phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Stuff and things

Posted by R. Berg on August 09, 2001

In Reply to: Gossip and rumor posted by Markitos on August 08, 2001

: A good method to distinguish countable from uncountable nouns is to attempt to use specific adjectives to modify them--"much" and "little" only modify uncountable nouns, "many" and "few" only modify countable nouns. So, there can be "much gossip" and "many rumors" but not "many gossips" or "much rumors." And there can be "little gossip," but not "little rumor," and there can be "few rumors," but not "few gossips."

: That being said, gossip can be a countable noun, as in, "He's a gossip, and they're a bunch of gossips," or, "There's a gossip that lives down the hall."

: Hope that helps....

Yes, "gossip" is countable when it means a person. I meant that "gossip" in the sense of information--the sense Tom was asking about--isn't countable. A rumor is a piece of information: a thing. Gossip is information: stuff.

"Rumor" is uncountable in the sense illustrated by "Rumor has it that the two corporations will merge."