How To Teach English Grammar – Teaching Different Types of Nouns – Part 2: Uncountable Nouns

Hello and welcome to How to Teach English Grammar . com! My name is Shannon and you are watching Video 2 of a 4-part series – Teaching Different Types of Nouns. Thank you for joining me.

The second type of noun you and your students need to know about is an uncountable noun. An example is ‘money’. This is a noun which has only one form (no plural). It is not used with a/an or numbers. We can’t say ‘a money’, ‘one money’ or ‘two moneys’. It is used with a singular verb. We say: “His money is spent” (not are).

Uncountable nouns often fall into one of the following categories:

  • substance (air, wood, water, gold)
  • feeling (love, happiness, fear)
  • quality/characteristic (patience, strength, beauty, kindness)
  • activity (soccer, karate, chess)
  • idea (democracy, freedom, peace)

Here are some common errors that students make in using uncountable nouns:

I need some informations.

I have a new work.

I don’t have many luggages.

I bought a milk.

If you understand the rules about how uncountable nouns are used, you’ll be able to correct such errors and explain to students why these sentences are incorrect.

Let’s try the examples on the board [above]. If we point out to the student that ‘information’ is an uncountable noun, and if he knows that an uncountable noun has no plural form, he’ll be able to correct it himself by dropping the ‘s’.

In the second example, if we point out that ‘work’ is an uncountable noun and the student knows that uncountable nouns cannot be used with ‘a’, he will replace ‘work’ with a countable noun – ‘job’ – to refer to a specific work assignment or a position in a company.

 In the third example, you would have to make the student aware not only that ‘luggage’ is an uncountable noun (so we drop the ‘s’) but also that we do not use ‘many’ with uncountable nouns. The correct word to use here (in a negative statement) is ‘much’. If we make the sentence positive, it becomes: “I have a lot of luggage.”

In the fourth example, you would have to explain that we can’t count milk but we can count bottles of milk.

That’s all I need to tell you about uncountable nouns. I hope you’ve learnt something you can use in the classroom.

Look out for the next 2 videos in this 4 part series, “Teaching Different Types of Nouns”. These will be posted over the next few weeks on www.howtoteachenglishgrammar.com.

Do share the link with your friends and post your comments and questions. Let me know if this video was helpful and what you would like me to cover in future videos. I’m Shannon. Thank you for joining me.