Talk:mass noun

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"money" example[edit]

So... my "money" example is no good? You say it cannot be counted; money CAN be counted.

Dollars and pounds can be counted, but money refers to an indeterminate amount. I suppose we could talk of different "monies" when referring to different monetary systems though. -- Merphant
I agree.You can say : "I have money", "I have no money" but you cannot say "I have 3 monies" (compare with I "I have a car, "I have 2 cars"). -- Youssefsan
I disagree. You can say "please bring me 3 monies", by which you are saying "please bring me three indefinite amounts of money in three currencies"
This definition seems rather loose to me, to be charitable, and some examples obviously incorrect: moneys, monies, scented and unscented soaps ( Someone always automatically slaps “uncountable” on every mass noun, but many of them have widely attested plurals and are countable. Michael Z. 2008-07-02 03:16 z
"monies" is correct usage for money in the abstract. "If we have collected sufficient monies we will be able to go ahead with our plans", for example. It does not necessarily refer to different kinds of money, such as different currencies. To have sufficient monies is simply to have enough money, with no consideration of different systems or currencies. Thus, this is a plural, but it is a synonym of the singular - "monies" = "money".

Earliest Usenet uses via Google Groups[edit]

  • mass noun (quoted): net.nlang - Feb 25 1983, 11:40 pm by floyd
    "Money" is apparently a "mass noun", which is not quite singular or plural.
  • non-count noun (quoted): net.nlang - Feb 26 1983, 12:31 am by grkermit
    The term you want to use instead of "mass noun" is "non-count noun."
  • non-count nouns: net.nlang - Feb 26 1983, 12:31 am by grkermit
    Other non-count nouns are "water", "sugar", and "mail."
  • mass nouns: net.nlang - Jun 18 1985, 11:45 am by Michael Ellis
    Note the similarity to mass nouns and even plurals:
  • mass noun: net.nlang - Aug 27 1985, 2:26 pm by Graeme Hirst
    In the particular case at hand, the question is not whether a noun can modify another, but whether the modifying noun may be a plural (it can't) or a mass noun (it can -- e.g. "jelly sandwich" -- but it's stylistically very bad in this particular case).
  • uncountable nouns (quoted): alt.usage.english - May 20 1991, 8:14 am by carpen
    The term "mass noun" is new to me, but Mr. DeSalvo, my high school Spanish teacher, called such things "uncountable nouns", and made no statement that I can recall on whether they could be made plural.
  • uncountable nouns: soc.culture.china - Jul 15 1991, 12:05 am by Scott Horne
    "Mail", "junk", "news", "water", "information"--these are all uncountable nouns.
  • uncountable noun (questionable): alt.usage.english - Jun 30 1992, 2:00 pm by Zheng Zhu
    Seems to me that when used to refer to members of royal family/rank, it can only be used as uncountable noun.
  • uncountable noun: comp.mail.misc - Aug 4 1993, 11:01 pm by La Monte Yarroll
    Here is an uncountable noun which has a plural noun _form_:

Google Groups Hits:

  • mass noun(s): 2,610
  • uncountable noun(s): 443
  • non-count noun(s): 136

Google Web Hits:

  • mass noun(s): 21,400
  • uncountable noun(s): 14,500
  • non-count noun(s): 6,970

Hippietrail 13:28, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)


What is the purpose of the "1933" in the definition? Eclecticology 23:04, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Inappropriate usage notes[edit]

They don't describe the usage of the phrase "mass noun", but the usage of mass nouns. Equinox 19:24, 9 July 2016 (UTC)