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.


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'.