Plural uncountable nouns

May 4, 2013pdf

Most uncountable nouns are singular in number. Therefore, we use the singular form of the verb with them.

  • Don’t hurry – there is plenty of time. (NOT There are plenty of time.)
  • Practice makes the man perfect. (NOT Practice make the man perfect.)

Uncountable nouns are often treated as countables if we are talking about different kinds of material, liquid etc.

  • Most washing powders are not very kind to your hands.

Although powder is an uncountable noun, here we are talking about different kinds of the material.

Abstract nouns are usually uncountable. Some abstract nouns can have both countable and uncountable uses. When used with a general meaning, these nouns are usually uncountable. When used with a particular meaning, these nouns are usually countable.

  • We had a nice time when we went to the beach yesterday. (countable)
  • I couldn’t finish the report because I didn’t get enough time. (uncountable)

Plural uncountables

Some uncountable nouns are plural. They have no singular forms with the same meaning, and cannot be used with numbers. Common examples are: groceries, arms, remains, goods, customs, clothes, thanks, regards, police etc.

  • The police are searching for a white man in his twenties.
  • Have you bought the groceries? (NOT Have you bought the grocery?)
  • Many thanks for your help.

Other plural uncountable nouns include trousers, jeans, pyjamas, pants, scissors, spectacles etc.

 

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