Hi everyone! Could you please explain to me in what sense "turnover" and "income" can be countable? Cambridge Dictionary gives the following examples of "turnover" use:

"Large supermarkets have high turnovers (= their goods sell very quickly)."

"The business has an annual turnover of £50,000."

Would it be incorrect to say that large supermarkets have high turnover, and the business has annual turnover of £50,000?

And here are examples for "income":

a high/low income
current/future income
regular/steady income

I can't get the logic of using the indefinite article in these phrases.
Original Post

Hello, Alexey86, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

Alexey86 posted:

 

Would it be incorrect to say that large supermarkets have high turnover, and the business has annual turnover of £50,000?

Yes, it would be incorrect.

Alexey86 posted:

I can't get the logic of using the indefinite article in these phrases.

Even if they are used alone, imagine "turnover" and "income" are preceded by "an amount of": "turnover" refers to the amount of money billed, and "income" refers to the amount of money earned. Just as you wouldn't say:

* The company billed amount of $1,000,000 (INCORRECT).
* The company earned amount of $1,000,000 (INCORRECT).

but

- The company billed an amount of $1,000,000 (CORRECT).
- The company earned an amount of $1,000,000 (CORRECT).

similarly, you need to say:

  • The company had a turnover of $1,000,000.
  • The company earned an income of $1,000,000.
Even if they are used alone, imagine "turnover" and "income" are preceded by "an amount of": "turnover" refers to the amount of money billed, and "income" refers to the amount of money earned.

Thank you, Gustavo! Then, why do "additional/extra income" and "current/future income" have no article in the examples above?

I've also found out that "revenue"  as "the income that a business or government receives regularly, or an amount representing such income", and "business" as "the amount of work done or the number of goods or services sold by a company or organizationare both uncountable. To me, these terms sound similar to "turnover" and "income" regarding (un)countability.

Thanks! I've found examples of "income" with and without determiners. Here are some without any determiners:

Families might use other resources or current income to pay for the first few years of college while doubling down on stocks in their 529 accounts to profit from a rebound.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, by contrast, you can get rid of some tax debts that stem from fraud or unfiled returns, but you're expected to pay at least something toward those tax bills from current income for three years.

Those transactions, criticized at the time because they gave the family deals not available to ordinary shareholders, were intended to maximize current income for the Chandler family while minimizing the family's tax bill and allowing it to diversify its investments.

Ms. Brett cleaned apartments for extra income.

He would say only that he lost $75 million in future income.

 

Why are these examples have no detereminers?

 

 

Most of the examples above present a generic use of the noun "income." "income" can be countable or uncountable, but being uncountable does not mean that it will not take any determiner -- if the indefinite article is not suitable, the definite article or a possessive may be used.

Actually, several of the examples above could have taken one of those:

Families might use other resources or their current income to pay for the first few years of college while doubling down on stocks in their 529 accounts to profit from a rebound.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, by contrast, you can get rid of some tax debts that stem from fraud or unfiled returns, but you're expected to pay at least something toward those tax bills from your current income for three years.

Those transactions, criticized at the time because they gave the family deals not available to ordinary shareholders, were intended to maximize the current income for the Chandler family (the Chandler family's current income) while minimizing the family's tax bill and allowing it to diversify its investments.

Ms. Brett cleaned apartments for an extra income.

He would say only that he lost $75 million in his future income.

For further reference, see the Collocations section for "income" here.

 

Thank you very much! Does "could have taken one" mean that omitting determiners in these examples is not a mistake? Is it just optional? 

"Most of the examples above present a generic use..."

 It's the most difficult thing for me here to distinguish generic and specific reference. I just can't see the genericness of "income" above. Could you give me any clue? Does adding determiners in these sentences shift the meaning from generic to specific, or generic meaning stays the same?

Please note that genericness and specificity are not necessarily related to uncountability and countability.

Alexey86 posted:

Does "could have taken one" mean that omitting determiners in these examples is not a mistake? Is it just optional?

In the sentences above determiners are optional, but I strongly prefer them in some cases. Let's take this sentence:

- Income must increase if we are to have funds for our necessary expenses.

("income" is used in a generic way, being equivalent to "the money earned/received," but we can also say: )

- Our income (the money we earn/receive) must increase if we are to have funds for our necessary expenses.

"In the sentences above determiners are optional, but I strongly prefer them in some cases."

This is the problem for me. I don't quite understand when they are optional and when not.

"Income must increase if we are to have funds for our necessary expenses."

If I say, "Happiness depends on my way of thinking" instead of "My happiness...", it would be sound strange and unrealistically, as if my way of thinking in some way affects happiness as such in general. So, why doesn't it sound strange in case of "income must increase...", since it's about someone's particular income?

 

Alexey86 posted:

If I say, "Happiness depends on my way of thinking" instead of "My happiness...", it would be sound strange and unrealistically, as if my way of thinking in some way affects happiness as such in general. 

You are right. As an abstract noun, "happiness" is much broader than "income." Whenever we speak about income, somebody's income seems to be involved. Sorry, but at this stage I seem to be running out of linguistic resources to help you as much as you might wish.

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