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  1. inase's Avatar
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    #1

    Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Hello,

    Uncountable nouns such as "passion" can sometimes take an indefinite article or a plural form.

    Could somebody tell me why and/or the nuances of Sentences 2 and 3?

    1. He delivered a sermon full of passion and inspiration. (uncountable)
    2. The incident stimulated her (strong) passions. (emphasis?)
    3. She has a (great) passion for swimming. (hobby?)

    Inase

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    #2

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    She has an emotional response stimulated by swimming. It's one of a number of possible responses; perhaps her brother has a fear of water.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Who labels these idiotic so-called uncountable nouns? A noun, by definition, is always countable. It is the thing it represents that is uncountable. Even so, as the OP illustrated, passion can take both singular and plural forms. The label is therefore close to useless.

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    #4

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Quote Originally Posted by inase View Post
    Hello,

    Uncountable nouns such as "passion" can sometimes take an indefinite article or a plural form.

    Could somebody tell me why and/or the nuances of Sentences 2 and 3?

    1. He delivered a sermon full of passion and inspiration. (uncountable)
    2. The incident stimulated her (strong) passions. (emphasis?)
    3. She has a (great) passion for swimming. (hobby?)

    Inase
    2 means emotions and 3 means a hobby or something she really likes.

  5. inase's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Language learners love grammar because it can save a lot of energy.
    With respect to abstract nouns, it is easier for them to understand that "passion" denotes abstract concept like many other abstract nouns and therefore usually does not take an indefinite article and take a plural form, and that examples of "a passion" and "passions" are exceptions.

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    #6

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg927 View Post
    A noun, by definition, is always countable. It is the thing it represents that is uncountable.
    I'm not sure what you mean. Would you mind explaining this view a little?

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    #7

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean. Would you mind explaining this view a little?
    I can only guess Andrew means that it's always possible to count nouns.

    Andrew, the concept of countable vs. uncountable nouns is important for learners. That's why it comes up so often on the forum. It's not idiotic. Understanding it is essential for correct writing.

    Uncountable nouns are nouns that represent things that can't be counted. Most nouns categorized as uncountable do have applications in which they are countable. For example, you can't normally count water, but you may talk about the dangerous waters around Cape Hatteras.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Uncountable nouns are nouns that represent things that can't be counted. Most nouns categorized as uncountable do have applications in which they are countable. For example, you can't normally count water, but you may talk about the dangerous waters around Cape Hatteras.
    That's exactly my point. The labeling supposedly helps students write better and draws the line between which noun can or can't take the plural form. However, more often than not these uncountable nouns can take the plural form. It seems a source of great confusion among learners (and that's why it comes up so often in this forum).

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    #9

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Lexicographers face the daunting task of condensing as much information as possible into each definition. One bit of information is a noun's countability. A good dictionary will explain, somewhere, how to understand their entries, and will warn that most nouns it labels "uncountable" can be used countably in certain cases. The reality is that few users ever read those explanations, leading to endless questions on usage forums like this one.

    It's impractical for a dictionary to repeat the warning for every uncountable noun.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: Uncountable nouns with an indefinite article/in a plural form such as "passion"

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Uncountable nouns are nouns that represent things that can't be counted.
    I don't want to confuse anyone by being too picky but I don't think this is accurate. You can count money but the noun 'money' is almost invariably used uncountably.

    This area is a source of confusion for learners and teachers alike. It's important to remember that countability is a grammatical term that describes the way a noun is being used, in a particular instance of language in use.

    Most nouns categorized as uncountable do have applications in which they are countable. For example, you can't normally count water, but you may talk about the dangerous waters around Cape Hatteras.
    Are water and waters one and the same word or two different words?

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