Unit 6.1

Uncountable Nouns


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Introduction

Nouns refer to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality.

Uncountable nouns are nouns which cannot be counted easily or what we refer to as a mass.

Form

Uncountable nouns refer to things we consider as a mass and not as separate objects. We have three types of uncountable nouns:

  • with only singular form: advicebaggageenergy, hairhomeworkinformationmoney…;
  • with only plural form: clothesgroceriesnewsregardsthanks…;
  • nouns that can be both countable and uncountable:
    • Depending on the context:  a type ofa kind of…;
    • Materials and liquids: coffee, glasspaperwater…;
    • Abstract nouns: lifetime…

Example

  • My baggage is so heavy because of the camera in it.
  • Her energy as a salsa dancer is incredible.
  • Their money was not enough to buy the painting.
  • Could you get the groceries?
  • He told me some news about your journey.
  • We send our thanks to the director.
  • Siberian husky is a kind of dog.
  • Can I borrow some coffee?
  • Do you want a glass of coke?
  • I need more time.

Use

We use uncountable nouns to refer to things we consider as a mass and not as separate objects (abstract ideas, substances, materials, gases and liquids).

There are nouns that can be both countable and uncountable:

  • they are uncountable when referring to a general meaning;
  • they are countable when referring to a specific thing or meaning.

Summary

Uncountable nouns refer to things we consider as a mass and not as separate objects. We have three types of uncountable nouns:

  • Only singular uncountable nouns: advice, baggage, energy, hair, homework, information, money
  • Only plural uncountable nouns: clothes, groceries, news, regards, thanks
  • Both uncountable and countable uses: a type of…, a kind of…; coffee, glass, paper, water… (materials and liquids); lifetime… (abstract nouns).

For example:
— “I don’t have energy for another trip.” = Energy has only singular uncountable form.
— “I will tell you later the news of today.” = News has only plural uncountable form.
— “Can I have some coffee?” / “Can I have a coffee?“= Coffee refers to coffee as a powder (singular uncountable), and a coffee has the implicit meaning of a cup of coffee (singular countable).

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. And take a look to the {Example} that show its use within a context.

Exercises

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