"bus" as non-count n.

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Dec 16 17:44:28 UTC 2006

On Dec 16, 2006, at 9:18 AM, Ron Butters wrote:

> In a message dated 12/16/06 12:02:47 PM, zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
> writes:
>> ... i'm not sure that it's right to see "bus" in "travel by bus"
>> etc. as
>> non-count.  i'm more inclined to say that these are idiomatic uses of
>> nouns in their bare forms, and to suggest that we shouldn't have to
>> assign the nouns *in these idioms* to either C or M.
> Note that the situation is even more complex, in that one must say
> also "I
> take _the_ train/bus/boat/subway/etc." Cf. "I go on _the_ train."
> That is, the
> use of the article depends entirely on the verb, which indicates
> that we are
> dealing with idioms here, right?

good point.

> Zwicky:
>> i'm fine with "break", and it's like "nap" for me:
>    >Break will be in ten minutes.
> But one can also say:
>        He's on his break now.
>        My break will be in ten minutes.

sure; this is just the ordinary use of "break".  it's like

   Our prom is on Saturday.

the anarthrous bare uses of the nouns coexist with garden-variety
uses of the nouns.


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