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Non countable vs. countable Options
Joe Kim
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 1:56:28 PM

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1. It's catastrophe.
2. It's a catastrophe.

What is the difference in meaning between the two, and when do you use the first not the second?

NeuroticHellFem
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 3:50:20 PM

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Location: Lilyfield, New South Wales, Australia
Joe Kim wrote:
1. It's catastrophe.
2. It's a catastrophe.

What is the difference in meaning between the two, and when do you use the first not the second?



Joe Kim, I can't think of any situation in which you would say "it's catastrophe".
George Weischadle
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 3:52:28 PM

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Joe Kim wrote:
1. It's catastrophe.
2. It's a catastrophe.

What is the difference in meaning between the two, and when do you use the first not the second?



The first is not grammatical. You might say "It's catastrophic." instead.
Wilmar (USA) 1M
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 3:54:02 PM

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Agreeing with Neu, that the first sentence is not usable. However, you might hear something similar to that, routinely.
"That's catastrophic."
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 4:55:41 PM

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Wilmar (USA) wrote:
Agreeing with Neu, that the first sentence is not usable. However, you might hear something similar to that, routinely.
"That's catastrophic."

Ok! Let us put it another other way:

http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/catastrophe

Quote:
1 [countable, uncountable] a terrible event in which there is a lot of destruction, suffering, or death syn disaster

And then some examples on the same page:

Quote:
The Black Sea is facing ecological catastrophe as a result of pollution.

Quote:
These will go a long way to lessen the real danger of accidental war or nuclear catastrophe due to misinformation.

Quote:
The prose of this chapter measures the adequacy of verbal accounts of catastrophe in the age of photographic reproduction.

Quote:
When November came, and the debt ceiling had not moved, Rubin postponed catastrophe by borrowing from two government pension funds.

Quote:
The economy seems to be moving toward catastrophe.

As I understand it if the economy is moving toward catastrophe then when it arrives at the destination what you see is not a catastrophe but catastrophe. It's catastrophe.

taurine
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 6:22:18 PM

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And ecology is important.Applause
NKM
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:21:59 PM

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Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1 wrote:


As I understand it if the economy is moving toward catastrophe then when it arrives at the destination what you see is not a catastrophe but catastrophe. It's catastrophe.

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Actually, if the economy is "moving toward catastrophe" then the resulting catastrophic situation may be either "catastrophe" or "a catastrophe".

We can say it either way.

palapaguy
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:57:59 PM

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NKM wrote:
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1 wrote:


As I understand it if the economy is moving toward catastrophe then when it arrives at the destination what you see is not a catastrophe but catastrophe. It's catastrophe.

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Actually, if the economy is "moving toward catastrophe" then the resulting catastrophic situation may be either "catastrophe" or "a catastrophe".

We can say it either way.



Agree, and "a catastrophe" is the more common form in my experience.
ellana
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 1:15:08 AM
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To add my two cents... the word catastrophe is countable. For example, we can say:
'He/she experienced many catastrophes in his/her life.

The use of an article, a or the, or no article in the singular will depend on context, but catastrophe is not necessarily uncountable.

http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/catastrophe
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 2:20:04 AM

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I agree that "It's catastrophe" would be an unlikely (not quite impossible) sentence.

However, there are two meanings to the word - one countable and one uncountable (a mass-noun).

What is the state of a country devastated by floods and earthquakes. - It's catastrophe.

The planet suffered a catastrophe when it was hit by an asteroid. (countable)

The planet is heading towards a catastrophe. (a destructive incident)
The planet is heading towards catastrophe. (a state of much destruction)

Quote:
catastrophe
noun

1 An event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a disaster.
‘an environmental catastrophe’
mass noun ‘inaction will only bring us closer to catastrophe’

Oxford Dictionary
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 2:53:53 AM

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Posts: 1,356
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Location: Dzerzhinskiy, Moskovskaya, Russia
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
The planet is heading towards a catastrophe. (a destructive incident)
The planet is heading towards catastrophe. (a state of much destruction)

I think that's what the original poster was asking about and I couldn't figured out exactly.

You are brilliant Drag0nspeaker! Как всегда.
coag
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 1:56:43 PM

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Joined: 3/27/2010
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Just to add some statistical data from COCA.

face catastrophe, 8 hits
face a catastrophe, 3

avoid catastrophe, 11
avoid a catastrophe, 7

avert catastrophe, 6
avert a catastrophe, 7

prevent catastrophe, 5
prevent a catastrophe, 8
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