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Uncount nouns

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


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


Common uncount nouns 3




Hi Cloudyie

Sentence 6 is correct. 

We often use the phrase "If you want my advice" before we give someone a piece of advice.

I think that the sentence is a bit messy because it combines two ways to give advice. The first: "the advice gambit" - If you want my advice

And the second conditional advice phrase "If I were you" + I would... 

Perhaps, it would have been clearer if the sentence had read "If you want my advice, sell it as soon as possible." 



The LearnEnglish Team


pleas can you tell me  what's the differenc between''few'' and ''a few''.thanky

To me, "few" has a negative meaning while "a few" has a positive one.

Let me take an example: "I have few/ a few friends"

The first case indicates that you nearly have no friends. Meanwhile, the second one indicates that you don't have many friends but at least you still have 2 or 3 friends.

Hope this makes you clearer.

Maxi Pham

Hello I´m new, I like this class!!

I really like this website.can you give me a list of uncount nouns

Hi Baarzaan,
I can't give you a list of all the uncount nouns, because there are too many! There are some above on this page and here are ten more for you: art, butter, electricity, gas, music, pasta, rice, rubbish, scenery, sugar.
Hope this helps,
The LearnEnglish Team