Several posts on GuruEAP deal with nouns that can be either countable or uncountable but with slightly different meanings. Here’s a text packed with examples of one such word – Crime. Select either ‘crime’ or ‘crimes’ from the dropdown menus and then check the answer key for analysis and explanations!
Only some students hand in their homework on time.
Elsewhere on GuruEAP we’ve looked at alternatives to ‘some’, which tends to be overused by Indonesians translating from ‘beberapa’, or, in the example above – ‘hanya beberapa’.
In this post we look at other alternatives to ‘some’ that are especially problematic for Indonesians because they are awkward to translate: few, a few, little, and a little.
As with all quantifiers, we need to begin by deciding whether the noun we’re quantifying is countable or uncountable. Continue reading
Most of the coral reefs around the world have been damaged by fishing gears which sweep the ocean floor, such as dragnets and trawlers.
Yet another situation in which the countable and uncountable forms of a noun have slightly different meanings!
The involvement of government in indigenous governance has arisen a variety of arguments.
Here there is a vocabulary problem AND a grammar problem!
First the grammar problem..
In other languages ( ‘memunculkan’) the verb ‘arise’ can be transitive (can take an object), but in English it cannot. However, there do exist alternatives that allow you to keep the object (obj – ‘a variety of arguments’): Continue reading
People use papers for a variety of purposes.
OK folks, this is another countable / uncountable problem.
Paper – countable
Every time I use the countable form of ‘paper’, I’m talking about paper material that has already been modified in some way and applied for a primary function. Continue reading
Tissue demands for housing and offices are increasing.
OK so there are two kinds of demand – specific and general. Continue reading
40% of people living with HIV have risk to develop tuberculosis.
Yes. ‘Risk’ can be a ‘risky’ word in English!
We can assume that if there’s a risk, then there is some kind of ‘bad thing’ causing the risk, for example ‘developing tuberculosis’. Continue reading
It is important to test products on animals before releasing them commercially to markets.
The problem here is that there are two kinds of market – physical and virtual – and in this example, markets (plural) suggests more than one physical market, while releasing them commercially suggests more than one virtual market. Let’s take a look at some examples.
- The crowd around the market were given free water.
- The town centre markets were also discussed briefly.
- A big favourite at local farmers’ markets.
These are the places you go early in the morning to buy cheap vegetables. Often this kind of market is outdoor:
If it’s an indoor market then it’s usually inside a large hall:
The featured image for this post shows people buying and selling things on the virtual market. They’re not buying anything inside that building, rather they are investing in things that are located elsewhere so that they can hopefully receive some of the profits from the sale of those things.
A particular virtual market or set of virtual markets may be mentioned explicitly:
- Funding costs rose amid renewed volatility in financial markets.
Sometimes more than one virtual market is implied:
- New products are constantly appearing on the market. (different products sold in different locations)
And sometimes a specific virtual market is implied but not mentioned explicitly:
- The property hit the market last week. (= the housing market)
Market(s) and collocation
If the name of a virtual market is not given, certain phrases can suggest that you’re talking about a virtual rather than a physical market.
- We put our house on the market last week.
- Anybody from anywhere can buy our house!
- The 1990 model is no longer on the market.
- It’s no longer available anywhere.
- The property hit the market last week.
- The property did not physically ‘hit’ a physical market building, rather it became available for purchase.
If it’s on the market (one or more virtual markets), it’s not at the market (a single physical market).
Our opening example implies a set of virtual markets that are not explicitly mentioned, and so we need:
- It is important to test products on animals before releasing them commercially to the market.
- More than one virtual market is implied (e.g. cosmetics, medicines, food products) but not mentioned explicitly!
Every people can access their own social media account with the touch of a finger.
This is partly forgivable. We know that millions of people (= millions of fingers) use social media, and this writer is making a statement that applies to all of these people. However, there is some faulty grammar: Continue reading