Material Noun:

Material nouns are names of materials or substances which are used as raw materials for other things. Like, milk, gold, oil, water, wool, cotton, plastic, honey, cloth, paper, etc. All these are either use as it is or are used to make some other thing.

These are tangible goods. This means you can see and touch them. They have a physical form. And material nouns are always uncountable. This means they do not exist in units and so are not counted rather, weighed, or measured. Thus, they follow the grammatical rules of uncountable nouns.

Material nouns are usually obtained from nature, animals, plants or are man-made. Let us look at some examples:

Examples:

While using these nouns in a sentence we need to keep in mind certain points. These points are important for grammatically correct usage of material nouns.

Ø We do not use article ‘A/AN’ before material nouns

We cannot use the article ‘a’ or ‘an’ before a material noun as they are uncountable. These articles usually represent a single unit. And we know that uncountable nouns do not exist in units. So, we cannot use them before these nouns. This is a common mistake and thus we need to keep this in mind.

Examples:

  • She bought a cloth to stitch a shirt. (INCORRECT)
  • She bought cloth to stitch a shirt. (CORRECT)

  • Ritu takes a honey instead of sugar. (INCORRECT)
  • Ritu takes honey instead of sugar. (CORRECT)

  • The child is playing with a sand. (INCORRECT)
  • The child is playing with sand. (CORRECT)

  • An olive oil has many health benefits. (INCORRECT)
  • Olive oil has many health benefits. (CORRECT)

Ø Determines little / a little / the little / much / some / any are used before material nouns

Determiners are usually adjectives, adverbs or articles. Above mentioned determiner are used before these nouns. Use of determiners like few, a few, the few and many is wrong before them. These are determiners used before countable nouns and we know that material nouns are uncountable.

Examples:

  • There is few water in the bottle. (INCORRECT)
  • There is little water in the bottle. (CORRECT)
  • There is some water in the bottle. (CORRECT)
  • There is not many water in the bottle. (INCORRECT)
  • There is not much water in the bottle. (CORRECT)
  • Is there any water left in the bottle? (CORRECT)
  • A little water is left in the bottle. (CORRECT)

Ø Uncountable nouns are considered singular so they have no plural form and they take singular verbs

As they are uncountable, they do not have plural form. Thus, material nouns are always considered singular. This means words like waters, oils, cloths, sugars, gold, happinesses, informations, etc do not exist. Also remember, they will always take a singular verb.

Examples:

  • She purchased three-liter milks. (INCORRECT)
  • She purchased three-liter milk. (CORRECT)

  • He drinks too much coffees. (INCORRECT)
  • He drinks too much coffee. (CORRECT)

  • This five-meter cloths is not sufficient to stitch the trouser. (INCORRECT)
  • This five-meter cloth is not sufficient to stitch the trouser. (CORRECT)
#KEY-NOTES:

  • These are names of materials or substances which are used as raw materials for other things. Like, milk, gold, oil, water, wool, cotton, plastic, etc.
  • Material nouns are uncountable. These are nouns that are measured or weighed.
  • They do not have a plural form.
  • Do not take article a/an before them.
#SUMMARY:
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