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    • Join Date: Mar 2005
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    #1

    countable noun / uncountable noun

    Dear Tutor,

    It is not rare to have samples like:

    1/ 17 evidences against evolution
    2/ so and so's duties, powers and responsibilities as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer shall be those which are customary for such position...

    Is "evidence" a countable or uncoutable noun here? And isn't the plural form of an uncountable noun against the grammar? Similarly, why duty, power and responsiblity have plural forms here too?

    Have been long confused by this question.

    Emily


    • Join Date: May 2005
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    #2

    Re: countable noun / uncountable noun

    You would say pieces of evidence. It is non-countable. It is a catagory such as fruit. I see the evidence against him. I ate the fruit on the table. It could be one piece or many pieces of either one. And it can be different kinds (a photograph, a fingerprint, apple, banana).
    Duty is different. it is not a catagory. And it is just something you have to learn one-by-one. It is countable, similar to the word "tasks". You can have many tasks or duties. They are all requirements that need to be completed.
    Hope this helps,
    Chris

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    #3

    Re: countable noun / uncountable noun

    Recently, a number of words that have traditionally been uncountable have started to appear in the plural, a process that many dislike.


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    #4

    Re: countable noun / uncountable noun

    I noticed that legal documents are more likely to use plural form on traditionally uncountable nouns. Does it mean that we don't actually pay attention to countable and uncountable, as it is becoming more and more popular?

    By the way, I would be glad if we could treat all the nouns as countable.

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    #5

    Re: countable noun / uncountable noun

    I'm afraid not- the nons changing tend to be in cerain areas, such a business usage, and this hasn't been extended to all areas of the language...yet.

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