134

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 meat, in all its various uses. On the other hand, I love hamburgers means you like the specific use of ground beef in a hamburger, with the bun, lettuce,...


48

In your example, you could use pieces, as in I have thirty pieces of homework to grade every week. piece noun [ C ] (THING) a single object of a particular type: a piece of furniture/clothing/equipment a piece of paper (= a whole sheet) a piece of china (= an object made of china) a piece of information/advice (Cambridge Dictionary) However, ...


34

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 though a single herd is composed of multiple members. Twenty cows are crossing the road. A herd of cows is crossing the road. Three herds of cows are ...


31

From the context, I take the paper as a piece of writing usually on an academic or official subject as in They published a landmark paper in 1995. Or it can refer to a piece of writing that is done for a course at a school. As in He handed in a paper [=essay] about the nesting habits of birds. The teacher was busy grading papers. In either sense ...


29

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 members of staff will join this month. I believe that's the uncountable usage you are referring to. But when you are talking about multiple collections, you can ...


25

You are given homework assignments: [Merriam-Webster] 2 b : a specified task or amount of work assigned or undertaken as if assigned by authority • a homework assignment The students were given a homework assignment.


25

The short answer is that the words "art/arts" and "science/sciences" are used differently in various idiomatic ways. Both "art" and "science" can be considered mass nouns, often referred to as uncountable nouns. If you had a collection of many pieces of art, you could refer to it all as "my art". Likewise, &...


21

Overview The central issue of question is the countable and uncountable usages of the words science and art. Explanation Following are two common usages of science: (uncountable): All activity that we think of as scientific (that is, all research based on the scientific method). (countable): Any field of science (that is, any specific discipline of ...


21

The other answers have pointed to the distinction between art and arts in Modern English, a polysemous word borrowed from Latin via French. There is a historical dimension to this, which I think is a crucial part of the explanation. If you went to university in medieval Europe, you wouldn't study Linguistics or Economics or anything like that, but instead ...


20

Your grammar book is, unfortunately, incorrect. Culture is both countable and uncountable, depending on which definition you mean: culture (n): [mass noun] The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively [count noun] The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society. ...


20

"Eggs" is countable and means those oval things that are laid by birds. "Egg" isn't countable. It normally wouldn't make sense to say "egg" as eggs themselves are countable, but you could say "have we got any egg" if you were in a restaurant kitchen that used powdered or liquid egg rather than individual shelled eggs.


19

I think the lesson on Learn English Today is very clear. A lot of can be used in all sentences: affirmative, negative and interrogative. Much and many are used in negative and interrogative sentences. They are rarely used in affirmative sentences, except if they begin the sentence. So, the sentence in the question is most commonly written or spoken ...


18

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 noun usually will be used. The countable one is used for a specific quantity. "I love pizza" but "Today I ate three small pizzas". Love is a splendid thing. I ...


17

As others have said, it depends on what is meant by "paper." If the speaker means a sheet of paper (or a slip of paper, or a note written on a piece of blue paper), then you are right – it's not a very good sentence, and it's an awkward use of the indefinite article. However, if the speaker means an academic paper (or a published paper, or a journal ...


15

The short answer is no. The adjective does not change the syntax. The long answer is that nouns can convert class from mass to count or vice versa. There's an old joke that if you have a really powerful machine that turns anything into powder ("a universal grinder") then you can make any noun from a count noun into a mass noun -- "that's a lot of man on ...


14

A "whole piece" of garlic is called a head of garlic. Hence, How much garlic do you want? How many heads of garlic do you want?


14

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 uncountable noun for the feeling), when there are multiple sources of optimism we tend to say something like "I have many reasons to be optimistic". Although as ...


13

One definition of zero is 2 the absence of a measurable quantity However, this is a noun. As an adjective, zero means not any or no Based on this definition, it is correct to use it to describe a mass noun to say there is none of it. I've noticed that using "zero" instead of "no" is usually used to emphasize the lack of whatever it's describing.


13

Let's have breakfast. Here the word breakfast is an abstract noncount noun. "Abstract" means that you can't touch it with you hands, roughly speaking. Let's have a good breakfast. Here the word breakfast is "modified" by the adjective "good". This allows us to use a. Quirk et al.'s Comprehensive Grammar mentions this usage: The partitive ...


13

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). Thus: 1: We can hold our heads up - 720 hits in Google Books 2: We can hold our head up - 121 hits But if you look at some of the results there, I'm sure ...


13

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 goats.  If I want to compare those two milks, then I'm using the word "milk" in a countable sense and phrases like "a different milk" and "those two milks" ...


12

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 (e.g. houses, newspapers, dogs, students, children). For example: People these days are buying fewer newspapers. Fewer students are opting to study science-...


11

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 “individual sums” or “discrete sums” of money. That being said, Monies, and even Moneys, can technically be used to refer to the plural form of Money, despite ...


11

“Garlic” is an uncountable noun. So you should say "How much garlic do you want?", not "How many garlic(s) do you want?" The whole garlic consisting of cloves is called a “head” or “bulb”. So you can also say: How many heads/bulbs of garlic do you want? How many cloves of garlic do you want?


10

"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 pronunciations Also, the reason why the writer put an before "homage" is because the pronunciation of homage is kind of all over the place, with some ...


10

A fleet of cars is parked. Why? It might help to consider the sentence without the prepositional phrase: A fleet ... is parked. While a fleet of cars is many cars, our sentence is describing only one "fleet". Consider also: The team is at the stadium A team is made up of many people, but the team itself is one item. We can add a prepositional ...


10

"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 places where they're sold.


10

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 leaden prose, a sparkling and lively prose. Macmillan Dictionaries, the source of your second definition of 'prose', has an article: Can the indefinite article be ...


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