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

Comments

Sir,
I have a small doubt that which one is correct, 'One and a half an hour' or 'one and a half hours'?

Thank you, sir.

Hello chandini,

'one and a half hours' is the correct form here.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
we always say Science, Commerce and Arts far as the issue of stream is concern. So my question is
why Arts always been written in plural contrary to Science and Commerce.

Hello Manoj,

The 'arts' refers to the various kinds of arts - music, sculpture, dance - but in any case I'd just recommend you accept this as how the word is used.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Dear sirs,
I'd like to appreciate your work, which helped me a lot. My question is " What is the difference between "help" and "help out"? I looked up that in Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, but I did not completely figure out. Could you please give me a hand?

Sincerely yours

Reza

Hello Reza,

'Help out' is only used with people, whereas an object (a tool, a dictionary etc) many 'help' you. 'Help out' is often used when one person takes part of another's responsibility to make things easier. For example, if my friend is cleaning their house then I may 'help out' by doing the bathroom for him. 'Help' is the more general word and can be used in any context; 'help out' is more limited.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
I have a problem, we have inconvenience as a countable and uncountable noun. I want to learn the usage of this word...for example in this sentence wich quantifier is correct to choose : ..... Inconvenience didnt interfere with our fun. A little/a few

Hello Yalda Razmpour,

I'd suggest you look up 'inconvenience' in several online dictionaries so that you can read the example sentences to see how it's used. You can also search the internet for 'inconvenience' to see how it's used on different websites. I haven't searched myself, but I think you'll find that 'a little inconvenience' is not very common at all – you're much more likely to see this idea expressed with an adjective (e.g. 'It was a bit inconvenient that ...'), I suspect.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi!

What is the difference between " detail information" and "detailed information"?

Thanks in advance

Hello Abdullah,

'detail information' does not sound correct to me. Perhaps in some very specific context, it might be OK, but in general you should use 'detailed information'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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