Here’s a little preview of a topic from the new and improved Grammar & Punctuation Rules, coming soon to a computer screen near you!
We’re all familiar with counting objects (or nouns). E.g. I have two dogs. Sandra has three cars. Jessie has ten dollars. But uncountable nouns are not a given in every language. Translating between languages that share the concept of uncountable nouns is one thing, but it’s hardly a given if your native language doesn't use uncountable nouns.
Uncountable nouns are not counted in English. This usually has to do with the way English speakers think of these nouns. We often picture these nouns as a single concept or one big thing which is hard to divide. Many of these words are countable in other languages, but they ARE NOT countable in English. Generally, we do not use plural forms of these words; however some of these words do end in "s", so don't get confused. E.g. Mack drinks a lot of water. Cindy gives great advice. Paul enjoys politics (Ends with "s" but uncountable).
Here’s a little hint to help you identify possible uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns tend to belong to one of the following categories:
Liquids and Gases: e.g. water, coffee, air
Solid and Granular Substances: e.g. wood, cheese, sand
Energy Words and Forces: e.g. electricity, sunshine, heat
Subjects: e.g. chemistry, economics, science
Grouped Concepts: e.g. fruit, money, news
Information and Abstract Concepts: e.g. information, advice, education
Can you think of any particularly counter-intuitive ones? Add them here!