Many kinds of car / types of sentence

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sunyaer

Senior Member
Chinese
I found a discussion titled Some kind of + (singular or plural)? on the English stackexchange com web site at

http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/111666/some-kind-of-singular-or-plural

In the discussion, John M. Landsberg states:

'Keeping this in mind, you can see that your choice of whether to use the singular or plural of the noun depends on the concept you're trying to express, as in this example: "Many kinds of car" would be referring to how there are lots of versions of "a commonly used transportation vehicle," versus "many kinds of cars" to indicate there are lots of specific models on the market.'

John M. Landsberg continues to state

'In the case of cars, we usually are talking about the various kinds of makes and models available, so we usually pluralize it, whereas we seldom talk about the philosophical concept of a car, so we don't as frequently say "many kinds of car." But we could say either one.'

According to the above explanation, any countable nouns could be used as an uncountable philosophical concept, "sentence" could be one example. But could we say:

"There are a few types of sentence in essay writing that could take your works to a high level."

Does "sentence" as a group of words expressing a specific idea have a philosophical concept, which could be used as uncountable?
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    When John M. Landsberg(?) says "But we could say either one.", he means "it is theoretically possible that we could say either one."
    sunyaer said:
    According to the above explanation, any countable nouns could be used as an uncountable philosophical concept, "sentence" could be one example.
    Yes, but for many nouns, using them as a philosophical concept is very, very rare.
    sunyaer said:
    "There are a few types of sentence in essay writing that could take your works to a high level."
    In what way do you see "sentence" as a philosophical concept in your sentence?
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    John M. Landsberg says
    Second, the noun that accompanies "kind" can be either singular or plural, and this depends on what you are trying to refer to.
    He then gives the example of chocolates and chocolate. For whatever reason, he does not explain that chocolates is a plural count noun and chocolate is a non-count noun and, hence, singular.

    The non-count noun expresses a class of homogeneous items; all those items; the class of items. Whereas the count noun in the plural indicates all the group ... I see this as a distinction almost without a difference. I cannot think that I would sit and work it out before I used either, as my listener would have had to have read his article, and whatever followed "There are a few types of sentence[s] ..." would give the context.

    So in brief: you could use either but, like Parla, I would use the plural.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    In English we have constructions such as "many types of cars", which can mean either what it looks like, referring to types, or "cars of many types", referring instead to cars. The preposition of is so versatile that it can work either way. In fact, "many types of cars" usually means "cars of many types".

    Similarly, "many types of rice", for example, can mean "rice of many types", and rice is noncount.

    So does "many types of car" mean something like "car of many types", with a noncount meaning of the word car (such as "car as a philosophical concept")?

    I don't think so. To me "rice of many types" makes sense, but "car of many types" does not.

    I consider the construction "many types of car" to be a different kind of rearrangement of what is meant, using yet another special function of the preposition of. To me "many types of car" means "many car types". In other words, car in "many types of car" is being used attributively, and it is for this reason uninflected. (We would not say "cars types".)
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    ...

    So does "many types of car" mean something like "car of many types", with a noncount meaning of the word car (such as "car as a philosophical concept")?

    ...
    ...To me "many types of car" means "many car types". In other words, car in "many types of car" is being used attributively, and it is for this reason uninflected. (We would not say "cars types".)
    Hi Forero, as you have pointed out, car in "many types of car" is being used attributively in the sense of vehicle, which I understand as the philosophical concept.
     
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