: Business Grammar Builder. : (.. .. )


: 3913

Unit 27 countable and uncountable nouns


 Countable nouns A


 A countable noun has a singular and a plural form. We can use numbers with it. one bank - three banks one solution - two solutions


 Uncountable nouns B


 An uncountable noun only has one form. We cannot use numbers with it. With OPEC cutting oil production and demand still outpacing supply, it would seem oil prices have nowhere to go but up. (Yahoo Business News website)


 Here are more examples: substances, materials - water, rice, air, oil, coffee, money, steel, electricity, food, abstract ideas - life, fun, freedom, progress, health, time, trouble, activities - work, travel, sleep, football, help, music, research, human qualities/feelings - honesty, patience, sadness, hope, respect, courage


 The following nouns are uncountable in English, although they may be countable in other languages: accommodation, advice, baggage, behaviour, business, cash, English (language), equipment, furniture, health, homework, information, knowledge, luggage, machinery, money, permission, rubbish, scenery, traffic, travel, weather, work


 A few uncountable nouns end in -s: athletics, diabetes, economics, gymnastics, measles, news, politics


 Uncountable nouns cannot be counted directly. However, we can count them using phrases like a piece of, a bit of, an item of, a cup of, a glass of, a bottle of, a kilo of, a barrel of, etc.

a piece/two pieces of advice a bit/two bits of information


 Singular or plural? C


 Countable nouns can be singular or plural. The new model is a big improvement.

The new models are a big improvement. Uncountable nouns are always singular.

The new equipment is a big improvement.



Please note that we have brought forward the date of our next meeting to June 23rd.(=to change the time of an event so that it happens earlier than was arranged)


 Some singular nouns can be followed by either a singular verb or a plural verb.

The company is/are doing very well at the moment. It depends whether we think of the group as a whole (singular verb), or its individual members (plural verb). Examples are: army, audience, board, committee, company, data, family, government, group, management, media, press, public, staff, team, union

 Some nouns only have a plural form and take a plural verb. Examples are: clothes, contents, earnings, expenses, feelings, goods, jeans, police, remains, scissors, surroundings, trousers.


 Alan, some, a lot of, any, many, much, few, little D


Countables/Count nouns

Uncountables/non-count nouns

a, the


some (affirmative sentences)


any ( negative sentences and questions)


this, that, these , those many

a lot of / lots of



a great number of


a few (=some but not much)


(very) few (not enough)


fewer .. than more .. than



some ( affirmative sentences )


any ( negative sentences and questions)


this, that much

a lot of / lots of


a large amount of


a little (=some but not much)


(very) little (not enough)


less .. than more .. than



 Specific and general meanings E


 Some nouns can be either countable or uncountable. The countable form has a specific meaning, and the uncountable form has a general meaning. The machine is making a strange noise. Noise inside factories can be a problem.

This is a new business. Business is going well at the moment. There aren't

many spaces in the car park. There isn't much space in my office.


a coffee (a cup of coffee) coffee (the substance)

a paper (a newspaper, conference paper) paper (the material)

a glass (for drinking) glass (the material)





Exercise1 (A, B, C, D)

Underline the correct words.


1 How much/How many pages are there on your website?

2 Is/Are there many/much banks with a head office in Geneva?

3 Is/Are there many/much traffic in Geneva?

4 How much/How many information have we got about this company?

5 Where is/are the goods we ordered?

6 There is/are some people waiting for you in reception.

7 We bought some new equipment/equipments last month.

8 We bought some new machine/machines last month.

9 This is an equipment/a piece of equipment that controls the speed of rotation.

10 This is a machine la piece of machine that controls the speed of rotation.

11 He gave me an/some advice which was/were really useful.

12 I'm afraid we haven't got much/many time.

13 The news is/are on at nine. There may be an/some information about Davos.

14 We have some/any blue ones in stock, but we don't have some/any red ones.

15 You can choose some/any colour you want.


Exercise 2 (A, D)

Complete the sentences with the word a, an, some, much or many.


1 That's ..... good idea.

2 Well, that's ..... progress, I suppose.

3 We do some business in Poland, but not ..... .

4 We have a few customers in Poland, but not ..... .

5 I'd like to make ..... inquiry about training courses you offer at your college.

6 Can I have ..... information about trains to Paris?

7 I'll see you in an hour. I don't have ..... more emails to write.

8 I'll see you in an hour. I don't have ..... more work to do.

9 Do you have ..... trouble with the unions in your factory?

10 Do you have ..... difficulties with the unions in your factory?

11 I need to claim ..... expenses for my trip last month.

12 We didn't study ..... economics at university, just a little.




We rang up our supplier to chase the order.(=to phone someone)


Exercise 3 (A, B, C, D, E)


Underline the correct words in this dialogue.


ANGELA: Jack, have you got (1) a/some moment for a chat?

JACK: Of course, go ahead. Now's a good time.

ANGELA: There (2) is /are (3) an /some important work that we need to do over the next few months. It should be (4) an /some interesting job, and I think you're the best (5) person /people to do it.

JACK: Oh, really?

ANGELA: Yes/Well,(6) an / a piece of empty land has come onto the market on the other side of town

JACK: Uh, huh ..... .

ANGELA: And, as you know, we havent got (7) many /much space at our present site. Well, we think its (8) an /some ideal opportunity to expand.

JACK: Yeah. We don't have much room here.

ANGELA: Well, we're thinking about building completely new offices. We'd like you to do (9) a/some research on the whole idea, and then write (10) a/some report on whether to go ahead or not. Are you interested?

JACK: Well, I haven't got (11) much /many experience of this kind of thing. I..... ANGELA: I know, but there really isn't anyone else here who is suitable.

JACK: Oh ..... .

ANGELA: And we need to make (12) a progress /progress on this as quickly as possible. We're taking on fifteen new people in March.

JACK: Um, right, but there (13) is /are (14) many / a lot of (15) information /

informations to collect. I ..... .

ANGELA: Well, with this new responsibility we might consider reviewing your salary.

JACK: Well, OK, it sounds like (16) an /a interesting challenge. I'll do it.




Weve ran out of the components we need to repair the car.(=if you run out of something, you have no more of it left because you have used all of it)


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