70% of <email or emails>

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virr2

Senior Member
Poland
What form of "email" should I use in this sentence: singular or plural? I would use singular but have doubts.

"70% of email in July was spam"

Thank you

 
  • Illuminatus

    Senior Member
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    They do. We often say, I have to reply to many e-mails and so on
    But, e-mail can also be used a collective noun as in the collection of all the e-mails
    As in
    In July, 70% of the e-mail I received was spam.
     

    Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi everybody,

    so... a friend of mine just said: "I have a master degree in literature and writing and all I do is write email and status updates on my facebook page".

    Wouldn't it be more logical to use the plural here like I would do
    if I used the word "letters", "communications" or whatever else?
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hi everybody,

    so... a friend of mine just said: "I have a master degree in literature and writing and all I do is write email and status updates on my facebook page".

    Wouldn't it be more logical to use the plural here like I would do
    if I used the word "letters", "communications" or whatever else?
    Illuminatus gives the answer:
    But, e-mail can also be used a uncountable/mass noun as in the collection of all e-mails
    As in
    In July, 70% of the e-mail I received was spam.
    (Note that Illuminatus uses the term "collective noun" for 'email' but it is an "uncountable/mass noun." A "collective noun" describes a group of items, not all items: herd of cows, flock of geese, pack of dogs, etc.)
     

    Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you very much PaulQ, but I guess that doesn't really answer my question, does it? :)

    My question was: given the fact that email can be both used as countable and uncountable noun, as both Panjandrum and Illuminatus very clearly explained, wouldn't it be a more logical choice to use email as a countable name in a sentence where had I to use any other nouns, I would use a plural and where the point of the sentence itself is somewhat stressing the idea of a large quantity of emails?
     

    trevorb

    Senior Member
    UK: English
    Personally, I find the word 'emails' really ugly (because of the plural ending added to an uncountable noun) and will always use 'email' in preference - unless there is a very strong reason not to. I may be in a minority, but I suspect your friend thinks along similar lines.

    Trevor
     

    Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi Trevero,

    thanks for your reply. What I find very interesting (and incredibly confusing at the same time) is that you consider yourself a minority.

    So what you're saying is that the most common use would be emails in the plural?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Thank you very much PaulQ, but I guess that doesn't really answer my question, does it? :)

    My question was: given the fact that email can be both used as countable and uncountable noun, as both Panjandrum and Illuminatus very clearly explained, wouldn't it be a more logical choice to use email as a countable name in a sentence where had I to use any other nouns, I would use a plural and where the point of the sentence itself is somewhat stressing the idea of a large quantity of emails?
    No. The plural is not greater than the uncountable.

    "70% of email in July was spam" = "70% of all email in July was spam"

    You are discussing a statistic. Statistics take the overview - the overview is uncountable. -> "70% of email in July was spam." :thumbsup:




     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    so... a friend of mine just said: "I have a master degree in literature and writing and all I do is write email and status updates on my facebook page".
    Your friend is expressing the idea he has written a large quantity of email rather than a large number of emails. He hasn't been actually counting them. If there were an uncountable form of "status update," he might have used that as well.
     
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