Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Uncountable Nouns and Agreement

The second bullet point of this notice, by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, reads:

Do not buy mouldy food as they may contain mycotoxins.

As uncountable (or noncount) nouns are grammatically singular, the sentence should have read, ... as it may contain mycotoxins.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If uncountable nouns are grammatically singular, is this sentence, "The two advice you gave is useful." correct?

If I were to insert "pieces of" after "two", what will be the verb that follows?

The Grammar Terrorist said...

No -- since 'advice' is uncountable, you cannot count advice. Hence you can't say 'two advice'.

If you use 'piece/pieces of' -- known as a partitive -- this becomes the head noun you're counting (and not 'advice'). Hence, 'The two pieces of advice you gave me were (= plural) useful'.