by Kristie Miller
Linguistically, we distinguish between
thing terms and stuff terms, where, roughly,
"thing" is a count noun, and "stuff" is a mass
noun. Syntactically, "thing" functions as a
singular referring term, that is, a term that
refers to a single "entity" and hence takes "a"
and "every" and is subject to pluralization,
while "stuff" functions as a plural referring
term, that is, it refers to a plurality of "entities"
and hence takes "some" and is not
subject to pluralization. There exists a thing
and some stuff.