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Thread: desert/deserts

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    #1

    desert/deserts

    Russia is a very beautiful country. It has huge forests, vast grasslands, mountains, lakes, and even desert.

    (from a reading book by International Language Teaching Services Ltd.)

    I wonder if it’s better to use the plural form of ‘desert’ to keep consistent with forests, vast grasslands, mountains and lakes.
    Unfortunately, I am unable to use the "Thanks" and "Like" buttons. I appreciate all of your help.

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    #2

    Re: desert/deserts

    It should say "a desert" or, if there's more than one, "deserts".
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: desert/deserts

    "Desert" is OK as referring to a general, non-specific area.

  4. Phaedrus's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: desert/deserts

    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee View Post
    "Desert" is OK as referring to a general, non-specific area.
    Another option for this meaning is to use "desert land," in which phrase the noncount noun is "land" and "desert" functions as an attributive noun.

    I should sooner say that Russia has deserts or that Russia has desert land than that Russia has desert.

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    #5

    Re: desert/deserts

    I would say "deserts", for consistency with the other landscapes.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: desert/deserts

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    I would say "deserts", for consistency with the other landscapes.
    So would I. It would have helped if the various landscapes/landforms had been reordered so that those that can be used in the general singular were together (whether singular or plural).

    It has mountains, lakes, forest, grassland and desert.
    It has mountains, lakes, forests, grasslands and deserts.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #7

    Re: desert/deserts

    Wikipedia only lists one desert. If this is the case, then even a desert would work for me.

  8. Phaedrus's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: desert/deserts

    Does England have desert?

  9. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: desert/deserts

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    Does England have desert?
    Yes, one.

    https://theculturetrip.com/europe/un...s-only-desert/
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  10. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: desert/deserts

    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee View Post
    "Desert" is OK as referring to a general, non-specific area.
    True enough! But I'd only do that if forest and grassland were singular, too. Otherwise, having just desert be singular would look out-of-place.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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