English Grammar In Focus
Learning English Grammar As A Foreign Language

date: April 6, 2010

CLASSIFICATION OF UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

Belajar Bahasa Inggris Grammar & Conversation Lengkap
On the previous page we have discussed about the definition of Uncountable noun (Herman,2010) and, in this opportunity, we try to classify the uncountable nouns based on the definition.

How do we start to?
Like I told you before that what you have to do before classifying the nouns that are included as Uncountable nouns is to identify all nouns you know.

1.Fluids
Fluids is a group of things which are included as uncountable nouns, such as, water, coffee, tea, soft drink, blood, flood, gasoline, soup, oil, milk, etc. Therefore, you should start from all the things which are included as fluids. When you find something different, separate it and keep it for other classes beside fluids.

2.Solids
Solids is a group of things which are also included as uncountable nouns, such as, ice, bread, butter, cheese, iron, meat, paper, wool, cotton, wood, golf, etc. Everthing will be called solids when the things are in crystal shapes or like solids, e.g. sand, stone, etc.

3.Gases
e.g. stream, air, oxygen, smoke, smog, pollution, etc.
Gases is uncountable because its cahracteristic which can not be touched but feel.

4.Particles
e.g.rice, chalk, dirt, dust, flour, hair, pepper, wheat, etc.
Particle is something small, sometimes soft or smooth to touch and it has too much units to count.

5.Language
e.g.English, Chinese, Indonesian, Arabic, etc.
Language is also uncountable noun because the language represents all symbols, phonology and everything which becomes language's attributes. If we say that language is a countable noun, suffix /-s/ or /-es/ can be added behind the noun and it means that there are many kinds of, say, /Englishes/ in the world. Are you sure for this?

6.Sport
e.g.tennis, soccer, boxing, chess, hockey, volleyball, etc.
Sport is the same as language. It talks about something general to discuss. Whe someone say : "Chess", he or she will understand what the "chess" is. We do and feel the sport, but don't know how to count. In what way?

7.Activities
e.g.Writing, speaking, travelling, studying, driving, etc.
Activity is like the sport above.

8.Abstract things
e.g.confidence, education, teaching, health, honesty, freedom, patience, silence, justice, importance, etc.
Something that we feel and it is not physical thing is also uncountable noun. The abstract thing is impossible to count.

9.Natural Event/Fenomena
e.g.rain, lighting, fire, gravity, wind, darkness, etc.
Natural disaster, for instance, is also uncountable noun and it can be seen but can't imagine how it can be alive. We just predict not make certain when it comes to us.

10.General things
e.g.clothing, equipment, food, fruit, jewelry, garbage, hardware, money, change, furniture, traffic, etc.
When we talk about clothing, we will also say, a dress, jacket, pyjamas, t-shirt, shirt, etc. Those are spesific things of clothing. It means that /clothing/ is general word for those. If we try to count the kinds of clothing, there will be a new thing coming and it is impossible to count. Remember that we just predict not make certain!

SPESIFICATION OF UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

Uncountable noun can be detected by using its determiners.
Here's the details!

1.Uncountable noun does not need the suffix /-s/, /-es/ or everything that characterizes plural nouns. In other words, Uncountable noun doesn't have Plural forms.

2.Uncountable noun is always in singular form.

For examples:

He saw furniture in the showroom.

Take notice that you must not use indefinite articles e.g. /a/ or /an/. Every learners know that both articles are used to indicate that the noun is in singular form but not for Uncountable nouns. Using /a/ or /an/ means using /one/. If there is /one/, there will be /two/, /three/, /four/, etc. So, leave out the indefinite articles! When you use /be/, avoid some plural form of be. Therefore, use /was/ or /is/ instead of /are/ or /were/ and also /am/. /am/ is only for subject /I/ and it is personal not Impersonal pronoun.

3.Adverb of Quantity
There are many kinds of adverb of quantity, Some of them are for Uncountable nouns, such as, little or a little, a lot of, some or any, much, etc.

UNCOUNTABLE NOUN TURNS INTO COUNTABLE NOUNS

The uncountable nouns can be changed into Countable nouns when they are grouped!. To group we need some phrases which can be said as prepositional phrase or noun phrase (depends on one's point of veiws).

For examples:

I drink a cup of tea.

/tea/ is uncountable noun. To make it countable, pick a phrase /a cup of/. This is to group the /tea/ to become one or singular form. Why? Because, if there is /a/ (a cup of), there will be /two/ or /three/, etc.

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