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Business, Communication, Email Writing

Q&A: Uncountable Nouns in Professional Contexts

One of the first grammar lessons in any beginner English class is that nouns can be made plural by adding the “-s” or “-es” suffix.

For the most part, this works well as a general rule. However, there are some pesky uncountable nouns (also known as noncount) that get in the way of this rule, and it just so happens that many business terms are uncountable.

To avoid embarrassing mistakes in your messages, reports, and conversations, make sure to take note of the following:

What are some examples of noncount nouns in professional situations?


Advice
Assistance
Availability
Construction
Data
Energy
Equipment
Evidence
Feedback
Furniture
Glass
Gold
Guidance
Help
Information
Input
Jewelry
Knowledge
Luggage
Maintenance
Money
Pollution
Research
Steel
Stock (when referring to inventory)
Storage
Support
Wood
Work

There are even more that could be listed, but you get the idea…


How can uncountable can be made plural then?

With quantifiers!

There are many quantifiers that can be used to refer to mass nouns in a way that makes their plurality clear. Instead of adding an “s” at the end, consider these grammatical structures:


A little… guidance, help, etc.
A lot of… construction, research, etc.
All the… information, work, etc.
Any… feedback, stock, etc.
Enough… energy, money, etc.
Little… knowledge, evidence, etc.
Lots of… assistance, gold, etc.
Much… input, jewelry, etc.
Pieces of… advice, equipment, etc.
Plenty of… storage, support, etc.
Small/large amounts of… glass, steel, etc.
Some… maintenance, data, etc.
Too much… pollution, luggage, etc.
Types of… furniture, wood, etc.

Are there any specific collocations to know about?


Yes, indeed! Here is a quick list:


Available times
Collective knowledge
Construction work
Data points
Furniture/luggage set
General maintenance
Jewelry collection
Research studies
Sums of money
Sheets of glass
Storage space
Wood planks/boards
Words of advice

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