What are Uncountable Nouns?
Uncountable nouns are the type of nouns in which we cannot count/measure the number (quantity) of things, places, etc. In other words, uncountable things are Uncountable Nouns.
It is also called as non-count noun or mass noun.
These things are difficult to count because these are very small to count and or there may be no physical form (shape) to it.
For example: liquids (like water, oil, etc), gasses (like oxygen, nitrogen, etc), solids (like sugar, salt, paper, wood, etc), abstract of ideas, money, knowledge, fear, atmosphere, mud, happiness, talent, etc. These cannot be measured but can take a reference to measure it accurately.
Explanation 1: We cannot say that “we need to drink eight waters everyday”, because there is no shape of boundaries for water and cannot be counted, right?
Now let us know the actual sentence. That is: “we need to drink eight glasses of water everyday”.
Explanation 2: Most people make the common mistake when they say make like “can you give me a paper?”
The correct sentence is “Can you give me a piece of paper?”.
These type of nouns are only used as singular verb. There are no plural forms in it.
Normally, Uncountable Noun falls into the category of the noun in which it is generally categorised into two types. Those are,
- Countable Noun
- Uncountable Noun.
Further, we will learn more about the rules and examples of Uncountable Noun.
Rules to remember
Rule 1: You cannot use articles like a/an to express the quantity (amount) of things. Instead, you can use some, a lot of, much, a bit of, etc.
- Incorrect: Can you give me a coffee?
- Correct: Can you give me a cup of coffee?
Reason: Coffee cannot be measured because it is a liquid. But we can take the reference of coffee with the size of the cup.
- Incorrect: Scientists do a research before they conduct the experiment.
- Correct: Scientists do a lot of research before they conduct the experiment.
Reason: Research cannot be measured, but it can be measured inaccurately by using “a lot of” which means that some (more or less) action is performed.
- Incorrect: I need an information regarding this topic.
- Correct: I need some (or a piece of) information regarding this topic.
Reason: We cannot count information, but we can say more or less. That’s why we are going with “a piece of” word which means more or less (not accurate) of information.
Rule 2: The quantity for few things can be measured by using some metrices as shown below.
|glass||pair of glasses, pair of shoes, pair of socks|
|bread||Slice/loaf of bread|
|water||a glass of water, a glass of juice|
|tea||a cup of tea, a cup of coffee|
|information||a piece of information, a lot of information|
|rice||a grain of rice, 5 kgs of rice|
|oil||a litre of oil,|
|sugar||10 kgs of Sugar|
|gold||5 grams of gold, 2 kgs of gold|
Rule 3: If you want to question someone about the quantity, then you can use the word “how much”.
- How much time does it take you to finish this School project?
- How much time did you spend reading a book this day?
- How much this football costs?
- How much rice do you want to eat?
- How much did they offered you for this bundle of books?
Note: Sometimes Uncountable Nouns are Countable depending on the usage.
Yes, you heard it right!
You need to understand that some words are used as Countable in some situations and Uncountable in other situations.
For example, consider the word “hair”. Take two situations as shown below,
Usage 1: Your hair is short and beautiful.
Explanation: Here, hair cannot be counted because we are talking about the hair in general (hairstyle).
Usage 2: Some of your hair has fallen on your left shoulder.
Explanation: Here, the word “some” is used. This means that 5 or 6 individual hairs (more or less which is countable).
- Uncountable nouns (also known as count nouns) cannot be counted/measured. It can only be estimated with measurements (like litre, grams, a spoon of, a cup of, a piece of, etc).
- We don’t use articles like (a and an) for Uncountable Noun because it has only Singular verbs, but not Plural forms of it.
If you want to learn more about this topic (from other sites), you can check it out here.
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