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Hi,

I found this sentence when I was looking at one of my favorite dictionaries and am wondering if it is showing an instance where an uncounble noun being transformed to exhibit a quality of the countable noun which is being plural. The uncountable noun is 'oil'.

It is used to make oils.
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Hi Believer

If you check the Cambridge Dictionary (for example), you'll see that the word 'oil' can be both countable and uncountable.

In your sentence (without more context), I'd understand that 'it' is used to make various different types of oil.
'Oil', meaning 'a smooth thick liquid that is used as a fuel and for making the parts of machines move smoothly' is a mass noun.

'Oils' are oil paintings.
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Hi guys,

I agree with Yankee that the word can be used to mean different types of oil.
If you google for 'oils', you'll find 42 million hits, and the vast majority will have nothing to do with paintings.Emotion: smile

Best wishes, Clive
Believer wrote: It is used to make oils.

Accordingly to Collins Cobuild English Dictionay for Advanced Learners, 'oils' means 'oil paintings'. Therefore I believe the word 'oils' in the above sentence should be 'oil'.
Yoong Liat
'Oils' are oil paintings.

not necessarily. "oils" are the paints that are used to make, or paint, oil paintings. "Oils" can also be essential oils for use in aromatherapy.
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Believer
Hi,

I found this sentence when I was looking at one of my favorite dictionaries and am wondering if it is showing an instance where an uncounble noun being transformed to exhibit a quality of the countable noun which is being plural. The uncountable noun is 'oil'.

It is used to make oils.

How about "experience" as an example? "experience" being an uncountable noun, but having 2 bad experiences in the last year becomes plural and countable?
Hi Believer

I think you should give us more information relating to the sentence from your dictionary so that we can have a clearer picture of what the sentence is all about.
Hi Yoong Liat Emotion: smile

The plural usage (oils) really isn't that unusual. Just look at some of the sentences Google easily turned up:

- The Alchemy skill could be used to make oils to enhance the instruments.

- The kukui kernel is used to make oils, shampoos, fuel for lighting.

- The cannabis plant produces the material used to make oils, rope, and cloth.

- Field corn is used to make oils, ethanol, cattle feed and many other products.

- ... which is not Amber at all, but a substance from whales which was used to make oils and perfumes.

'It is used to make oils' could be applied to any of the above sentences. In some cases there would be a change in the tense/form of be, but that doesn't make any difference with regard to the use of the word 'oils'.

As far as oils and paintings go, I'd usually refer to such a painting as an 'oil painting' and the paints used as 'oils' or 'oil paints'.
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=oil+painting
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