Common mistakes in the use of uncountable nouns

June 28, 2014pdf

Read the following sentences.

  • The sceneries here are not good.
  • The scenery here is not good.

Which of the two sentences is the correct one?

The word scenery is uncountable in English. It may be countable in some other languages. However, in English, we can’t say sceneries or a scenery.

As you know, uncountable nouns do not have plural forms and they cannot be used with numbers or the article a/an. And hence the sentence ‘The sceneries here are not good’, isn’t correct.

More examples are given below.

  • Incorrect: They have got lots of furnitures.
  • Correct: They have got lots of furniture.
  • Incorrect: We have received no informations about the accident.
  • Correct: We have received no information about the accident.
  • Incorrect: I heard these news in the morning.
  • Correct: I heard this news in the morning.
  • Incorrect: He asked me to pack my luggages.
  • Correct: He asked me to pack my luggage.

The nouns information, furniture, news, luggage etc., are uncountable.

  • Incorrect: Please excuse the troubles.
  • Correct: Please excuse me for the trouble.

The word trouble is mainly used as an uncountable noun. It doesn’t usually have a plural form.

Also the word excuse should be followed by an indirect object.

However, the plural form troubles can be used to refer to all the problems that a person has. In this case, it is usually preceded by a possessive.

All of us have our troubles and we must find ways to deal with them.

  • Incorrect: He provided the blinds with food.
  • Correct: He provided the blind with food.

The expressions ‘the blind’, ‘the deaf’, ‘the unemployed’, ‘the dead’, ‘the poor’ etc., are plural. ‘The blind’ means all blind people. We can’t say ‘the blinds’ or ‘the deafs’.

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