English Articles with Uncountable Nouns
This unit covers articles with uncountable nouns.
Uncountable nouns include concepts, materials, or objects that are generally not quantifiable. Some examples are: comprehension, wood, water, and sunshine. Uncountable nouns cannot be used with indefinite articles. For example, you cannot say, “A water is clear,” BUT you can use the definite article: “The water is clear.”
The chair is made of wood. (not The chair is made of a wood.)
My understanding is that we are meeting at 12 pm. (not An understanding is…)
Uncountable nouns do not need an article if used in a general sense. For example, “Water is necessary for life.” Also, you cannot use a number in front of an uncountable noun, unless talking about units of the noun or inferring them:
I’ll have two bottles of water, please.
We would like three coffees to go.
In the first sentence, the units are bottles, and in the second, “cups” is implied or inferred and understood to be units.
Sometimes, an uncountable noun can be quantified to refer to types of the noun.
I like the meats and cheeses they offer in their charcuterie board.
The various grasses that grow on the high plains are different from those in the South.
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