Grammatical number

use of grammar in a language to express number

Grammatical number is the way numbers and counting are fitted into sentences.[1]

Most languages have ways to express differences of number.

That apple on the table is fresh.
Those two apples on the table are fresh.

Common categories of grammatical number are singular (one) or plural (not one). Some languages, also have a notion of dual, for two, or of paucal, for "a few".

Some languages (like Chinese) do not have the concept of grammatical number, and numbers or other quantifiers are used if necessary. Finally, there may be words that have only one form or are not countable.

Advanced sourcesEdit

  • Greenberg, Joseph H 1972. Numeral classifiers and substantival number: problems in the genesis of a linguistic type. Working Papers on Language Universals 9, Stanford University, pp. 1–39.
  • Laycock, Henry 2005. Mass nouns, count nouns and non-count nouns. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Oxford: Elsevier.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "What is Number?", Dictionary of Linguistic Terms, SIL.