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    #1

    Culture, when is it used in plural form?

    Hi,

    I read in a dictionary that culture is both countable and uncountable noun. When exactly do we use it in a plural form?
    E.g.
    1.We make friends with people around the world to learn about their culture/ cultures.
    2.We need to learn about people and their culture/cultures.
    3. Culture/ A culture s a very interesting subject to learn.

    Thanks

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Culture, when is it used in plural form?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Hi,
    I read in a dictionary that culture is both a countable and an uncountable noun. When exactly do we use it in a plural form?
    E.g.
    1.We make friends with people around the world to learn about their culture/cultures.
    Use "culture" in that sentence, because "cultures" would suggest that each one of those friends has several cultures.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    2.We need to learn about people and their culture/cultures.
    You can use either in that one because we don't know if all the people you're referring to come from one/many cultural backgrounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    3. Culture/a culture is a very interesting subject to learn.
    Both work-- "culture" in the abstract sense, and "a culture" as a reference to a specific culture.

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    #3

    Re: Culture, when is it used in plural form?

    Thanks for the clear explanation. Many nouns such as ground, gas, machinery, etc taking both countable and uncountable forms are not explained clearly in dictionaries or class. If there is any website that can help with this kind of grammar, please let me know.

    Thanks a bunch.

  4. teechar's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Culture, when is it used in plural form?

    I'm not aware of any such website. However, you can always consult the websites of reliable dictionaries or those of the American/British corpora.

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

    http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/x.asp?r1=&w=1024&h=600

    http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/

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    #5

    Re: Culture, when is it used in plural form?

    I'm going to give a slightly different answer from teechar.

    1. We make friends with people around the world to learn about their cultures.
    2. We need to learn about people and their cultures.
    3. Culture is a very interesting subject to learn about.

    In 1. and 2., cultures is plural and countable and means different ways of doing things, different practices.
    In 3., culture is singular and uncountable and refers very generally to a concept.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #6

    Re: Culture, when is it used in plural form?

    Countable and uncountable forms are rarely fixed, and most nouns denoted one way in a dictionary can be used another way. The usage is driven by meaning and context.

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