What are Mass nouns?


Mass nouns are uncountable by a number. Mass nouns are quantified by a word that signifies amount.

A few examples:

  • Materials, food, metals, and natural qualities: bread, cotton, wood, lightness, adolescence
  • Names of liquids, gases, and substances made of many small particles: cappuccino, oil, smoke, oxygen, rice, sugar, salt, cement, gravel
  • Names of languages: English, Spanish, French, Latin, Sanskrit, Chinese
  • Most gerunds: looking, listening, swimming, running, anticipating

Remember that a number can not be used to quantify a mass noun. Incorrect: four woods, one rice, three courages.

To measure or classify mass nouns, use “of” after a measurement: a foot of wood, a pound of rice, an ounce of courage, a bar of chocolate, a piece of music, a bag of money.

Important points to remember while using Mass Nouns:

  • Mass nouns are quantified by an amount rather than a number.
  • They have only one form (singular).
  • They cannot have “a,” “an,” or “one” before them as modifiers.
  • They can use “much” as a modifier.

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