What Are Mass Nouns? (with Examples)

What Are Mass Nouns? (with Examples)

A mass noun (or non-countable noun or noncount noun as it's also known) is a noun without a plural form.

A mass noun is one that cannot be counted. For example:

Mass Noun>Attempt At Making It Plural
petrolfour petrols
furniturefour furnitures
lumberfour lumbers
goldfour golds

Non-countable nouns are singular.

Examples of Mass Nouns

Most mass nouns come under one of these categories:

Concept gallantry, morality, information, aptitude, patience
Activity homework, singing, reading, fishing
Food bread, butter, cheese, fish, milk
Gas air, helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, smoke
Liquid beer, coffee, petrol, water, wine
Material cloth, concrete, lumber, wood, metal
Item Category clothing, furniture, luggage, money
Natural Phenomenon gravity, heat, humidity, rain, snow, sunshine, thunder
Particles flour, grit, salt, sugar

Pluralizing Mass Nouns

There are two methods to pluralize a concept expressed by a mass noun:

Method 1: Precede it with a [countable noun] + "of". For example:
  • four loaves of bread
  • (Loaves is the countable noun.)
  • four blocks of cheese
  • (blocks is the countable noun.)
Method 2: Make the mass noun an adjective to a countable noun. For example:
  • four bread loaves
  • four cheese blocks
Generally, mass nouns cannot be pluralized. However, when talking about categories of that noun, some can be pluralized. This happens most often with mass nouns in the food and liquid categories. For example:
  • France is well known for its cheeses.
  • (Categories of cheese)
  • There are several fine wines from Chile.
  • (Categories of wine)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited and printed to create exercise worksheets.

See Also

Read more about amount of, quantity of, and number of What are nouns? What are the different types of nouns What are abstract nouns? What are collective nouns? What are compound nouns? What are concrete nouns? What are gender-specific nouns What are gerunds? What are verbal nouns? What are noun clauses? What are noun phrases?