Interesting point. In general, however, diseases are not made plural in English, e.g.,
- "The patients have influenza."
- "The patients have the plague."
In both cases the plural ("influenzas" and "plagues" respectively) would be incorrect. (Unless the unfortunate hospital were dealing with multiple outbreaks at the same time.)
Grammatically, I suppose this means that there is indeed only one collective fever that all people share.
Here's my view from an Australian English perspective...
If the symptom/disease is described as "a __" then I would use the plural form for a group of patients. e.g...
- "The patient has a fever" = "The patients have fevers"
- "The patient has a headache" = "The patients have headaches"
- "The patient has a cold" = "The patients have colds"
- "The patient has a nosebleed" = "The patients have nosebleeds"
Otherwise I would not change the word.
- "The patient has diarrhoea" = "The patients have diarrhoea"
- "The patient has anxiety" = "The patients have anxiety"
- "The patient has the flu" = "The patients have the flu"
- "The patient has cancer" = "The patients have cancer"
Note that this rule applies to both symptoms (fever, headache, dirrhoea) and diseases themselves (a cold, the flu, cancer).
Not so in the UK (and it feels a bit odd to okay it at all, but I know an Australian nurse and he says it's ok) . In the UK you don't pluralize when each person can only have one each.
So: "the patients have illnesses" is ok since they can have two or more each.
But: "the patients have a fever." Because they can only have one each.
Don't know why you're getting downvoted. I have never heard 'the patients have fever' in American English and I'd assume someone wasn't fluent if they said it. You wouldn't say 'the patient has fever' either. Fever needs an article before it to make sense in both cases.
If there are dictionaries still using this based in the US, I'd actually hazard a guess they're out of date.
In another excercise "The patient has fever" was correct. If it is correct, then you don't need an article for plural sentence as well. I'm pretty sure "The patiens have FEVER" is correct. Plural form for diseases looks very, very uncommon and unnatural, until you underline that every "fever" the patients have is totally different one
An actual dictionary (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary) uses "having fever" as the definition of feverish, and another one uses "indicating fever" in the second definition of the same word (Merriam Webster's Third New International Dictionary).
Based on this, I am pretty sure that it's not completely wrong and should be accepted.
Fever is not a disease, however, but a symptom, and therefore in US English you would probably not say that "the patients have fever;" you would be describing their individual symptoms, and so you would say "the patients have fevers." The only reason that the singular "fever" would be correct here is if you are in fact talking about a specific disease, which they all have, of which fever is a major symptom, in which case you could say, "All the patients have the fever" -- because you are drawing attention to "fever" as standing for this one disease that they're collectively suffering under.
Influenza and plague are a special kind of disease that are generally held to affect many people at one time. A fever is not a disease affecting a lot of people (unless it's Dengue Fever or another specific illness that can affect several people). A fever (on its own) is a sign experienced by one person.
You can, however, pluralize it and say "The patients have fever" - without the "a" You could also say "The patients have high blood pressure", again without the "a".
Just to muddy the waters a bit, there are certain medical conditions that are treated differently - but only by incorrect use of the English language by medical professionals. Non-medical personnel are unlikely to encounter these in everyday conversations but you will hear it on TV shows and read it in books. "The patient has tachycardia" means that the patient has a fast heart rate but doctors and nurses often - and incorrectly - say "The patient has a tachycardia", and then would refer to multiple patients suffering from this as "The patients have tachycardias". You can all have the condition of tachycardia but you can't share "a" tachycardia.
I think the discussion here made clear that "The patients have fever." should be allowed as a possible translation, and I'm going to report that version. If that version of the sentence is in common use and a suitable translation, even if it's not used in all English varieties, it has to be accepted. Please, moderators, include that version already!
"fever" as a noun is both uncountable and countable (source: http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/fever). So, why isn't "the patients have fever" allowed?
In American English, "The child has a fever." is about as common as "The child has fever."
"The children have fever." is more common than "The children have a fever."
Though it is not incorrect, I have literally never heard "The children have fevers."
Maybe it's a regional thing?
The patients have fever sounds very wierd to me. The patients have a fever sounds good to me. The patient has fevers sounds good to me. The patient has fever sou....... hmmm that actually sounds good to me now. Come to think of it.... the patients have fever also now sounds good to me.
I think everything should be accepted xD lol.
And not even a mention of whether you can use "temperature" instead of fever! I just answered: "The patients have temperatures". I now don't know if it was rejected because of not liking the plural, or not liking "temperature" as an alternative to fever, or both!
No, not in English anyway. "Fever" is the everyday, layman's word for when the body's temperature is higher than it should be, or for the condition which causes the elevated temperature. It was the word used in times before thermometers were available. These days we can measure accurately and say, e.g. "he has a temperature of 40°C at the moment" (that's 104°F if you're in the USA). But it's quite common for people to just say "he's got a temperature" It doesn't necessarily follow that if your temperature is only slightly raised, that you feel less unwell, either.
"a fever" vs. "fevers": It's not just about fever. It's more general than that. The Dutch commonly match single objects with plural subjects INDIVIDUALLY. English speakers match single objects with plural subjects by the GROUP rather than by the individual. When a Dutch speaker says "De vrowen hebben een paraplu", he means the women EACH has an umbrella. So, the correct LITERAL translation of this exercise is: "The patients have a fever.", and the correct MEANING translation is: "The patients have fevers." Duo accepts literal translations and rejects meaning translations throughout the entire course. I don't like that, because Duo changes the meaning with the translation, but ... it is what it is. If we wait for Duo to correct this, we will have a very long wait. (For you native Dutch speakers: When English speakers say, "The women have an umbrella." - please understand that no matter how many women there are, there is only one umbrella, so expect some running, stringy hair, and soaking wet clothes. To get the Dutch meaning we could say, "Each of the women has an umbrella".)