There's this funny thing about the English language. Why can we say "I have many things to do," but it's wrong to say "I have many advices to give you". Well, it's because "thing" is a count noun, and "advice" is a non-count noun, that's why! Here's what the rules say about non-count nouns: (1) Non-count nouns don't have a plural form. (2)Also, non-count nouns take a singular verb.
1. To non-count nouns belong:
anger, beauty, fun, luck, pollution, poverty, stupidity, etc.
bread, dust, gasoline, gold, ink, meat, paper, water, etc.
air, oxygen, smoke, etc.
electricity, fire, lighting, rain, thunder, etc.
baseball, chess, jogging, swimming, travel, work, etc.
advice, equipment, food, furniture, homework, information, jewelry, knowledge, luggage, poetry, traffic, etc.
2. Non-count nouns don't have a plural form.
He's a got a lot of advice/fun/furniture. (so: NOT advices!)
We need more patience/money.
N.B See point 7 below.
3. Non-count nouns take a singular verb.
Sleep/Knowledge is important.
Death usually comes unexpectedly.
4. Some non-count nouns look like plural count nouns because they end in "-s", but they still take a singular verb.
Physics/mathematics is what we're going to talk about. (NOT mathematics are!)
Measles spreads quickly.
News travels fast.
5. Non-count nouns aren't used with "a". They are used with "the" or with a possessive construction when they refer to a spesific or known thing.
The air that we breathe is polluted.
He was saddened by her selfishness.
The child's imagination is remarkable.
6. Non-count nouns can be used with words like all, any, enough, little, much, no, some.
They received little appreciation.
There's enough food for everyone.
7. Some non-count nouns can be used in their plural form with a different meaning
Tea: "Waiter two iced-teas, please". (two glasses/cups etc of iced-tea)
Water: And all the waters on the earth ran dry. (waters = seas, oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.)
Gas: Oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen are gases. (Non-count gas is also short for gasoline.)
Time: I saw the movie three times.
8. To indicate a quantity of a noun-count noun, certain expressions can be used.
Ice cream: There are two cups of ice cream in the fridge.
Gas (gasoline): I need four gallons of gas.
Furniture: That's a good piece of furniture.
Bread: Give me three loaves of bread.
Source: C'nS Magz
posted by : rancitra :)