138 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 ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
44 votes
Accepted

In the sentence "She says she has no friends," the number of friends is zero, why is "friends" still plural?

It's just that the normal expectation is she would have several friends. We use the singular in contexts like He has no wife, or I have no car. We tend to use "do-support" or "got-...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
42 votes

In the sentence "She says she has no friends," the number of friends is zero, why is "friends" still plural?

The rule is not "two or more". The rule is "not equal to one". Zero takes a plural verb. "Zero books are on the shelf", NOT "Zero books is on the shelf." ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 65.7k
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 ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
  • 12.9k
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
  • 65.7k
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 &...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 889
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 ...
Lambie's user avatar
  • 44.8k
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

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".
Jack O'Flaherty's user avatar
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). ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
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 ...
Gary Botnovcan's user avatar
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 ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 102k
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 “...
Hank's user avatar
  • 484
11 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 ...
David Richerby's user avatar
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
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. ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 65.7k
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
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 - ...
Maulik V's user avatar
  • 66.1k
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
  • 124k
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
  • 36.8k
8 votes
Accepted

Can we connect two of the same plural nouns with a preposition?

In none of these examples is it idiomatic to use the plural, neither for the nouns nor the verbs. One would say Village after village was destroyed./ City after city was set on fire./Page after page ...
WS2's user avatar
  • 5,125
8 votes
Accepted

Is there any rule that there should always be an article before a singular, uncountable, and common noun?

Paracetamol is the name of a substance, and is normally non-countable. As a non-count noun it doesn't use a singular article, or have a plural form. It does have a countable sense, meaning "a ...
James K's user avatar
  • 219k
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 ...
Veedrac's user avatar
  • 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. ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
7 votes

In the sentence "She says she has no friends," the number of friends is zero, why is "friends" still plural?

In English we use the basic form of a noun for a count of exactly one, and the plural form for every other number. It's hard to say why that is - that's just the rule in English. The rules are ...
bdsl's user avatar
  • 523
6 votes
Accepted

So, the sentence "I read book" is wrong, isn't it?

Yes, the sentence is wrong. That website gives some pretty poor guidelines for article usage, but most websites do. But you did deduce that '*I read book' is wrong. You usually, but not always, ...
Alan Carmack's user avatar
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 ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 59.7k
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 ...
SteveES's user avatar
  • 4,659
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 ...
Lawrence's user avatar
  • 6,001

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