Interested in Language
Can you say: "Who still uses videotape?". In my opinion it's incorrect because you're speaking generally, so it should be: "Who still uses videotapes?" However, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English indicates that it can be both countable and uncountable:
vid‧e‧o‧tape 1 / ˈvɪdiəʊteɪp $ -dioʊ- / noun [ uncountable and countable ]
a video videotape of a videotape of everyday life in Havana
Thank you in advance.
Last edited by Raymott; 15-Dec-2011 at 02:07. Reason: sp.
That's probably because the word "tape" is both countable and uncountable:
a) We're going to need a blank tape to record the event. (a videocassette)
b) Police roped off the area with yellow tape after the incident. (the physical tape itself)
Check this out:
"A videotape is a recording of images and sounds on to magnetic tape as opposed to film stock or random access digital media. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram.(in the same article)
Videotape is used in both video tape recorders (VTRs) or, more commonly and more recently, videocassette recorder (VCR) and camcorders. Tape is a linear method of storing information..."
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...tte_bottom.jpg ), would it be correct to say "Who still uses videotape cassette?" as opposed to "Who still uses videotape cassettes?".
In this instance, I'm pretty certain that it should be plural.
If we say "Who still uses videotape?" without using any article, we'll most likely mean the band plus the container it's in - one complete unit in its entirety.
I don't think it's wrong to use "videotapes" here either. The original sentence drives the idea home well enough, though.
Videotape - noun: magnetic tape for recording and reproducing visual images and sound ==> a video cassette. (So a videotape can mean a video cassette as well?)
This is where I'm still confused. If videotape means the same as a video cassette, then in my opinion:
"Who still uses video cassettes?" and "Who still uses a video cassette" are correct, but "Who still uses video cassette" should be wrong.
However, I don't see why the same logic doesn't apply to "videotape", therefore, how can "Who still uses videotape?" be correct, if "videotape" is synonymous to "videocassette".
That's the thing - "cassette" is always countable. Therefore, an article should be used before it. But when it comes to "videotape", the word "tape" does the trick - there appears no need to use any article. The case itself is so much less important than the tape that it suffices to just say "videotape" with no article.
Video cassette = countable noun referring to the physical black object
Videotape = two meanings: 1) the strip of magnetic tape held inside the object and 2) the medium by which some things are recorded/played back
Video tape = another name for "video cassette"
So you are right that:
- Who still uses video cassettes? = correct
- Who still uses (or who would still use) a video cassette? = correct
- Who still uses video cassette? = incorrect
But because videotape can be countable and uncountable, depending on whether you mean the object or the film medium:
Who still uses video tapes? = Correct (Who still uses those black plastic rectangles full of magnetic tape?)
Who still uses videotape? = Correct (Who still uses videotape as a filming medium, instead of using digital?)
Did that help? I'm not sure I explained it very well!