This is the third of three High English quizzes on the subject of subject and verb agreement of singular, plural and uncountable nouns, focussing particularly on the uncountable variety.
The nuts and bolts of the English language are the different parts of speech. Of these, the verb and the noun are two of the most essential parts. A sentence, which is the basic component of English, would not be a sentence without the presence of a noun and a verb. Nouns are categorised into various types and two of theses are countable (singular and plural) and uncountable nouns.
Countable nouns are those that can be counted, such as apples. One apple would be singular and any other number of apples would be plural. Uncountable nouns, on the other hand, are those that cannot be counted in the normal sense. For instance, liquids come under uncountable nouns - we do not use the phrase ‘two milk.’ However, we can attach words to the noun that would tell us how much milk there is. We can say the milkman delivers ‘TWO LITRES OF MILK everyday to my house.’ Thus, uncountable nouns do not have a plural form, they are normally used to describe a category as a whole and in sentence construction the singular form is used, like so:
‘Milk IS a necessity for infants.’
Uncountable nouns can also use words such as MUCH, SOME, AMOUNT and LITTLE. Here are some examples:
‘Can you give me some water
Uncountable nouns can broadly be categorised into four types:
Activities (sleep, homework etc.)
Feelings/qualities (pride, joy, anger, honesty etc.)
Concepts (freedom, beauty, hope etc.)
Substances (wine, flour, bread etc.).
Some of the words we use before uncountable nouns can only be used with select nouns depending on the type of noun. For instance, some words such as ‘a slice of’ can be used with certain substances (bread, papaya and mango for example) and cannot be used with others (like water, milk or petrol). Likewise, ‘a litre of’ is used for liquids and not solids. However, words such as ‘some’ and ‘much’ can be used with almost all uncountable nouns as well as countable nouns.
While constructing sentences with uncountable nouns, subject-verb agreements are determined by the nature of the noun and the appropriate verb is used. The quiz that follows tells you more about the use of an uncountable noun as a subject and its agreement with verbs.