Level: beginner

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 food. (NOT foods)
We bought some new furniture. (NOT furnitures)
That's useful information. (NOT a 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

Some common nouns in English like information are uncount nouns even though they have plurals in other languages:

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

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

Common uncount nouns 1

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

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

However, accommodation, money and traffic cannot be made countable in this way. We need to use other expressions:

I've lived in three flats/apartments. (NOT bits of accommodation)
Smith received three large sums of money. (NOT pieces of money)
We got stuck in two traffic jams. (NOT pieces of traffic)

Common uncount nouns 2

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Common uncount nouns 3

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Comments

Hello Sir,
Phrases like piecesof bits of are used to make countable noun.What is the difference Why 2 seperate phrases and also in which context these phrases can be used with uncountable noun.

Hello jalaj,

'pieces of' is often used with something that can be broken into pieces, and 'bits of' is perhaps less specific, but in many ways they are similar. I'd suggest you look up both words in the dictionary, or search the internet for them, to see examples of them in use in different contexts.

Every language offers its speakers many ways to express the same idea, so having two expressions that mean the same thing make a language stronger and is not at all unusual.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Perfect !!! ;) X

Thank you for the wonderful learning material

hello teacher
how can i identify uncountable noun???

hello,
there are many useful equipments...is this sentence correct???

Hi jesus4jincy,

"equipment" is an uncount noun in English, so it is not correct; it should be "there's a lot of useful equipment".

Regarding your other question, there is no easy way to know whether a noun is count or uncount in English - it's simply something that must be learned.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk! There is a new resturant in my tiny little town, it's called "Solace". I did look it up in the OALD and wonder how cum a resturant is Solace for people. I need to know if it could be a suitable name for a hardly 1 star resturant that offers only food, no wine, no whisky, and any other stuff which could be solace to some people. I had an argument with a guy who insists it is a suitable name for a resturant because there is a hotel somewhere in states with this name. Just in case if you're forgetting because if's been a while since I was last here, I have to tell you that I'm from Pakistan.

Hello teacher,

As mentioned above, I have learnt that advice is uncountable noun.

1) Does this sentence correct?.
She gives me two advices.

2) you need to be patient.
you have to be strong.
you have to be responsible.

When somebody gives me all of these advices, I should reply " Thank you for the advices". Is it correct?

thank you. :)

Hello fizazack,

No, that sentence is not correct because 'advice' is uncountable, as said above.

The correct sentence would be 'She gives me two pieces of advice' and the correct response 'Thank you for the advice' (you could also say 'Thank you for those two pieces of advice' but it is rather longer than necessary).

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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