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Thread: "a" duty?

  1. #1
    Eway is offline Senior Member
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    Default "a" duty?

    Is "duty" countable?
    Should I say "pay duty" or "pay a duty"?

  2. #2
    Nahualli Guest

    Default Re: "a" duty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway
    Is "duty" countable?
    Should I say "pay duty" or "pay a duty"?
    Do you mean in reference to a tax levied on imports? I believe it's to pay a duty, altho use of that word is a tiny bit archaic. The reason it's pay a duty and not pay duty is because it's not an abstract or indefinite concept. It's a finite and limited amount.

    -Nah-

  3. #3
    Eway is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "a" duty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nahualli
    Quote Originally Posted by Eway
    Is "duty" countable?
    Should I say "pay duty" or "pay a duty"?
    Do you mean in reference to a tax levied on imports? I believe it's to pay a duty, altho use of that word is a tiny bit archaic. The reason it's pay a duty and not pay duty is because it's not an abstract or indefinite concept. It's a finite and limited amount.

    -Nah-
    But ... why do people often say "pay duty"?
    For example:
    http://www.google.com.tw/search?q=ca...p;inlang=zh-TW

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "a" duty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway
    Is "duty" countable?
    Should I say "pay duty" or "pay a duty"?
    Pay duty.
    Pay duty charges.
    Pay a duty charge.
    Pay the duty charge.
    Pay the duty charges.

    The noun 'charge(s)' is often omitted (...), and in that particular context, 'duty' functions as an adjective, so it's neither count or non-count.

    Pay a duty means, pay a non-specific duty, one that hasn't been mentioned by the speaker, whereas Pay the duty means, pay a specific duty, one that the speaker and the listener know about.

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