construction/constructions?

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Hi,

In the following sentence, which word(s) could be properly used? I've gotten mixed responses so far.

The mere fact that they are cities, with densely packed construction/constructions/buidlings, places their populations at greater risk from natural disasters, including those expected to be made worse by climate change.

I'd appreciate your help.
 
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emsr2d2

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I've gotten mixed responses so far.
Where/From whom have you got those mixed responses? Have you posted this somewhere else? If so, please link to the site. If you've simply been asking people, please tell us what proportion of them chose which option and if they told you why.
 
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5jj

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I would use buildings, plural. I see no reason at all to use construction in either its uncountable or plural countable form.
 
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Reuters uses the singular form "construction."

 

5jj

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You're right. They do.

I wouldn't, as I said, but people differ in their opinions.

Incidentally, if you already knew that, why didn't you tell us the source of this sentence in the first post? You know that we ask members to do this.
 

jutfrank

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First of all, you should understand that buildings and constructions have different meanings. Buildings are one type of construction. Bridges, for example, wouldn't be classed as buildings. Choose the word based on what you mean.
 
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Thank you. Does it make sense to say "densely packed bridges"?
And what does "densely packed construction" (singular uncountable in form) mean, compared with its plural form?
 
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jutfrank

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Thank you. Does it make sense to say "densely packed bridges"?

No, it doesn't. What do you think that could mean?

And what does "densely packed construction" (singular uncountable in form) mean, compared with its plural form?

The correct form is the plural form, not the singular, since the speaker of that sentence is almost certainly referring to constructions. These are things that are densely packed in cities. That means there's not much space between them, making cities dangerous places to be when an earthquake hits.

Please tell us where you saw this sentence, and which word the writer actually used. Why keep us guessing?!
 
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Tdol

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Thank you. Does it make sense to say "densely packed bridges"?
And what does "densely packed construction" (singular uncountable in form) mean, compared with its plural form?
I live in a city where I can see several bridges over the river from wherever I stand, and I have never heard anyone talk about them being densely packed, though they're just a few hundred meters apart.
 
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No, it doesn't. What do you think that could mean?



The correct form is the plural form, not the singular, since the speaker of that sentence is almost certainly referring to constructions. These are things that are densely packed in cities. That means there's not much space between them, making cities dangerous places to be when an earthquake hits.

Please tell us where you saw this sentence, and which word the writer actually used. Why keep us guessing?!

I quoted the source in post #5.

If "constructions" refers to bridges as well as buildings, and "densely packed bridges" is not okay, I don't see how "densely packed constructions" can be the right expression.
 

5jj

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That's why I said what I did in post #4.
 

jutfrank

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I quoted the source in post #5.

Oh, yes, so you did! Why didn't you tell us that in the first place? So what's the question, then? Are you simply asking what the writer means? If so, you've gone about it in an odd way!

Yes, construction there is being used uncountably, which is why it's in singular form.

If "constructions" refers to bridges as well as buildings, and "densely packed bridges" is not okay, I don't see how "densely packed constructions" can be the right expression.

You've apparently made a logical error here. The fact that densely packed bridges is not right doesn't mean that densely packed constructions isn't right, since bridges are one kind of construction. Saying densely packed constructions refers to all constructions, including bridges. The idea is that in cities, all construction is densely packed.
 
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You've apparently made a logical error here. The fact that densely packed bridges is not right doesn't mean that densely packed constructions isn't right, since bridges are one kind of construction. Saying densely packed constructions refers to all constructions, including bridges. The idea is that in cities, all construction is densely packed.

Does your "all construction" include bridges?
 

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Does your "all construction" include bridges?

Yes. That's what I tried to explain. Construction (uncountable) includes everything that is constructed, including buildings and bridges, and electricity pylons, and water towers, and viaducts, and so on.
 
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I cannot find a definition of that uncountable, collective use of "construction" in the dictionary.

Also, if in cities, all construction is densely packed and a bridge of a kind of construction, then bridges and other constructions are also densely packed. Then why can't we speak of "densely packed bridges"?
 
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jutfrank

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I cannot find a definition of that uncountable, collective use of "construction" in the dictionary.

Really? Here's an example sentence from the top entry of the first dictionary I looked at:

The bridge is a marvellous work of engineering and construction.

Also, if in cities, all construction is densely packed and a bridge of a kind of construction, then bridges and other constructions are also densely packed. Then why can't we speak of "densely packed bridges"?

Bridges only can't be densely packed. It doesn't make a lot of sense to talk of densely packed bridges because that's just not how we imagine them—as being packed together. Even where there are lots of bridges quite close together spanning the same stretch of a river, it would be unlikely to think of them as being densely packed, given the space between them.

However, when talking about cities, we can say that they consist, pretty much by definition, of densely packed constructions. Think about the footprint of a city, and how much stuff is in a relatively small space. That's what 'densely packed construction' means.

I'm still not sure what your actual question relates to. Are you struggling with the meaning of construction? Or is it something to do with the meaning of densely packed? I wonder whether the problem may be that the word densely packed can describe both the container and the contents. Imagine a box filled with oranges:

[a densely packed box] of oranges
a box of [densely packed oranges]


Is that helpful at all? The singular uncountable construction in the original sentence is the container, not the contents, since a city is construction by definition. The plural constructions would be the contents.
 
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Thank you.
Cambridge's definition "the work of building or making something" seems to refer to an activity. Does it refer to the finished product as well?
 
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Thank you.
Cambridge's definition "the work of building or making something" seems to refer to an activity. Does it refer to the finished product as well?

As with most other '-tion' words, it can be understood as an activity, and a state, and a thing, and a process, depending on the context.

In the original sentence, think of it as a generalised thing (what you're calling a finished product).


Remember that you can use the Thank button to show gratitude for our time trying to help you, and to encourage us to help you in future.
 
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I know '-tion' nouns can refer to an activity or thing, but referring to things, are they naturally used in a collective sense?
I see some people object to the singular "construction" in favor of the plural "constructions." It seems that they don't readily take the word to refer collectively.
 
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