act vs action

Discussion in 'English Only' started by AVim, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. AVim

    AVim Senior Member

    What we need is _____, not words.

    Use acts or actions? Any reasons? Thanks.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Act, noun, is countable.
    Action, noun, is uncountable.

    Look at the dictionary definitions of act and action.

    It should be very clear that action fits, act does not.
  3. AVim

    AVim Senior Member

    Hi, panjandrum. I mean to use 'acts', what about 'acts' here?
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    "Actions" sounds far more natural to me than "acts" would in the example you presented.
  5. AVim

    AVim Senior Member

    Hi guys, I changed both 'act' and 'action' into plural forms in the original post. :p So which one is preferred this time? But it causes another confusion for me, why we should use 'is' combined with those plural nouns? I mean to use the 'actions', 'words' with 'is'?

    How about saying "What we need are (acts/actions), not words." ?
    Thanks again.
  6. BatMaster Member

    English - American (West)
    The most commonly-heard expression is:

    What we need is action, not words.

    'Act(s)' sounds weird in this phrase, and although one could just as well say "what we need are actions, not words", this is less common.
  7. taked4700 Senior Member

    japanese japan
    From the wordreference dictionary, the fourth definition of 'action' is as below:

    actions, habitual or usual acts;
    conduct:He is responsible for his actions.

    「5 More U.S. Nukes to Close, Will Diablo Canyon Be Next?」 (EcoWatch 2016/6/17)
    5 More U.S. Nukes to Close, Will Diablo Canyon Be Next?

    A rising tsunami of U.S. nuke shut-downs may soon include California’s infamous Diablo Canyon double reactors. But it depends on citizen action, including a statewide petition.


    Why is it 'action', not 'actions'? Is it because 'action' means future acts?

    If so, is it OK to say, "Citizen actions made XXX reactors shut down three years ago."?

    Thanks in advance.

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