But what about the others? In terms of the mass/count distinction, committee behaves like a count noun. y water, milk, wood, furniture, information, etc.). Mass and count nouns 1. Sign up or log in to Magoosh Professional Writing. An expression P has cumulative reference if and only if[1][2] for any X and Y: ∀ Uncountable nouns also known as 'mass noun.' The plural of cat was easily formed by adding s, and the number three told us how many. In languages that have a partitive case, the distinction is explicit and mandatory. Write sentences using determiners with mass and count nouns. Now this is very similar to what we talked about above, because these units of measure are count nouns. X The related sentence join veden, "I drank (the) water", using the accusative case instead, assumes that there was a specific countable portion of water that was completely drunk. Thanks! For instance, while clothing certainly can be seen and touched, it’s a bit more nebulous than say, shirt, skirt, or tie. It isn't cumulative, either: the sum of two separate committees isn't necessarily a committee. In its most simple form, you can think about count nouns as more concrete nouns – and of course, nouns that can be counted. ; There was a lot of people in the concert. Uncountable nouns are nouns that come in a state or quantity that is impossible to count; liquids are uncountable, as are things that act like liquids (sand, air). Can we add a number and an s to make this plural, like 7 admirations? . coin/coins). Mass Nouns. All Rights Reserved. So are the nouns car and dog. 10, D. Nicolas (2008) Mass nouns and plural logic. Mass nouns can fall into one of several categories. Because clothing is a category under which shirt, skirt, and tie fall. (Incorrect even if just one fork is on the table). The actual number is not necessary, but it is more specific. A mass noun (or uncountable noun) is noun for something that is indivisible into countable units. Given that different languages have different grammatical features, the actual test for which nouns are mass nouns may vary between languages. There has been a lot of research into the causes of this disease. [ He did not have much sugar left. [citation needed]. However, this may confuse syntax and semantics, by presupposing that words which denote substances are mass nouns by default. Cross-linguistic variation 6.1. Collective nouns are names for a collection or a number of people or things. (quantifier) That piece of furniture is beautiful. A mass: work, homework, equipment, money, transportation, jewelry, clothing, traffic, luggage (Yep. [ How much rice did you buy? Mass nouns have no concept of singular and plural, although in English they take singular verb forms. ⇒ There is often confusion about the two different concepts of collective noun and mass noun. Definition of Quantifiers: A quantifier is a word used before a noun to describe its quantity.. Troupe of yellow howler monkeys are feeding. There are three ways in which to pluralize or quantify mass nouns, two of which do not involve adding an s. Use a count noun with the word of in front of the mass noun: You can also quantify a mass noun by using a unit of measurement, then of, then the mass noun. There is actually a way to use the plural of a mass noun with the addition of the letter s, but it really happens most frequently in the food and liquids category. Mass nouns are quantified by a word that signifies amount. What did you notice? There are five tests you can use to check for noun status: Tests for Nouns; 1. Examples: Mass: Soda Count: Pint of soda. ) This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 05:10. Mass: Coffee Count: Two cups of coffee Mass: Sand Count: Five sacks of sand. Three cats crossed in front of Sherry’s car. Thus, these nouns do not have separate … We have to use words like - a glass of milk, a jar of sugar, a jug of water or a bottle of jam. © 2020 Professional Writing. Based on Oxford, this refers to nouns that cannot be counter. We cannot count certain things in numbers such as milk, rain, sugar, water, jam. ] Non-count nouns are distinguished from count nouns. ) Jack seems to be a member of a gang. Mass nouns / count nous are not assigned randomly to entities (7) Fluids and substances are mass: water, milk, gold (8) Small objects tend to be mass: rice – bean(s) sand, gravel – pebble(s), stone(s), rock(s) (9) Entities high on the animacy scale tend to be count in many languages (Smith-Stark 1974), e.g. “one house,” “two houses;” or “one deer,” “two deer” are called “count nouns.” The plural forms of the these nouns are usually made by adding an “s” to the singular forms. It is a grammatical concept we know… well, just because we know it. "Tesco to ditch 'ten items or less' sign after good grammar campaign", https://www.scribd.com/doc/53696109/0080965008-Concise-Encyclopedia-of-Philosophy-of-Language, Semantic Archives: Mass nouns, count nouns and non-count nouns, F.J. Pelletier L.K. ∧ C And when writing professionally in any form, be it a cover letter for a job application, or a thesis paper for class, we really don’t want to look stupid. x ∧ Fake mass nouns 6.2. Examples. Examples of Quantifiers: I saw few people in the program. (e.g., "I'm cooking chicken tonight" or "This coat is made of fox.") Hence, house and man have quantized reference. Here, you are not just talking about cheese, the noun. Mass nouns use measure word s like pieces of to make plurals. [ (type / kind reading). Example sentences for mass noun: We had rice for dinner. Classifier languages: a sketch. You want to build a bookshelf so you buy eight boards made of wood. For example, 4 intelligences? There are four possible cases for mass nouns in regular object sentences. As many have noted, it is possible to provide an alternative analysis, by which mass nouns and plural count nouns are assigned a similar semantics, as distinct from that of singular count nouns.[4]. , is called a countable noun. U (Note that these all have plural forms, e.g., "ants," "beavers," "cats.") I hope that this helped you to get an idea of what these types of nouns are and how to use them. y Some words, including "mathematics" and "physics", have developed true mass-noun senses despite having grown from count-noun roots. And if they know it and see that you don’t – well, that’s just not something we want, is it? Think about it for just a second before reading on. ) Nominal reference, temporal constitution and quantification in event semantics. In, Brendan S. Gillon (1992) Towards a common semantics for English count and mass nouns. Therefore, it is a mass noun. Some expressions are neither quantized nor cumulative. y Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors. (amount words) The contrasting term is known as a count noun. X The actual number is not necessary, but it is more specific. But it is meant to give you an idea of which types of nouns are mass nouns. So, book, villages, dwarfs, apostles, men and countries are Count Nouns. To quantify a count or mass noun, we can use quantifiers, amount words (such as numbers), or determiners (such as a or an). Here are some examples of countable nouns: ant, beaver, cat, dodo, earwig, fence, gannet, horse, inkwell. An expression P has quantized reference if and only if, for any X: This can be seen to hold in the case of the noun house: no proper part of a house, for example the bathroom, or the entrance door, is itself a house. Theory and practise of English grammar. Become a better writer. ∀ Numbers 5.2. If, instead, we had chosen to characterize count nouns as quantized nouns, and mass nouns as non-quantized ones, then we would (incorrectly) be led to expect committee to be a mass noun. A few examples… How to Use an Objective Tone in Your Writing: 6 Tips You Should Know, How to Write a Rhetorical Argument in 6 Steps, Sales Copywriting: 3 Tips to Anticipate Buyer Concerns, A simple number can tell you how many there are, Words that indicate amount can quantify them. A quantifier is a word that comes before the noun and indicates the quantity or amount being referred to. All abstract nouns are mass nouns, but not all mass nouns are abstract. Has a noun making vocabulary element: creation: 2. Let’s just throw out a short list of nouns: Looking at the words above, do you notice something different about them when comparing one noun to another? So, in order to know what a mass noun is, let’s start from the top! Examples include divisible count nouns like "rope", "string", "stone", "tile", etc.[4]. As I said at the beginning, we all probably know much of this instinctively. According to many accounts, nouns do not have a lexical specification for mass-count status, and instead are specified as such only when used in a sentence. p ( But there's also a group of nouns that can't be counted. Here are a few general rules for count nouns (to which there are always exceptions). Now, can we simply add an s to intelligence to make it plural? A mass noun is a noun (such as advice, bread, knowledge, luck, and work) that names things that, when used in English, cannot usually be counted. But there are many exceptions: the mass/count distinction is a property of the terms, not their referents. Schubert (2001) Mass Expressions in D. Gabbay & F. Guenthner (eds) Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Vol. MASS NOUNS. Can you give me some information about uncountable nouns? Such nouns … Probably that some of these nouns are more concrete than others. Mass nouns, such as qualities and substances (e.g., kerosene, anger, peace), are not spoken of in terms of individual units. Though these nouns can be measured, they cannot be counted. When mass nouns function as objects, you will use the partitive case, the genetive case, the T-plural or the partitive plural. Therefore, while clothing is not an abstract noun, it is a mass noun. We have no idea which cat, just some random cat. X Each chapter covers 5 topics. ( [8] In 2008, Tesco changed supermarket checkout signs reading "Ten items or less" after complaints that it was bad grammar; at the suggestion of the Plain English Campaign it switched to "Up to ten items" rather than to "Ten items or fewer".[9]. The expression "chairs", however, does, suggesting that the generalization is not actually specific to the mass-count distinction. Tsoulas, George (2006). y This happens when you are talking about categories of nouns, in this case foods. x Understanding elasticity 5.4. It is a tangible item that we can see and feel. Know what is Uncountable Noun (Mass Noun), Definition, Examples, Exercises and Rules to be followed while using Uncountable Noun. x Why? x Thus the nouns "cutlery" and "water" have cumulative reference, while the expression "a chair" does not. Notice again that this is probably not a fact about mass-count syntax, but about prototypical examples, since many singular count nouns have referents whose proper parts can be described by the same term. When we know grammatical concepts instinctively – or think we know them instinctively – we often mess up. 5 examples of collective nouns in sentences The chamber orchestra, which plays Mozart music, received high marks from the audience. However, suppletive use of less and least with count nouns is common in many contexts, some of which attract criticism as nonstandard or low-prestige. "Wood" is a mass noun, so it is incorrect to say you have "eight woods," but you can say you have eight pieces of wood. Objectives Identify mass and count nouns. However, the term "collective noun" is often used to mean "mass noun" (even in some dictionaries), because users conflate two different kinds of verb number invariability: (a) that seen with mass nouns such as "water" or "furniture", with which only singular verb forms are used because the constituent matter is grammatically nondiscrete (although it may ["water"] or may not ["furniture"] be etically nondiscrete); and (b) that seen with collective nouns, which is the result of the metonymical shift between the group and its (both grammatically and etically) discrete constituents. We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can! = (e.g. Other examples of countable nouns include house, idea, hand, car, flower, and paper. However, as noted above, such a characterization fails to explain many central phenomena of the mass-count distinction. However, many mass nouns in English can be converted to count nouns, which can then be used in the plural to denote (for instance) more than one instance or variety of a certain sort of entity – for example, "Many cleaning agents today are technically not soaps, but detergents.". ) Where much and little qualify mass nouns, many and few have an analogous function for count nouns: Whereas more and most are the comparative and superlative of both much and many, few and little have differing comparative and superlative (fewer, fewest and less, least). Explanations along with many examples of how to use nouns in English. The book has 269 pages in it. ] For example, in Finnish, join vettä, "I drank (some) water", the word vesi, "water", is in the partitive case. Anything that cannot be counted is an uncountable noun. Plurality of mass nouns and the grammar of number. We can use terms like - a little, plenty or a bowl of with uncountable nouns. Correct: Spanish cutlery is my favorite. An indefinite article (a) was used. However, both mass and count nouns can be quantified in relative terms without unit specification (e.g., "so much water", "so many chairs"). To take this idea another step further, there are count nouns and mass nouns (also called non-count nouns). Nouns in English grammar can be countable or uncountable. Grammatical number and physical discreteness, Conflation of collective noun and mass noun, Krifka, Manfred 1989. Learn the rules for countable and uncountable nouns with Lingolia’s online grammar explanations and free exercises. ∧ ; I have written articles on several ; Jeff went to many places regarding this project. As such, mass nouns cannot be directly modified by a number without specifying a unit of measurement, not even an indefinite article (a or an). three wise men, five BRICS countries.) Singular vs. plural marking 6. There are concrete nouns, and abstract nouns. [3], Consider, for example cutlery: If one collection of cutlery is combined with another, we still have "cutlery." Ball is a concrete noun. $${\displaystyle \forall X\subseteq U_{p}[\mathrm {CUM} _{p}(X)\Leftrightarrow \exists x,y[X(x)\,\wedge \,X(y)\,\wedge \,\neg (x=y)]\;\wedge \;\forall x,y[X(x)\,\wedge \,X(y)\Rightarrow X(x\,\oplus \,y)]… If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Generally, collective nouns are not mass nouns, but rather are a special subset of count nouns. If you tried, it would look like this: Four water, six cold, five walking, eight rain. ( Count nouns in the singular can follow an indefinite article (or another determiner): a plate, a bag, one diamond. Uncountable Nouns. 1980. Some quantifiers are specific to mass nouns (e.g., an amount of) or count nouns (e.g., a number of, every). In English (and in many other languages), there is a tendency for nouns referring to liquids (water, juice), powders (sugar, sand), or substances (metal, wood) to be used in mass syntax, and for nouns referring to objects or people to be count nouns. X offers professional writing lesson videos for all levels of writers! Find out more here. X (Incorrect even if a catastrophe is considered), Incorrect: *There is a cutlery on the table. ; Lisa has much knowledge about this topic. Even though uncountable nouns are not individual objects, they are always singular and one must always use singular verbs in conjunction with uncountable nouns. X Uncountable Noun Examples. Have you heard of mass nouns? ∃ Quantities 5.3. Again, obviously not. It’s not something that I recall ever having been taught, not even as an English major in college. ] What are Mass Nouns - English Grammar lesson Mass nouns are uncountable by a number. Examples of this include collective nouns like committee. Hence this expression isn't quantized. U A mass noun (also known as a noncount noun) is generally used only in the singular. Abstract ideas like creativity or courage are also uncountable. Language, 56(3):41-67. Linguistics and Philosophy 31.2, pp.211–244, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mass_noun&oldid=991086514, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Incorrect: *There is house on the road. A committee may well contain a proper part which is itself a committee. A mass noun (also known as a noncount noun) is generally used only in the singular. Concepts: Independence, poetry, privacy, satisfaction, oppression, justice, equality, Liquids, gases, and things made of small particles: Water, coffee, beer, soda, milk, juice, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, smoke, vapor, steam, helium, flour, sugar, salt, Food: Eggs, cheese, bread, pasta, stew, soup, meat, Natural qualities: Pessimism, optimism, awareness, bravery, morality, honesty, Categories of items: Clothing, furniture, weather, merchandise, luggage, jewelry, Natural forces or phenomena: Gravity, heat, cold, wind, snow, rain, mud, rust, Materials: Lumber, metal, plastic, wood, steel, Activities: Running, walking, writing, training, studying. This is straight out of grammar 101, so no problem, right? ; Alice had some fruits only. money). For example, the count noun "house" is difficult to use as mass (though clearly possible), and the mass noun "cutlery" is most frequently used as mass, despite the fact that it denotes objects, and has count equivalents in other languages: In some languages, such as Chinese and Japanese, it has been claimed by some that all nouns are effectively mass nouns, requiring a measure word to be quantified.[7]. Measure 1 cup of water, 300g of flour, and … ; Jack has many friends here. Mass: Sugar Count: Three packs of sugar. We already know that a noun is a person, place, or thing. Sample lexical entries. Others can be used with both types (e.g., a lot of, some). ( Some have different senses as mass and count nouns: paper is a mass noun as a material (three reams of paper, one sheet of paper), but a count noun as a unit of writing ("the students passed in their papers"). And NOT with mass nouns; Examples of Count Nouns. Because that potential boss or college professor likely knows the rule. A cat crossed in front of Sherry’s car. An indefinite article (a / an) or a number can be used before a count noun (a house, an owl, two cups). p They are more abstract than dog, etc. 7. Read more about the term "plural" and forming plurals . In a sense, a mass noun cannot be counted. ⊕ {\displaystyle \forall X\subseteq U_{p}[\mathrm {CUM} _{p}(X)\Leftrightarrow \exists x,y[X(x)\,\wedge \,X(y)\,\wedge \,\neg (x=y)]\;\wedge \;\forall x,y[X(x)\,\wedge \,X(y)\Rightarrow X(x\,\oplus \,y)]]}, which may be read as: X is cumulative if there exists at least one pair x,y, where x and y are distinct, and both have the property X, and if for all possible pairs x and y fitting that description, X is a property of the sum of x and y. Countable nouns refer to individual things and we can use them in singular or plural (e.g. [8] This criticism dates back to at least 1770; the usage dates back to Old English. Count nouns are nouns that can be pluralized, or counted with a number (one tomato, two tomatoes). Let’s look at some examples of proper nouns: Christmas; Frank Sinatra; Seattle; If you aren’t sure if a word is a noun, there are some tests you can do to check whether a word’s part of speech. Mass nouns examples. The work of logicians like Godehard Link and Manfred Krifka established that the mass/count distinction can be given a precise, mathematical definition in terms of quantization and cumulativity. ¬ ⇔ For example, the same set of chairs can be referred to as "seven chairs" (count) and as "furniture" (mass); the Middle English mass noun pease has become the count noun pea by morphological reanalysis; "vegetables" are a plural count form, while the British English slang synonym "veg" is a mass noun. A mass noun is a person, place, or thing that do not have a plural form. Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! Hence cutlery does not have quantized reference. The same is true of the wines. The names of animals, such as "chicken", "fox" or "lamb" are count when referring to the animals themselves, but are mass when referring to their meat, fur, or other substances produced by them. However, collections of cutlery do have proper parts that can themselves be described as cutlery. Use detergent, and like count nouns when they refer to types or brands of substance, e.g. Can make it plural: creations: 3. Clearly, that doesn’t make any sense. A noun which can be counted in cardinal numbers (1, 2, 3 . x Thus, the mass noun "water" is quantified as "20 litres of water" while the count noun "chair" is quantified as "20 chairs". These mass nouns (which are sometimes called noncount nouns) usually have only singular forms— spaghetti, rice, and gold, for example. Many abstract nouns are uncountable, but not all uncountable nouns are abstract. [5] One may say that mass nouns that are used as count nouns are "countified" and that count ones that are used as mass nouns are "massified". 5. Non-count nouns generally fall into these categories. Mass nouns have the same grammatical behaviour as Variable nouns see Section 3.In the Collins Cobuild English Dictionary, mass nouns are … ( When we’re just eating some of a substance (like … That noun will also be a count noun. By some accounts, these examples are taken to indicate that the best characterization of mass nouns is that they are cumulative nouns. ) M (no determiner) He has some furniture. What the exercise above was meant to do was get you thinking about how nouns can be very different from one another. "Mass Nouns, Count Nouns and Non-Count Nouns: Philosophical Aspects". Richard Nordquist. Uncountable nouns refer to things that are a whole or a mass and can’t be counted (e.g. Use a strong detergent; More detergents are now available. However, knowing why we do things the way we do can be very helpful in avoiding mistakes in the future. In linguistics, a mass noun, uncountable noun, or non-count noun is a noun with the syntactic property that any quantity of it is treated as an undifferentiated unit, rather than as something with discrete elements. Prepared by: Shirley Puaso-Valera Grade -1 SY 2015-2016 Countable nouns Things I can count Three oranges Two oranges 2. Likewise, mass or non-count nouns are those that are either more abstract, or simply not easily quantifiable – at least not without the assistance of quantifying nouns coupled with numbers. [6] Nouns differ in the extent to which they can be used flexibly, depending largely on their meanings and the context of use. Updated May 30, 2019. Count and mass nouns Nouns can typically be divided into two categories: COUNT and MASS nouns. X Use the determiners this is, that is, these are, those are with mass and count nouns correctly. Many English nouns can be used in either mass or count syntax, and in these cases, they take on cumulative reference when used as mass nouns. Nouns that cannot be counted are called uncountable nouns. For example, one may say that "there's apple in this sauce," and then apple has cumulative reference, and, hence, is used as a mass noun. Conversely, "fire" is frequently used as a mass noun, but "a fire" refers to a discrete entity. These are names of uncountable things...of things we look upon as one big mass (e.g. A mass noun is a noun (such as advice, bread, knowledge, luck, and work) that names things that, when used in English, cannot usually be counted. Substance terms like "water" which are frequently used as mass nouns, can be used as count nouns to denote arbitrary units of a substance ("Two waters, please") or of several types/varieties ("waters of the world"). He has a lot of courage. ∧ But I wanted to mention that units of measure work in some instances. Laycock, Henry (2010). , Mass nouns contrast with countable nouns, which can be pluralized. ( Comparisons and conclusions 7.1.Some alternatives 7.2. Keith Allan. ⊆ y Nouns come in many different shapes and sizes—do you know them all? .) Mass Nouns. The mass/count distinction in number marking languages 5.1. Examples. x A mass noun is something that most of us who learned English as our first language take for granted. An indefinite article (a) was used. Nouns and Countability. P.S. ) ( Mass nouns (also called uncountable nouns or non-count nouns) are nouns that cannot be pluralized. Obviously not, because intelligence is abstract and not easily quantifiable. This noun is also a mass noun. The plural of cat was easily formed by adding s, and the number three told us how many. Below is a list of a mass noun examples. Obviously, this is NOT an exhaustive list! (determiner) They know French. Awareness, intelligence, admiration, and wisdom are not tangible. Nouns that are countable (e.g. y Always remember that you cannot use a number to quantify mass nouns. He gave me a great deal of advice before my interview. To quantify a mass noun, we need to use quantifiers, amount words, or determiners. Correct: You got a lot of house for your money since the recession. In English, mass nouns are characterized by the fact that they cannot be directly modified by a numeral without specifying a unit of measurement, and that they cannot combine with an indefinite article (a or an). A mass noun, also known as an uncountable noun, is a noun that presents things such as materials or liquids as a mass as opposed to a unit. But if a chair is added to another, we don't have "a chair," but rather two chairs. Mass nouns Mass nouns are nouns which behave like uncount nouns when they refer to a substance, e.g. You are talking about an entire category of cheeses. Similarly, if water is added to water, we still have "water." We have no idea which cat, just some random cat. I said it.). To give you an idea of what these are, I’ve compiled a list. Similarly, no proper part of a man, say his index finger, or his knee, can be described as a man. ) Concluding remarks 1. Thesaurus.com breaks down the 10 types of nouns you need to know. It has 39 chapters in it. The mass noun is the opposite of the count nouns. Examples of Countable Noun: I bought a book of neurology. Some nouns can be used indifferently as mass or count nouns, e.g., three cabbages or three heads of cabbage; three ropes or three lengths of rope. Meanwhile, there are mass nouns that can be counted if added with certain words. On such accounts, count nouns should then be characterized as non-cumulative nouns: this characterization correctly groups committee together with the count nouns. Linguistics and Philosophy 15: 597–639.

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