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‘…is it possible for one to preface uncount nouns with ordinal numbers?

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Montell Benson

 

Montell Benson is a thoroughgoing Dictionary Editor with Pearson, Grammarian and certified IELTS coach. He is the author of From Obedient to Obidient: Words from Political Scene and later renamed to NIGERIAN COINAGES AND WORD SENSES.

 

He writes on English grammar daily and today, rather writing, he is giving an answer to the most troubling question in English grammar.‘…is it possible for one to preface uncount nouns with ordinal numbers?

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‘…is it possible for one to preface uncount nouns with ordinal numbers? For specifics, can I say this: “The FIRST INFORMATION I received is not genuine”?’

 

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Yes, you can. While it is ungrammatical for CARDINAL NUMBERS such as ‘ONE’, ‘TWO’, etc. to immediately precede, or, more precisely, quantify, an uncountable noun as in ‘ // ’, it is perfectly correct for ORDINAL NUMBERS such as ‘FIRST’, ‘SECOND’, etc. to do that. And here are the reasons:

 

1. Unlike cardinal numbers which are used to measure HOW MANY of something there is, ordinal numbers show THE POSITION of something in a series. In the sentence, the information that’s being referred to came before all others in time and order.

 

2. The foregoing explains why the scope of ordinal numbers is not restricted to countable nouns.

 

Would you like to learn more? Register for my forthcoming editing/proofreading masterclass and receive knowledgeable guidance on how to overcome grammatical crisis that can constitute a breakdown in communication as a writer and how to improve any piece of writing, as an editor.

 

Culled from: Facebook | Montell Benson

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