Blockchain Terminology — A Grammar Usage Guide

The term “blockchain” is often misused in the English language. This can either cause confusion or cause the speech or writing to sound out of place.

This grammar usage guide is meant to clear up confusion and outline how and how not the term “blockchain” should be used.

Concrete vs. Abstract Nouns

The term “blockchain” is a noun, but it’s important to note the noun types that it can fit into.

Just like the term “rocket”, the term “blockchain” can be used as a concrete noun, but never as an abstract noun, like “genetic engineering”.

One can say “I have a rocket”, “I see the rocket”, “there are rockets” and “we’re using rocket technology” but one cannot say “I am focused on rocket”.

Likewise, one can say “I have a blockchain”, “I see the blockchain”, “there are blockchains”, and “we’re using blockchain technology” but one cannot say “I am focused on blockchain”.

To illustrate the other side with abstract nouns, one can say “I am focused on genetic engineering” but one cannot say “I have a genetic engineering”.

Note: In the phrase “blockchain technology”, the word “blockchain” is acting as a noun adjunct, or a noun that modifies another noun.

Countable vs. Uncountable Nouns

As we saw above, the term “blockchain” can be used as a countable noun, like “rocket”, but it cannot be used as an uncountable noun or a mass noun like “water” or “smoke”.

One can say “I have soap and water” but one cannot say “I have blockchain”.

Quick Tests

In summary, the term “blockchain” can be used as a concrete noun, but never as an abstract noun. It can be used as a countable noun, but not as an uncountable noun.

One quick test to determine if you’re using the term “blockchain” right is to replace it in a sentence with “rocket”. If the sentence still makes sense and sounds right, you’re using “blockchain” in a grammatically correct way.


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