Blame it on the learning process and the social dynamics, many people tend to mix up countable nouns and uncountable nouns in their daily communications. If you frequent social media on a daily basis, you would see many examples of such mix-up.
Here are some examples:
They have a lot of furnitures in their house.
Where are your luggages?
The website doesn’t have enough contents.
You need to understand the context of nouns in order to avoid these mistakes. It will also help you use right quantifiers before the nouns.
Let’s understand the difference between countable nouns and uncountable nouns beyond text book definitions.
Traffic, Water, Feedback, Hair, Content
What is the most common attribute among the above words?
You’re right – we can’t count or quantify these nouns.
For example, we can’t use them in the following ways:
The website doesn’t get many traffics.
A few hairs on your head have grown grey.
In a given context, the word ‘traffic’ is synonymous with ‘visitors’. However, they don’t always carry the same quantifiers before them.
How many visitors does your website get in a month?
How much traffic does your website get in a month?
I used to get a large number of visitors to my site.
I used to get a lot of traffic to my site.
You need to understand the context of new words in order to use them with correct quantifiers. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you look up their meaning and usage in a dictionary.
Once you’re able tell whether a word is countable or uncountable noun, use the following list from Edufind to use the right quantifier:
Quantifiers used only with uncountable nouns:
A little, a bit of, a great deal of, a large amount of.
Quantifiers used with all types of nouns:
No, none, not any, some, any, a lot of, lots of, plenty of.
Quantifiers used only with countable nouns:
A few, a number of, several, a great number of, a large number of.
The Take Away
#1: You can’t make some uncountable nouns plural by adding “s” after them. For example, feedback. You should never say, “feedbacks”. If you want to quantify feedback, say, “some feedback, any feedback, much feedback, lots of feedback”.
#2: You should use correct quantifiers before uncountable nouns for them to make sense. For example, you should never say, “a large amount of feedback, a number of feedback, several feedback, a few feedback”. Say, “lots of feedback, little feedback, no feedback.”