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  1. Member
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    #1

    Uncountable nouns

    Hello,

    When is it possible to use an indefinite article before uncountable nouns? Only when they are defined in some way?
    Music, art, love, happiness
    advice, information, news(It was a good advice/information/news)
    furniture, luggage(an old furniture, a heavy luggage)
    rice, sugar, butter, water( a/one rice on my plate,)
    electricity, gas, power( a dangerous gas)
    money, currency

    Thanks

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    You cannot normally have an indefinite article before these words: advice, information, news, furniture, luggage, money. You need to have a piece/bit of advice, etc, an item of furniture.

    If you have an indefinite article before these nouns, you normally mean a type/variety/brand/serving of:
    rice, sugar, butter, water; music, art, happiness, electricity, love.

    gas, power
    and currency are frequently used countably.

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    #3

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    'gas, power and currency are frequently used countably.'

    But if they are uncountable why are they used countably?


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    #4

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    'gas, power and currency are frequently used countably.'

    But if they are uncountable why are they used countably?

    Because they can mean things that are countable:

    gas as gasoline and helium as a gas;
    power as control and power as a mathematical term;
    currency as the state of being current and currency as dollars

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    #5

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    I was confused, because my dictionary says that gas is uncountable/uncountable, helium is uncountable, power-sometimes countanble and sometimes uncountable and currency can be countable and can be uncountable, power-countable/uncountable.

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    #6

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    I was confused, because my dictionary says that gas is uncountable/uncountable, helium is uncountable, power-sometimes countanble and sometimes uncountable and currency can be countable and can be uncountable, power-countable/uncountable.
    As you can see, English is a VERY complex language. When it comes to countable/uncountable nouns, you're better off consulting a very good dictionary that has this issue covered comprehensively.
    Last edited by Bennevis; 08-Sep-2012 at 12:33.

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    #7

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    NOT A TEACHER

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    I was confused, because my dictionary says that gas is uncountable/uncountable, helium is uncountable, power-sometimes countanble and sometimes uncountable and currency can be countable and can be uncountable, power-countable/uncountable.
    Think about it, does "heliums" make sense? Hydrogens? What would "heliums" be?

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    #8

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    There are many different gases, oxygen, helium, argon, propane etcetera.
    A government, for example, has many powers.
    There are almost as many currencies in the world as there are countries.

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    #9

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    'gas, power and currency are frequently used countably.'

    But if they are uncountable why are they used countably?
    There is no such thing as a countable or uncountable noun. The words 'countable' and 'uncountable' are used by writers on English as a useful shorthand to help learners understand when they can, for example, use or not use the indefinite article in certain contexts.

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    #10

    Re: Uncountable nouns

    Some nouns are strictly countable, some are strictly uncountable, and some could be both countable and uncountable.

    Follow this link and download this file - it has everything you need:

    http://www.englishgrammarexpress.com...countables.pdf

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