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

Hi! I am a bit confused about the following sentence:
'Our belief is that diversity and inclusion creates a positive workforce environment, but building a diverse workforce is also the smart business thing to do.'

Why does a singular verb instead of a plural verb follow 'diversity and inclusion'? I thought 'diversity and inclusion' is a combination of two nouns which should be followed by a plural form. Is there a general rule that whenever two nouns (whether countable or uncountable) are linked together by 'and', they should be followed by a plural verb?

Thanks a lot!

Hi learningenglishhard,

I would say that the verb in that sentence should be plural: '...diversity and inclusion create...'

I don't know the source for the sentence you quoted, but remember that even the most careful writers can make mistakes, especially when a text is edited and changed over time. For example, the text might once have said '...a focus on diversity and inclusion creates...', and then been edited to remove 'a focus on', leaving an ungrammatical verb.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello ! I'am a bit confused about the uncount noun ''money''.
Is it correct or wrong to say: few money or a lot of money ?
Thank you in advance.

Hi Abfalter Cristian,

'a lot of money' is the correct option here. The opposite is 'little money'. In both cases, 'money' is an uncount noun.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Thank you for explaining clearly 'how much luggage have you got?'
Is it all right to say: how many pieces of luggage have you got?
How much luggage has she got? How many pieces of luggage has she got?
How many pieces of luggage are there?
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

You're welcome! All of the sentences you ask about are correct -- good work.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
I would like to make this clear. How much luggage have you got?(from your web site)
Is it all right to say 'How much furniture have you got? How much furniture is good?/ How much furniture are good?
My problem : luggage is uncountable but you have used 'have'
please help me to make this clear
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hello Lal,

In the questions about how much luggage and furniture, the subject of the verb 'have' is 'you', which is why it is correct. The question 'How much furniture is good?' is correct because 'furniture' (like the word 'luggage') is uncount and therefore it takes a singular verb.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Perfect, but is very dificult to me.

Hello dear british council team.
I'm a little confused between count and uncount nouns when we say "a wish or and idea "are count nouns and why do we say human feeling and qualities such as "fun or happiness are uncount nouns!!!???
What are the differences between them??
please make them clarify .
Thank you in advance...dears.

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