Did you just say “a kilo of sugars”? Are you the one to get confused when you are asked the plural form of “advice”? Then this article is just for you.
One of the key grammar concepts that act as a stumbling block for most IELTS students is the idea of countable and uncountable noun. Let us find out more about them.
What is Uncountable Noun?
You know what a noun is and what it does. But an uncountable noun is a word that:
- Doesn’t have a plural form. (e.g. Information).
- Always denotes things in plural. (e.g. Pants).
- Cannot be quantified by a number.
- Will never have the articles ‘a’ or ‘an’ before them.
For example: Mum told me to buy some rice. In no version of reality will you ever find ‘rices’ as a plural form of ‘rice’. Words like Rice, Water, Sugar do not need an extra‘s’ to denote plurality, because they cannot be counted.
Countable Nouns on the other hand, are all those words that have plural forms, thus can be counted. Like Mangoes, Apples, Carrots etc.
Types of Uncountable Nouns
Most uncountable nouns indicate the following:
- Liquids (milk, water etc.)
- Abstract ideas (advice, chaos, motivation.)
- Grains and powder (rice, wheat, sand etc.)
- Mass nouns (furniture, hair, transportation.)
- Natural phenomena (sunshine, snow, rain, weather.)
- States of being (childhood, stress, sleep.)
- Feelings (anger, happiness, enthusiasm, courage.)
- Gas (air, oxygen etc.)
Pronouns and Questioning Adverbs used for Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns and questioning adverbs are crucial in writing because you need to pair them with the correct form of noun. They greatly depend on whether the noun is singular or plural. In case of uncountable nouns here is how you should use them:
- Uncountable Nouns- How much?/This/a lot of/not much.
- Countable Nouns- How many?/These/Many/not many.
In order to express a measure of uncountable noun we use words like:
For clothing: A piece of clothing
For information: A piece of information/some information
For water: A glass of water/a gallon of water.
List of Uncountable Nouns
Here is an exhaustive list of uncountable nouns that will definitely come handy:
|Starts with “A”||Starts with “B”||Starts with “C”|
|Starts with “D”||Starts with “E”||Starts with “F”|
|Starts with “G”||Starts with “H”||Starts with “I”|
|Starts with “J”||Starts with “K”||Starts with “L”|
|Starts with “M”||Starts with “N”||Starts with “O”|
|Starts with “P”||Starts with “Q”||Starts with “R”|
|Starts with “S”||Starts with “T”||Starts with “U”|
|Starts with “V”||Starts with “W”||Starts with “Y”||Starts with “Z”|
IELTS test on how well you are aware of the grammatical nuances rather than just knowing grammar. They also focus more on the parts that are regularly used in speaking and writing.
The concept of countable and uncountable is one such aspect of grammar. Therefore, it is very important that you have a clear understanding of the two and use them correctly in your speaking and writing.