Countable/uncountable noun?

a) People of greater age.
b) Young people of all ages go there to meet.

  1. Why is the word ‘age’ in phrase (a) used as an uncountable noun while that in sentence (b) as a countable noun?

  2. Is it correct to replace the word ‘age’ in phrase (a) with a plural noun?

Thanks in advance.

(a) is only a fragment, not a complete sentence. It is more likely to be singular - a single age range - than uncountable.
It’s impossible to tell for sure, or to decide what may replace it, unless we can see the entire sentence as a minimum.

Hello Beeesneees, I was wondering if you could make sentences using the word ‘age’ for the two categories you have just mentioned, i.e. when it is used as an uncountable noun and as a single age range, so that I will have a better understanding of its usage.

I actually came across this phrase at the entry for the word ‘elders’ in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. The whole thing goes ‘elders: people of greater age, experience and authority’.

Is it correct to say that the word ‘age’ used here falls under the second sense of ‘age’, which is ‘a particular period of a person’s life’?


There are plenty of examples here:
oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries … ionary/age

Actually I had read the webpage you posted before I asked this question. Since it raised my doubt after I had read it, I decided to post my question here.

According to the webpage you posted, I am just wondering if it is correct to say that the word ‘age’ in the phrase ‘people of greater age’ falls under the second sense, which is ‘a particular period of a person’s life’.

Thanks Beeesneees. :slight_smile:

My two cents. I don’t personally see how “age” could be countable in “people of greater age”. I would go for definition #4 at oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries … ionary/age : “the state of being old”.

I thought it fell within definition #2 at oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries … ionary/age, no? Could you please explain to me why it falls within definition #4 instead of #2?

Thanks Dozy.

Well, it seemed to me that in “of greater X”, X tends to be a “state/condition of” word, as in “of greater ability/intelligence/relevance/etc.” By analogy, when X is a “measurement” word, like “age”, “length”, “height”, you might expect it to have the meaning “state of being old/long/high/etc.”

I am by no means sure about this. I think the distinctions you are asking about are tricky to pin down. Certainly they are not ones that impinge on native speakers’ thought processes when such expressions are used in real life.

That helps a lot. Thanks Dozy.