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Grammar For IELTS: Noncount Nouns

Grammar For IELTS: Noncount Nouns

In the previous Grammar For IELTS post, we have learnt about Count Nouns and how to use it correctly. Today’s lesson will cover another form of noun – Noncount Nouns

Noncount Nouns

Nouns that cannot be counted are called noncount or mass nouns. They are used with singular verbs.

Noncount nouns are often liquids or gases.

water air oil oxygen

Noncount nouns often refer to a whole or a mass made up of small particles or items.

sugar salt white sand
new furniture homework good news
equipment money expensive clothing

Noncount nouns are often weather phenomena, fields of study, raw materials, abstractions, or sports and pastimes.

rain economics gold happiness respect soccer
hot weather psychology hard coal luck satisfaction cards

Note: Cards can be a noncount noun meaning a game of cards, or it can be a count noun meaning individual cards.

The following noncount nouns are often mistakenly used as plural count nouns:

  • Incorrect: furnitures/ advices/ homeworks/ equipments/ informations.
  • Correct: furniture/ advice/ homework/ equipment/ information.

Comparing Noncount and Count Nouns

Noncount nouns are like count nouns in certain ways.

Noncount nouns act like singular and plural count nouns.

1. Like singular and plural count nouns, noncount nouns may have certain determiners in front of them, such as the definite article the or the possessive adjectives my and your.

2. Possessive adjectives have the same forms in front of all three types of nouns: singular count nouns, plural count nouns, and noncount nouns.

3. You can use this and that with singular count nouns and noncount nouns; these and those can appear in front of plural count nouns only.

Singular Count Nouns Plural Count Nouns Noncount Nouns
Determiner Example of noun Determiner Example of noun Determiner Example of noun
the car the cars the traffic
an apple apples fruit
my, your vegetable my, your vegetables my, your rice
his, her, its job his, her, its jobs his, her, its work
our, their job our, their jobs our, their work
this, that cat this, that cats

Noncount nouns act like plural count nouns. Like plural count nouns, noncount nouns may be preceded by determiners and certain expressions of quantity, or they may appear alone.

In the chart below, the determiners before plural count nouns and noncount nouns are the same.

Singular Count Nouns Plural Count Nouns Noncount Nouns
Determiner Example of noun Determiner Example of noun Determiner Example of noun
a taxi taxis traffic
the taxi the taxis the traffic
one taxi some taxis some traffic
a lot of taxis a lot of traffic
enough taxis enough traffic
plenty of taxis plenty of  traffic
  • Incorrect: Let’s get taxi.
  • Correct: Let’s get a taxi.

Remember that singular count nouns must have an article or determiner.

  • Some taxis have air conditioning.
  • There aren’t enough taxis in this city.
  • Taxis are more comfortable than buses.
  • There will be some traffic on the highway tonight.
  • There is plenty of traffic on that narrow road.
  • Traffic is always heavy on weekends.

Exercise: Read each sentence and underline the correct choice(s) in parentheses. The first one has been done for you.

Studying for the Law

Henry is studying at Harvard University; he’s going to become (lawyer / a lawyer). (A law / Law) is a difficult subject. It requires (a concentration / a lot of concentration). (A lawyer / Lawyers) study in law school for three years. After law school, the graduates have to take (a difficult examination / difficult examination). (Some graduates / Some graduate) pass this examination, but others don’t. (A little graduates / A few graduates) take the examination a second or even a third time. (Some people / A people) say that there aren’t (enough good lawyer / enough good lawyers). Others say that there aren’t (many good lawyers / many good lawyer). (Some lawyers / A lawyers) feel satisfied with (a work / their work). (This lawyers / These lawyers) have clearly chosen the right profession. At the end of each day, (satisfaction / satisfactions) with one’s work is extremely important.

Hope this post could help you increase your writing also speaking skills in the IELTS Test. Don’t forget to check out our website (ieltsmaterial.com) to find more tips about the IELTS Test.

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Sowmya is a content writer and is passionate about her job. She currently works on editing and writing engaging content for IELTS Material. She also has experience in the Software Testing Industry and has worked with Wipro for five and a half years.

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