139 votes
Accepted

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

Often the countable and uncountable versions of an English noun will refer to different things. For example, "hamburger". If you say, I love hamburger it means that you enjoy the actual ground ...
  • 87.2k
35 votes
Accepted

Why the "soap" here is singular?

The answer is simpler than you think: soap is uncountable. In English, soap is conceptually a mass, a lump of homogenous material, which is typically not a countable noun. However, many mass nouns, if ...
  • 9,134
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 ...
  • 57.8k
28 votes

Is it 'oils' or 'oil'?

Oil is a mass noun, and so does not normally take a plural Like most mass nouns though, the plural form "oils" can be used to refer to multiple distinct varieties In this case, the use of &...
  • 680
22 votes

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

The general rule (which I am coming up with as I write) is this: In referring to a general state of affairs, when nouns are countable and uncountable (pizza, bread, coffee, etc.), the uncountable ...
  • 36.5k
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 ...
  • 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"...
  • 2,688
14 votes

Is it 'oils' or 'oil'?

If a variety of types of oil are shown, the plural fits better. If they are all the same, it should be singular, "some of our premium Shell oil".
13 votes

Singular or plural usage for 'face' in the sentence

If each individual [item] implied by a plural subject has only one of something (each of us has one face, in OP's example), we tend to extend the plurality of the subject (we) to the object (faces). ...
13 votes

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

In ordinary usage, nouns like "milk" and "water" are uncountable.  There are times, however, when such words do have a countable sense.  For example, cows produce a different milk than ...
13 votes
Accepted

Is 'optimism' countable?

Optimism is not countable - you cannot have "optimisms". The word describes an overall outlook. Unlike the feeling of love (which can be a countable noun for the things/people you love as well as an ...
  • 76.7k
11 votes

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

Although Money is a mass noun, and therefore doesn't NEED a plural form, Garner and The Cambridge Guide to English Usage explain that Monies is usually used by legal or finance writers to talk about “...
  • 484
10 votes

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

Remember: Less head-scratching, fewer mistakes I could not find anything simpler than this. Straight from the OxfordDictionaries.com Use 'fewer' if you’re referring to people or things in the plural (...
  • 65k
10 votes
Accepted

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

"Homage" is a countable noun, in the sense of "an act done in tribute of or respect for something". (in fact it's the usual meaning of the word nowadays) An entry, showcasing meanings and different ...
10 votes

Why some countable nouns treated as uncountable?

"Come to market" is an idiomatic phrase meaning "go on sale to the general public". It doesn't mean that the phones have come to markets, i.e., been moved into position in shops, markets and other ...
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 ...
9 votes

Singular or plural usage for 'face' in the sentence

In this case, I'd say you need the plural "faces". As, presumably, we each have our own face, you are talking about many faces here. But it isn't true that a plural subject requires a plural object. ...
  • 57.8k
8 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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
  • 35.9k
8 votes
Accepted

Why some countable nouns treated as uncountable?

The word market here is not referring to a physical place. Instead, it's an abstract. Of course, in that sense, it won't take any article. Had it been a physical place, it would have been - ...
  • 65k
7 votes

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

Note that "I love cakes" sounds entirely natural to me, though it has a different nuance. Cake is the uncountable term for the stuff cakes are made of, so saying you love cake implies that you love ...
  • 179
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. ...
  • 87.2k
6 votes
Accepted

Money - Countable or Uncountable noun

Sugar is uncountable: grains of sugar are countable. Air is uncountable: oxygen molecules are countable. Money is uncountable: dollars are countable. Sometimes we want to use a collective term for ...
  • 56.6k
6 votes

Using "Some" with Singular Countable Nouns

In your example sentences, some is being used as a determiner to: refer to a particular person or thing without stating exactly which one - Cambridge Dictionary definition C1 More than this, it is ...
  • 4,634
6 votes
Accepted

Why can "core" be a plural form of "core"?

Literally, the word core refers to things inside a 3D structure (fruit, planets, etc). Figuratively, core has the notion of the thing or value etc that is 'central' or 'most important'. When used in ...
  • 5,806
6 votes

Is "handwriting" countable or uncountable?

Handwriting is usually uncountable, and is almost always uncountable in everyday conversation. If you are complimenting someone's handwriting, you would say You have good handwriting. However, ...
  • 1,906
5 votes
Accepted

A lot of experience or a lot of experiences?

Experience can be a countable or uncountable noun. For your meaning, you would use I have a lot of experience. (I have a lot of experience in corporate finance.) because you are talking about ...
  • 9,899
5 votes

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

Homage is definitely countable, although it is rarely used in the plural. The typical modern meaning of homage (definition 2 at the link) is a special and notable honor paid to someone, so it is ...

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