How to count the uncountable

For starters, what is an uncountable noun? It’s a noun that cannot be made plural and cannot be used with a or an.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Problems often arise when an English learner comes across a noun that is countable in his or her native language, but is uncountable in English. Here are some of such words:

  • advice
  • homework
  • luggage
  • furniture
  • information
  • knowledge
  • research
  • accommodation (as a place to stay; in this meaning it’s often used as a plural noun in American English)
  • evidence

What to do if you need to talk about a particular amount of something that is expressed with an uncountable or a mass noun? You can do so by using quantity expressions before them, e.g.

Let me give you a piece of advice.

Let me give you an advice.

How many items of furniture have been lost in the fire?

How many furnitures have been lost in the fire?

The police found a vital piece of evidence.

The police found a vital evidence.

This brochure provides quite a few useful bits of information about the local area.

This brochure provides a few useful informations about the local area.

She used a blade of grass as a bookmark.

She used a grass as a bookmark.

What shape is a grain of sand, I wonder?

What shape is a sand, I wonder?

Now you know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.