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  1. jeffreygcowell's Avatar
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    #1

    Question "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    A colleague at work frequently asks callers "Do you have a software to....". This sounds awkward and illiterate to me as most speakers would ask "do you have an application" or "do you have a software package/system/tool". My question is: is this awkward or is it wrong? Seems to me this is the use of an adjective as a noun, although software in the collective is a noun. It is the "a software" that bugs me. It is similar to me to saying do you have "a geese" or "a atmospheric".

    Thanks for your insights.

    Jeff

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    The word software is a noncount noun. It is always software, never a software. (You could say a software application.)


  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    Your last sentence is interesting. Although you used the word "similar" your three examples are all wrong for different reasons.

    1. A software: as you were told, that is wrong because "software" is a noncount noun.
    2. A geese: that is wrong because "geese" is plural. "Goose" would work.
    3. A atmospheric: that is wrong because we use "an" before a noun that begins with a vowel sound.

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    #4

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    We don't say a software or softwares- it is uncountable.

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    'A piece/pieces of software' should be acceptable.

    Not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    Ask "do you have any software to..."

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    'A piece/pieces of software' should be acceptable.
    I think you are wrong (for a change). Software doesn't come in pieces. You either have it or you don't. You can't have a piece of software.


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    #8

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    I am OK with a piece of software.

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    You sure wouldn't sell it in pieces.


  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: "A Software" sounds wrong but is it wrong, and if so by what rule?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    You can't have a piece of software.
    Can I say 'I have many pieces of freeware on my computer'?

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