Hello,

I was reading a TIME article and came across the following paragraph.

Having habits can often be a good thing. When you drive to work for example, you don’t need to wonder whether you should turn left or right; the route becomes habit.

My question: Why did the writer say "becomes habit" without "a" when he uses "habits" as a countable noun?

Apple

Original Post

Hi, Apple,

apple posted:

Hello,

I was reading a TIME article and came across the following paragraph.

Having habits can often be a good thing. When you drive to work for example, you don’t need to wonder whether you should turn left or right; the route becomes habit.

My question: Why did the writer say "becomes habit" without "a" when he uses "habits" as a countable noun?

Apple

'Habit' is a variable noun. It can be used as a countable and uncountable noun with same meaning.

https://www.collinsdictionary....ionary/english/habit

https://www.macmillandictionar...ionary/british/habit

ahmed_btm posted:

Hi, Apple,

apple posted:

Hello,

I was reading a TIME article and came across the following paragraph.

Having habits can often be a good thing. When you drive to work for example, you don’t need to wonder whether you should turn left or right; the route becomes habit.

My question: Why did the writer say "becomes habit" without "a" when he uses "habits" as a countable noun?

Apple

'Habit' is a variable noun. It can be used as a countable and uncountable noun with same meaning.

https://www.collinsdictionary....ionary/english/habit

https://www.macmillandictionar...ionary/british/habit

Yes. I tend only to use "habit" as an uncountable noun in "of" phrases like "force of habit," cited at the Macmillan link. I find the uncountable use a bit awkward after "become" and would use "routine" instead, another variable noun.

  • When you drive to work, for example, you don’t need to wonder whether you should turn left or right; the route becomes routine.

I have also added a comma after "work." Normally, "for example" is set off by a comma at both ends when used mid-sentence. Interestingly, it is a "become"-phrase that Macmillan uses to illustrate the uncountable use of "routine."

https://www.macmillandictionar...ry/british/routine_1

Thank you, David.

You pointed out the commas, which I think is important, but is often neglected. People, native speakers and non-native speakers alike, tend to write without necessary punctuation marks.

I often see sentences without periods at the end.

Apple

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