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

Hello,

How should we treat the noun 'Superstition' ?

Is it an abstract Idea?

Hello,

How should we treat the noun 'Superstition' ?

Is it an abstract Idea?

Hello amol,

A superstition is an irrational and supernatural belief. It is, therefore, abstract in the sense that we cannot touch it. Grammatically speaking it is a count noun as we can identify individual examples. In this sense it is similar to the count noun 'belief'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello dear Kirk,
I have one question about uncountable nouns. e.g Furniture. which still after researching make me somehow confuse in some specific occasions. Since it's an uncountable/mass noun, verb which follows it would be in a singular form, but what about when I make a sentence in a which I mention the number is more than one piece, like:
1-The are/is some new pieces of furniture in this room.
or
2-few bits of furniture are/is still here
or
3- some furniture is/are broken
I hope I was clear enough about explaining what makes me confuse

Regards

Hello ninoosha,

When we use a plural collective noun like 'pieces', 'lots', 'sets' and so on we use a plural verb. Therefore 'are' is correct here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter,
Thank you for your reply.
What about when I use a determiner like some? would it still follow the same rule you mentioned?
it may sound strange but I found both form of the verb after that, i.e. there are some furniture left / there is some furniture left
OR there was some old furniture / there were some old furniture

Regards

Hello ninoosha,

'Furniture' is a uncount noun and is always singular. Therefore we would use a singular verb and say 'is' or 'was'. Using a plural verb here would not be correct.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello , I saw the following sentence in an English exercise book.

"With the development of smart card technology, it will have possibly in the near future that you need to carry only one card . "

It asked where the two mistakes in the sentence are.

I don't know if the "of" is to be replaced by "in", or "will" to be replaced by "may" for the first answer?

That is : "development of" to be "development in" ? or "it will have " to be "it may have"?

"possibly" to be replaced by "possibility" or "possibilities" for the second answer?

Please tell me the two answers with explanation. Thank you.

Hello tssang,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers for tasks from outside of our own pages. If we did, then we would end up doing everyone's homework and tests for them!

Your book should have a key with it which contains the answers. Failing that, you can ask your teacher for help.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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