Some nouns in English are uncount nouns.

We do not use uncount nouns in the plural and we do not use them with the indefinite article, a/an.

We ate a lot of foods > We ate a lot of food
We bought some new furnitures > We bought some new furniture
That’s a useful information > That’s useful information

We can use some quantifiers with uncount nouns:

He gave me some useful advice.
They gave us a lot of information.

Uncount nouns often refer to:

  • Substances: food; water; wine; salt; bread; iron
  • Human feelings or qualities: anger; cruelty; happiness; honesty; pride;
  • Activities: help; sleep; travel; work
  • Abstract ideas: beauty; death; fun; life

 

Common uncount nouns

There are some common nouns in English, like accommodation, which are uncount nouns even though they have plurals in other languages:

 

advice baggage equipment furniture homework information
knowledge luggage machinery money news traffic

Let me give you some advice.
How much luggage have you got?

If we want to make these things countable, we use expressions like:

 

a piece of... pieces of... a bit of... bits of... an item of... items of...

 Let me give you a piece of advice.
That’s a useful piece of equipment.
We bought a few bits of furniture for the new apartment.
She had six separate items of luggage.

but we do not use accommodation, money and traffic in this way.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hi Kirk,

The waiter pointed out that everyone had eaten his breakfast or their breakfast.

In the above sentence, I think prnoun should be used in plural form, because sentence is talking about all. Please clear my doubt.

Amitesh

Hi AMITESHK84,

Indefinite pronouns such as 'everyone', 'someone', 'nobody' and so on are treated as singular forms even though they refer to many people and they always have a singular verb.

You can read more about these forms here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,
Thank you for your reply. But we say in a sentence
Someone has forgotten their umbrella. Here we say someone has ie singular subject and thus singular verb but the pronoun is plural..

Please explain.
Amitesh

Hello Amitesh,

I think Peter thought you were asking about 'everyone', not 'their', which is not a pronoun but rather an adjective. To answer your original question, yes, your sentence was grammatically correct. It may seem incongruous to use a grammatically-singular pronoun (such as 'everyone') and then later use a grammatically-plural adjective (such as 'their'), but this is indeed correct.

Good work!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi..Peter.
A regiment of officials (A) / has been (B) / invited (C) / to lunch (D) / No error (E)
which part has error.

Hello Amitesh,

What do you think? We're happy to help you, but please tell us what you think the correct answer is and why. That way we can help you better.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk.
I think there is no error. ..because regiment is used for both singular and plural ...so we can say a regiment of officials.

Hello Amitesh,

I agree -- there is no error. Good work!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

A lunch was organized to welcome the principal.. Is it.correct??
Or the lunch was organised to welcome the principal.

Hello Amiteshk84,

Both 'the' and 'a' can be correct here -- it really depends on what you mean. Please see our Articles 1 and 2 pages for an explanation. Our definite and indefinite articles pages also explain each article in detail.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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