Uncountable Nouns in English
Uncountables as part of common nouns. How they’re determined and agree in number.
Uncountables are usually common nouns with usually singular agreement, something we can’t count. They generally have no grammatical ending, being concrete (animate/inanimate) or abstract. Uncountable nouns may be specified by the definite article.
I prefer rice.
Give me the food I prefer.
Singular uncountables may be determined by singular demonstrative pronouns (this/that) and agree with singular verbs.
- matters (materials, foods, liquids, gases)
bread, butter, sugar, tea, coffee, leather, paper, wood, silver, crystal, plastic, porcelain, metal, silver, water, air, bread, meat, butter, wine, flour, spaghetti, yoghurt, cheese, lemonade, oil, petrol, plasma, blood, carbon, steel, oak, rubber
- activities (sports)
running, swimming, shopping, singing, gardening, football, tennis, snooker, squash, badminton
news, travel, knowledge, information, education, weather, progress, intelligence, behavior, fun, research, advice, accommodation, beauty, hunger, poverty, freedom, justice, help, chaos, damage, luck, permission, scenery, work, love, hatred, joy, pleasure, strength, weakness, history, music, law, art, the Renaissance, the Reformation
London, the Mississippi, furniture, luggage, baggage, equipment, traffic, hair, rubbish, litter
Russian, Greek, German, English
Uncountable liquids are pluralized by the indefinite article or numerals into drinks in containers – a cup/glass/bottle of.
Plural uncountables end in –(e)s and may be determined by plural demonstrative pronouns (these/those) and the indefinite pronouns some, any, much, little. Some here means a certain amount of. These are collectives:
tactics, politics, maths, physics, lyrics, economics, linguistics, optics, mechanics
darts, billiards, dominoes, socks
police, clergy, gentry, cattle, poultry, the British Isles, the Azores, the Andes
Groups as collective uncountables are plural (denoting members separately) unless when generalizing.
The police react too slowly.
Plural games and theories (in –ics) are singular unless when personalizing them as qualities.
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics.
Her phonetics have become much better this term.