Saturday, 20 October 2012

Countability


Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 326):
Things are represented in English as either (a) discrete, and therefore countable, or (b) continuous, and therefore uncountable; … count nouns select for number: singular/plural, while mass nouns do not. … The distinction is not quite as clear-cut as this suggests.  Mass nouns are often itemised, and hence also pluralised; the meaning is either ‘a kind of’ … or ‘an amount of’ … .  There will then be an agnate expression having a measure/type word as Head …