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 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

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,

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,

How should we treat the noun 'Superstition' ?

Is it an abstract Idea?

Hello,

how to find count & uncount nouns, as of definoition whichever is countable is a count noun & if unable to count it's an uncountable noun.

But in this topic money & furniture is given as uncountable noun but in practice it can be ciuntable Example:-10 USD, 4 new furnitures arrived.

i am really confused to find out the countble /unciuntable noun, requird your help.

Thanks.

Hello abdulhaqcivil1,

It's possible to guess whether some nouns are count or uncount. For example, substances which are liquid or similar tend to be uncount, such as coffee, for example. Abstract nouns are also often uncount. However, it is not always obvious and it is really a question of learning this when you learn the word itself, just as you would learn the pronunciation or the spelling. Sometimes a word can be both count or uncount. For example, 'coffee' is uncount when referring to the substance, but we can also say 'two coffees' meaning 'two cups of coffee'.

'Furniture' is not a count noun and we would not use it in the way you suggest. We would say 'pieces of furniture'. However, sometimes language in automatically generated invoices, created by computer programmes, is not completely grammatical and you may have seen an example of this.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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