I've got to go to work now. Instead of looking for nouns that can be both c. and unc., I expect you to find a bunch of nouns that are strictly c. (or vice versa). Let's do this for the sake of Truth.
From what I've read so long in this thread, I would say one thing has been proved: given the right context, you can find combinations like "a furniture" or "a music".
Then, there's the correctness issue. IMO, teaching English (or any other language, for that matter) implies showing your students the "correct" way to say things. But one must be aware that what is taught and what students will find in the real world/everyday life might differ. And I, for one, have commonly told my advanced students that they might hear "incorrect" but "accepted" versions of what I had just told them.
Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.
Bottom line: in informal conversations, native speakers do not always follow prescriptive grammar.
Does it bother me? No. It's completely beyond me why you would get mad over this. "Proper English" is an ideal that doesn't exist, or is at the very least very rare. I think that someone said this in this forum some time ago.
And I definitely don't get mad because of this. It does happen to me that it's difficult for me to accept some usages, and I do refrain from using certain widely accepted constructions just because I don't like or don't understand them. But I find it hard to understand why anyone would get mad at language. Even though I know there are people who do.
Last edited by birdeen's call; 10-Sep-2012 at 12:48.
moving the goalposts". Bennevis, you asked for an example of "passenger" used as an uncountable noun, BC has given you one.