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[en] Question regarding possessives and plurals



On 1-JAN-2020 I want to release a UK speller update with near 99% of possessives/plurals included.

However, I have some questions regarding the subject which a native speaker could know:

For example, do genera and family of species accept possessive?

“Culex, Anopheles, and other genera, family Culicidae”

Oxford Dictionaries often claim “Mass noun” in some words. However, some of them accept plural.
Should I add possessives to all mass nouns even if only singular?

Wiktionary claims that some words are “uncountable”.
Do they accept possessive?

Thank you!

Hi @marcoagpinto,

  1. I don’t know. I don’t see a reason why they cannot take a possessive, but possibly, by style/convention, they don’t.

  2. Yes. I don’t know of a reason to not let a mass noun take a possessive.

  3. Yes. (I have always thought that the terms “mass noun” and “uncountable noun” are synonyms. Do you use the terms with different meanings?)

Because many times, Oxford Dictionaries say a word is a mass noun but it has plurals in the examples (can’t remember an example noun).

Also, Wiktionary often says: “uncountable and countable”.

I noticed this because I have been analysing word by word in the GB speller to add the possessives and plurals (I have done it with thousands of words).

Hi @marcoagpinto,

As Wiktionary says, a noun can be both a mass noun (non-count noun, uncountable noun) and a count noun. ‘Double Nouns’ in has some examples and a discussion.

Oxford Dictionary ( is not always correct. (No dictionary is always correct.)

For information about the countability of nouns, I like


Here is an example of a mass noun with plural:

The Premium version of Oxford Dictionaries states: " noun (plural cookeries)"

Hi @marcoagpinto, thank you for your example of a mass noun that can also be a plural. I did not know about that.

I’ve checked cookery, seems that Oxford merely failed to show the countable readings.