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Hello,

I am very confused about countable and uncountable nouns concerning weather:

I would say:

- heavy rain (not: a heavy rain, because I think rain is always uncountable. Am I right?)

- light fog, because fog is uncountable, I suppose.

However, I have found different information in the Wiktionary - (en.wiktionary.org) - fog - "countable and uncountable" - Does it mean light fog and also a light fog are right?)

- strong wind and also a strong wind, because according to the Wictionary wind is countable and uncountable)

- light breeze or a light breeze?

- good weather (not: a good weather because weather is always uncountable?)

Thank you for your answers Mowgli
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As Clive said, weather is always uncountable. That means a is not used with it.

CB
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Comments  
Hi Mowgli,

Rain, fog, wind, breeze can be both countable and uncountable. It depends on whether you want to be specific or nonspecific.

Specific: Yesterday, there was a fog in the park, so I got lost.

Nonspecific: I think fog is beautiful to look at.

Weather is always uncountable.

If you still feel unsure about this, why don't you write some sentences and we'll tell you if they are correct, OK?

Clive
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can i say "what a terrible weather!" ?
 Cool Breeze's reply was promoted to an answer.
In my neck of the woods, Most of the weather elements are generally referred to as uncountables by most folks. How does one count wind, drizzle or fog? [:^)] There are of cource examples of weather related nouns which are coutnables. Cyclones, storms, thounders, and blizzards are good examples. As far as "rain" goes, it can be either depending on the context. Case in point: "We have suffered a 3 year drought; it's a relief that the rain is finally here". "Rain" sometime is referred to as an event rather than a substance, so we may hear people say "rains" i.e. "There is a heavy storm coming and weather channel says there will be periods of terrantial rains".

Here is another article in this topic"

http://languageandgrammar.com/2008/02/29/the-plurals-are-rain-and-snow /

Weather Channel, January 16, 2008. Although I saved these quotes for over a month before using them, I didn’t need to since this grammar error is a staple on the Weather Channel. It’s not just the Weather Channel personalities, however, who love to use rains and snows as the plurals of rain and snow; I hear this almost daily from both local and national weather personalities.

The plural of rain is rain, and the plural of snow is snow. Rain is water vapor that has condensed and is falling from the atmosphere (see, being married to a meteorologist has its great advantages!)—it is many, many, many droplets of this water vapor. You don’t need to say rains to describe the many, many, many droplets of water vapor.

Maybe the weather personalities are trying to describe rain that is falling in a variety of areas; however, whether it’s one area or more than one area, it’s still just rain, not rains. Rain is falling in New York. Rain is falling in New York, Minneapolis, and Seattle.

Maybe the weather personalities are trying to describe rain or snow that will be arriving in one particular area over an extended period of time, as in The rains are coming to Los Angeles. Instead, this should be, for example, The rainy season is beginning, bringing rain over the next few weeks or Several rain-bearing storm systems will move through Los Angeles in the next two weeks or There will be several storms over the next week, bringing rain.

The same is true for snow. Whether it’s snow in one area or snow all over the country, it’s still called snow, not snows. Snow will fall in New York. Snow will fall in New York, Aspen, and the Sierra.
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dimsumexpressHow does one count wind, drizzle or fog?
One doesn't count them. However, English is a peculiar enough language to allow, even require, the indefinite article to be used with many seemingly uncountable words if there is an adjectival attribute: It was a very dense fog. Weather is an exception, a is not used even if there is an adjective: We had good weather most of the time.

Nobody had told Ernest Hemingway not to use snow in the plural when he wrote The Snowsof Kilimanjaro.Emotion: smileI understand it to mean snow on various slopes, fallen over a very long period of time. It isn't just the meteorologists that use "weather plurals"!

CB
Hi,,

Emotion: storm Emotion: umbrella The Rains of Ranchipur. Emotion: umbrella Emotion: storm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rains_of_Ranchipur

Clive
Hi CB,

Thanks for your reply.

When I said "Count", I don't mean it as a unit or entity like, say, an apply or a person
Cool BreezeOne doesn't count them. However, English is a peculiar enough language to allow, even require, the indefinite article to be used with many seemingly uncountable words if there is an adjectival attribute: It was a very dense fog.
I, however, still find "It was a very dense fog" with a dull ring to it. If one has to describe a foggy condition, would it be more natural to say "The fog was very dense[ on the way here]"?

Having said that, I supposed you have I would agree that the rules and contexts always cause contradictions. I don't know how many times I have heard weather reports saying "rains are on the way". For learners, they may be completely confused as they were taught "rain" is uncountable which is true.

But in a large climatic scale usage, say, The Pacific Ocean, several rain patterns can be lined up to hit the coast of California (or perhaps even Seattle Emotion: big smile ), and if I make an utterance, "rains are on the way" in the contexts that several small rain patterns are being developed, it is grammatically acceptable; isn't it?
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We say"what weather" or "what a weather"
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