Plural uncountable nouns

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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MGMids
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Plural uncountable nouns

Unread postby MGMids » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:24 pm

English beer and Italian beer are delicious.

English beer and Italian beer is delicious.

Which is correct?

harvest
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Re: Plural uncountable nouns

Unread postby harvest » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:21 am

I think the first one is correct because the use of 'are or is' is determined by subject.
there are two subject in the sentence, English beer and Italian beer, so it must be plural

thanks

kendallfrost
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Re: Plural uncountable nouns

Unread postby kendallfrost » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:08 am

I think the first one is correct because the use of 'are or is' is determined by subject.
there are two subject in the sentence, English beer and Italian beer, so it must be plural

thanks

wesofix
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Re: Plural uncountable nouns

Unread postby wesofix » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:45 pm

Some authorities (such as Swan) suggest that we should not use the labels 'countable' and 'uncountable', but should instead talk about how a noun can be used. Some so-called 'uncountable' nouns are actually capable of being used both as an uncountable noun and as a countable noun. As a countable noun they can have a plural form, and the verb has to agree.

In your example, there are two distinct types of beer - English beer and Italian beer - so there are two beers.

It's possible to do this with other products - cheeses, milks, wines, butters...

It's also possible to use a plural with some beverages. We can ask for 'two teas' (= two cups of tea) or 'three coffees' (three cups of coffee). However, for some reason we don't, normally, ask for 'two wines' when we want two glasses of wine.

With 'completely' uncountable nouns (luggage, advice, furniture...) we cannot use a plural form and thus only a singular verb will do.


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