess’ if a noun is countable or uncountable?

In general, nouns can be divided into abstract concepts and real-world (concrete) objects. Furthermore nouns can be divided into things measured by quantity or degree, and things measured by number. ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
7 votes
Accepted

"Distance" vs "a distance"

Distance The word distance is meaningful in both an uncountable sense and a countable sense. So, the type of determiner (or lack of any determiner) that you precede it with, or whether you use the ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 27.6k
7 votes

Is it wrong to say "what an irony is"?

Although irony is listed in dictionaries with a plural as well, we don't normally say "an irony". EXCEPT in certain cases such as: an irony of fate. An irony of history, An irony of situation. It ...
Lambie's user avatar
  • 45.7k
6 votes
Accepted

Which one to use, Much or Many?

They are both correct, given proper context. If you want to ask someone how many whole onions, they want, you use the former: A: I need you to get onions from the store. B: How many onions do ...
Catija's user avatar
  • 25.4k
6 votes
Accepted

“A lot of noise” vs. “a lot of noises”

A lot of noise means loud noise. One predominant type of noise, at high volume. A lot of noises means many different sounds. The jet airplane makes lots of noise. (Or The jet airplane makes a lot ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 8,220
6 votes

"no such thing" or "no such a thing"?

Like those who have commented, I find "no such a thing" to be ungrammatical, and think that the instances you have found are mistakes. However, looking in GloWbE (the corpus of Global Web-based ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.9k
6 votes
Accepted

Isn't "fog" uncountable when referring to a weather phenomenon?

fog the weather phenomenon is uncountable. The cove was shrouded in fog. fog the recurrent weather phenomenon is countable. This low-lying district is subject to fogs, some so thick you cannot ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 127k

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