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

sir,
'Thomson's poetries are very charming.' what is wrong in this sentence?
'A poet and a writer is dead.' Why we can not use 'are' in place of 'is'?
'I saw two beautiful fish in the pond.' If i use 'fishes' in place of 'fish' then which type of mistake is this?

Hello A K Pathak,

We're happy to answer questions about the materials on our pages, or even (if time allows) more general questions about English or learning English. However, we don't provide answers for tasks from elsewhere (other sites, tests or homework) such as these questions.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,

"I bring fruit and vegetables from the market."
in this sentence can i use 'fruits' instead of 'fruit' ?

Hello A K Pathak,

Yes, you could say 'fruits' here. It would mean different kinds of fruit (some apples, some grapes, some peaches etc).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I want to ask you about "food" vs "foods". Can you explain to me the different between these two words?
when do we have to use "food" or "foods"?

Thanks

Hi santisair,

In general, 'food' is anything we eat. The less common 'foods' is used when we want to distinguish between different types of food. For example, we might say:

In this shop you can find many different ethnic foods from around the world.

If you have a particular example in mind we will be happy to comment on it, of course.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your reply sir.
But, i wonder whether i have already had a good comprehension or no.
Am i correct if say like these two sentences ?

I want to eat some food. >>> (i use "food" because i don't say the type of food)

I want to eat some chinese foods. >>> (i use "foods" because i say specific type of food)

Thanks

Hello santisair,

In both of these cases we would use 'food'. We use 'foods' very rarely, as I said, and really only when we need to differentiate between some kinds of categories - it is a way of saying 'kinds of food' but unless we have a particular reason that 'food' is not clear then we tend to use the uncountable form.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Well, thanks a lot sir...

Dear Sir
I want to make sure using parts of 'be' with uncount nouns. Help me to make this clear. Could I say: 'There are some furniture in the room.'
'Some equipment in the work shop are unserviceable.'
Thank you in advance.
Regards
Andrew international

Pages