1.1.3. Uncountable and collective nouns

Posted on 1 مايو 2010 بواسطة

1.1.3. Uncountable and collective nouns
Uncountable nouns 

Any language has nouns identifying materials and abstract concepts that cannot be counted. Uncountable nouns have only one form: either singular, or plural.

English nouns that only have a singular form:
sugar; bread; love; information; advice; knowledge; progress; money.
Pay special attention to singular nouns that are constructed as plurals: news, politics, physics, phonetics, etc. They must always be used with the singular form of a verb: The news was exciting. Physics doesn’t interest me.

English nouns that only have a plural form:
goods; clothes; riches; contents; savings; bowels; whereabouts; surroundings.
To refer to a portion or to many instances of objects designated by uncountable nouns lexical means are used.


They sell many brands of sugar but few other goods. We gathered a great deal of information. She gave me a good piece of advice. He donated a portion of his savings.
Collective nouns

Collective nouns designate groups of animate objects: family, audience, crew, team, group, army, party, crowd, staff, board, herd, flock. In English, a collective noun can be used, without changing its singular form, to refer either to the group as a whole or to individuals comprising the group. As a sentence subject, such a noun agrees with the singular or plural form of a verb, depending on usage.

The team has performed excellent.> The team were talking to reporters. My family is large.> My family are having dinner.

The nouns police, people, and cattle are always used with a verb in plural.