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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Transport or transports (countable or uncountable)?    

Transport or transports (countable or uncountable)?

United Kingdom

Transport or transports (countable or uncountable)?
I īve seen lots of worksheets recently whose titles all contain the word "transports". Unless this is an American English issue (I īm British), I believe "transport", as in vehicles, is always uncountable? To make a plural, you could use one of the following:
1) Modes of transport.
2) Means of transport.
3) Forms of transport.

I found an entry [ http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/transport ] which states that it is both countable and uncountable, but I believe it is only used in the countable sense when not referring to vehicles (e.g. "The driver took the goods to the city - he made a transport. He did it again - he had made two transports of the goods." - although it seems like a rather unnatural use of the language to me.)

I think the worst issue with using "transports" to refer to vehicles is the vagueness of it: "There are two transports to the hotel." - so does that mean you can "go by taxi or bus" (of which there may be many vehicles) or that there are only two vehicles available?

What are your thoughts?

2 May 2009      


What about means of transportation? Thatīs what I usually use...is that incorrect??

2 May 2009     

United Kingdom

Substituting "transportation" is fine too:

transportation (uncountable)

  1. The act of transporting, or the state of being transported; conveyance, often of people, goods etc.
    We have to get people out of their cars and encourage them to use alternative forms of transportation.

2 May 2009     


Americans don īt use transportations either. The explanations you quote are all correct, evl422. 

2 May 2009     


And it was very interesting and useful to those of us who do not speak English as our mother tongue. Please, do it more often. Thank you.

2 May 2009     

Hong Kong

We use the same as you Brits.

2 May 2009     

Hong Kong

What about "fruits"?  I have never seen this as plural until I can here to Hong Kong.  I lived in England for 6 years and don īt recall it being used.  I have always considered fruit-the food- uncountable.  We do use fruits but it is as a result of an action not the plural of the food.

2 May 2009     


As we īre teaching British English here in Switzerland we only use transportation and fruit.
I don īt know if fruits is American but I don īt teach it to my kids, teens or adults.
For me it īs uncountable until we start counting, apples, oranges, etc.Smile

2 May 2009     

United States

As a Californian (US English is my mother tongue)  I have always said and heard: "means of transportation"  never "means of transport".  For me transport is a verb, not a noun in almost every case.
Fruit is an interesting one, this is how I explain it: 
In one case (most common) it is uncountable: "There is a lot of fruit in the fruit bowl, I counted fifteen pieces of fruit."
It can also be used as countable: "There are three different fruits in the fruit bowl: apples, bananas, and cherries."

2 May 2009     

United Kingdom

I īve personally heard and used both transport and transportation. I think they īre interchangeable in this case. Transportation may be more frequently seen as a title for work, etc because it is only a noun, unlike transport, so the meaning is a little clearer - it also sounds a little more formal.

Fruit vs Fruits: Douglas ī explanation explains it about as simply as possible. Generally only use the plural when you are talking specifically about different types of fruits - although you īll often hear things such as "How many types of fruit are in the bowl?" - using the plural is often ignored in casual speech altogether. Even more confusing is the whole debate about the question "What is your favourite fruit?"...
Which is correct:
1) Apple is my favourite fruit. (This is answering in the sense of a piece of apple.)
2) Apples are my favourite fruit. (But the question asked "is" not "are").
3) Apples are my favourite fruits. (But the question was fruit - no s).

From what I īve read, native speakers may answer with any one of these, but number 2 being the most common and generally being considered a reasonable trade-off.

The most (grammatically) correct answer should be "The apple is my favourite fruit." - but the chance of hearing that, other from an upper-class member of society, is very unlikely.

2 May 2009     


hi evl422!
You īre quite right transport is uncountable and used mainly by the British.
The Americans use transportation instead.

2 May 2009     

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