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  1. #71
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    Fine. Our hypothesis is that "passenger" is countable. Let's try to disprove it.

    The only thing that comes to mind is, 'I eat passengers for breakfast.' I'm too tired to think of anything else, or to determine whether this usage of "passengers" is uncountable.
    I understood we were working with the following defintion of countable and uncountable usages of nouns:

    If a noun takes an indefinite article, it is used countably. If a noun takes its plural form, it is used countably too. If it takes no article and is used in its singular form, we say it's used uncountably. We leave the other cases alone.


    Under this definition, "passengers" in "I eat passengers for breakfast" is used countably.

  2. #72
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    OK, sorry. I'll have another go before I go to bed.

    I eat passenger for breakfast.

    I like passenger.
    Analogous to 'I like chicken.'

    I have to admit, they're not good examples, but both appear to satisfy the rule you quoted, 'If it takes no article and is used in its singular form, we say it's used uncountably.'

  3. #73
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    OK, sorry. I'll have another go before I go to bed.

    I eat passenger for breakfast.

    I like passenger.
    Analogous to 'I like chicken.'

    I have to admit, they're not good examples, but both appear to satisfy the rule you quoted, 'If it takes no article and is used in its singular form, we say it's used uncountably.'
    Yes, I agree with that, though, as you say, these are rather strange examples. It would take a really elaborate story for these sentences not only to make sense but also to be natural.

    I've found two real-life bottle examples:

    For my daughter, I though I would at least give it a go and see, but the intense pain was still there, so I though I would try expressing and feeding a mixture of bottle and boob.


    BF is ok if you want to go that way, but bottle can be just as rewarding.

    (Formula Feeding - Page 2 - Eques Forum)

  4. #74
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    In any case, I agree with 5jj.

    The problem with the whole countable/uncountble issue is that, in my opinion, it's all about whether the countable or uncountable form makes any sense in our current day and age. Before the invention of bottles, a statement like, 'Can I have a water with my sandwich?' would not have made any sense (if "a water" refers to a bottle of water").

    At this moment, something like 'hydrogens' or 'calciums' is not widely accepted in the scientific community. I would be very surprised if in you'd find many citations in academic journals of something like "hydrogens". This doesn't mean that we will never use hydrogen uncountably, it just means that at this moment it's not widely used as an uncountable noun. There is nothing "absolute" about hydrogen being a countable noun.
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 10-Sep-2012 at 00:21. Reason: a lot of typos and so on

  5. #75
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    I don't know if anyone cares, but I'm still looking.

    I haven't been lucky with "passenger" and the internet so far, but I do have a construction in which it could plausibly be used uncountably. "There's too much passenger in him." I think it's probable enough, and the pattern could be useful to someone attempting to prove my previous categorical statement about countable and uncountable nouns.

    Even his haphazardness is getting predictable, even his unnecessarily ideological heterosexuality is more an expression of mood than a statement of policy, even in 1968 he had too much dinosaur in him.


    (brian joseph davis | Tumblr)

    I find it rather disturbing that the T20 Captain is so 'over enthusiastic' when it comes to appealing. How many stupid reviews will England give away when he is bowling and is captain as well. He may well be a good captain when, and if, he matures but not at present. Too much schoolboy in him.


    (BBC Sport - England v West Indies, first Test, day four as it happened)

    As for "window": How much window is too much window?

    That's another pattern that can yield plenty of examples.

    Added: Colloquially, "that's a lot of [singular noun]" is sometimes used even with nouns that are usually countable, This is from COCA:

    STAHL: (Voiceover) They're in the same school, but the rules are that parent and child are never in the same classroom, and that's just fine with her son. What's the worst thing for you, Demetrius? DEMETRIUS-1Studen# STAHL: Seeing her every day? DEMETRIUS: Yeah, because I have to see her at home, then see her at school. So that's the worst thing. STAHL: That 's a lot of mother in one day. DEMETRIUS: Mm-hmm.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 10-Sep-2012 at 01:06.

  6. #76
    Bennevis's Avatar
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    You can keep rationalizing about it, but let's see if you can disinter any examples on using "a money".

  7. #77
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    You can keep rationalizing about it, but let's see if you can disinter any examples on using "a money".
    Gold is a money that governments don’t print. It’s a way to hold value when there is nothing to invest in because it stores value the way money is supposed to.”

    Thoughts On Gold - Forbes

  8. #78
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Find one on "a music".

  9. #79
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    "It's a beautiful music," she says. "It's a music that is welcoming. But I think it's also that it is a part of something bigger. It's a part of a people, their traditions and their culture."

    Son Jarocho: A Musical Style That Unites Mexican-Americans : NPR

    Blues music was a music that was played by singing, using the harmonica, or the acoustic guitar.

    Music - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Did you read birdeen's call's response?

    Bhai explained this in a previous post I think: "an X" can mean a kind of X.

  10. #80
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    Find one on "a music".
    That's easy. Try "a music of" in COCA.

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