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Mass Nouns

Learners of grammar know that nouns are words that name people, objects and abstract ideas. For instance, words like house, John, insect, happiness etc. are all nouns. Click here for more details on nouns.

Some nouns can be quantified, or counted. These are called countable nouns (e.g.: house – houses; child – children; book – books); others cannot be counted. These are mass nouns or uncountable nouns.

Here are some mass nouns:

Examples:

  • news
  • information
  • furniture
  • stationery
  • equipment
  • baggage
  • jewellery
  • hardware
  • machinery
  • scenery

Mass nouns cannot be pluralised as they are considered as ONE unit.  That means, you cannot add an “-s” or “-ies” at the end of the word. So, it is incorrect to say these:

  1. I need informations about that case immediately. (X)
  2. My parents are going to IKEA to look at a few furnitures. (X)
  3. We took pictures of beautiful sceneries when we were in Paris. (X)
  4. I’m going to the bookstore to get my stationeries. (X)
  5. A few jewelleries were stolen from the goldsmith last night. (X)

Mass nouns should be preceded by “some” or “the” only, and always use singular verbs.

  1. I need some information about that case immediately. (√)
  2. My parents are going to IKEA to look at some furniture. (√)
  3. We took pictures of beautiful scenery when we were in Paris. (√)
  4. I’m going to the bookstore to get my stationery. (√)
  5. The jewellery was (not “were”) stolen from the goldsmith last night. (√)
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