Discussion in 'English Only' started by sb70012, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Hello teachers,

    As you know the word Merchandise is uncountable.

    Can we make an uncountable noun into a plural noun or not?

    For example: Merchandises
    Is it correct?
  2. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Sometimes; it depends on the noun.

  3. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    I see ...

    Thank you.
  4. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    It is not common as a countable noun and I would advise you to avoid it as it has a specialized use, but merchandise can be countable or uncountable.

    OED: "1980 Japan Econ. Jrnl. (Nexis) 29 July 7 These machines are among the highest priced of all the merchandises dealt by the trading companies."

    as a countable noun, it is used in the sense of "a kind/sort/type of merchandise."
  5. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Thank you PaulQ.
  6. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Generally, we cannot. A common mistake of English learners is to refer to "softwares." The translation of software into their native language may have a plural, but the English word doesn't. Similarly, French speakers often refer to "informations" in English for this reason. That's a fine French word, but it's not correct English.

    There are some poetic or symbolic situations in which this is done: "the waters of the Nile," "the sands of time." It's hard to do this correctly. If you are writing normal prose, it's not a good idea.

    Some words are uncountable when they refer to a mass of something, but countable when they refer to different types of that thing. For example, you could say "I have a lot of food" if you don't want to discuss what kind of food you have, but you could say "I have four foods" if you have potatoes, carrots, chicken and pizza. You can find discussions of that in other WRF threads.
  7. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    I see.... Thank you.

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