In all my years of teaching English for over a decade this continues to be one of the most common mistakes among English language learners.
Do you want to know what that is?
Uncountable nouns! These types of nouns cannot be counted. They have a singular form but not a plural form, meaning that you cannot add an S to the end of it. So today I’m sharing a few of those uncountable nouns that don’t have a plural form and how you use these words in sentences.
Some uncountable nouns are abstract nouns such as knowledge, advice, and effort. We cannot count these things. The singular form already expresses plurality.
Let’s look at information, for example.
Because this word is uncountable, we don’t say “informations” but we also don’t say “an information.” If we are talking about information in general, then it’s already plural. For example, I haven’t gathered enough information to make my decision yet. Meaning, I’m looking at multiple different sources to collect information, and that’s plural in nature. But if I wanted to speak about information in a singular way, what would I say?
I would say “piece of information.” So for instance, I’d say, “That information is enlightening” but I could also say “That’s an enlightening piece of information.” Using “piece of information” to really point out that specific information as opposed to it all together.
And because information is a singular noun grammatically, speaking then it takes singular verb forms. This information is not accurate. We would not say “information are not accurate.” So it takes singular forms.
Let’s have a look at some other examples.
The professor gives her student really good advice. Just the other day she gave me an important piece of advice for my PhD thesis. Her advice is some of the best.
The company received news about the merger & acquisition. The CEO learned one piece of very valuable news. The news is not always trustworthy, however.
We don’t say “equipments.” The filmmakers have a whole studio dedicated to audio visual equipment. The most important piece of equipment for filmmakers is a good camera. The filmmaker’s equipment is of the highest quality.
The furniture in the Queen’s room is exquisite. I especially love this piece of furniture from France.
Feedback. I have received a lot of positive feedback on the web courses, hopefully you check them out! The feedback on the book I’m writing is very useful. One piece of feedback really stood out to me: always write as simply as you can. We can all use some feedback on our work, every once in a while.
The Duchess has extraordinary jewelry. She has one piece of jewelry in particular, that is worth the price of a house. The Duke and Duchess share the same taste in jewelry. Her jewelry comes from all over the world and is absolutely magnificent.
I know plenty of gentlemen who enjoy doing the housework. When housework is divided equally in the household, people tend to be happier. Madison did some housework early in the week and her husband did the rest of the housework later in the week.
People who save and invest their money will have plenty of money later on. Have you heard the expression, “Money does not grow on trees?” Many entrepreneurs think that money is a tool. We don’t say “piece of money,” but we do say some money. For example, you might ask your friend “Do you have some money I could borrow for a cab? I’ll pay you back tomorrow.”
I listen to a lot of Classical Music when I’m working. It’s hard for me to choose my favorite piece of music. I definitely enjoy listening to Mozart and Chopin. Chopin’s music is probably my favorite.
So we looked at a few different uncountable nouns that don’t have a plural form so we don’t add an S. They are singular grammatically speaking so we use singular verb forms after it.
Since they are plural in nature (information, news, knowledge, housework) when we want to point out singularity within it we would say “piece of” as in piece of information, piece of knowledge, piece of news” or “some” as in “some housework, some money, etc.”
The more you are aware of this feature of the English language, the better you’ll be able to identify it and use it properly in your own sentences.
Alright Advanced English learners, thanks for joining me in this lesson.
I encourage you to come up with your own sentences using uncountable nouns and feel free to share that with the community in the comments down below!
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