An In-Depth Guide of Material Noun

writer Sanjana

The material noun is a noun which can be measured or weighted but cannot be counted.
or
The material noun is a substance, an ingredient, or a material that we can touch and see and it is used to make other things as well.
or
Material nouns are names of material out of which, things are made.
To make it understandable for you, look at the examples below:
Examples: gold, water, iron, rice, etc. now these things cannot be counted but are measured. Also, we make jewelry out of gold and pots from iron (related to the second definition).

Facts of material noun

1. Material nouns are considered singular hence, we use singular verbs (is, has) with them.

Example: gold has become expensive over the past couple of years.
Rice, I bought from Uncle Raja, is looking fresh.
Water is the basic need of life.

The verbs in the above three sentences are highlighted in bold and italic. Thus, it is proved that we use the singular form of the verb with material nouns.

2. We do not use any articles (a,an, and the) with them.

Example: the water is colorless. (wrong)
A water is colorless. (wrong)
An water is colorless. (wrong)
Water is colorless. (right)

The sentences written above prove that we do not use any article before material nouns.

3. You can use quantifiers with material nouns

Example: I want to drink some milk.
Please give me a lot of salt to put in the meal.
Just give me a few drops of dose.

The bold and italic words in the above sentences show that we can add quantifiers with material nouns.

4. We do not use s, es with material nouns.
Material nouns are not written in plural form because they are always considered as singular.

Example: Plastic (plastics), honey (honeys), earth (earths), etc.

The words in bold and italic are material nouns and they do not have s or es (plural form).

5. Note to remember: A number such as one, two, three, four, and so on are not used to quantify a material noun.

For example: You cannot use words like four woods, one rice, two sugars, etc.

Instead, you have to use four planks of words, one plate of rice, and two cubes of sugar to quantify the material nouns.

Material nouns in categories

Material nouns are mostly found in nature but they are recreated by human beings. The recreated material is known as a man-made material noun. Here is a list of commonly used material nouns.

Nature Animals Plants Man-made
Water Egg Cotton acid
Air Meat Food Alcohol
Silver Honey Oil Cement
Gold Milk Coffe Butter
Sunlight Wool Perfume Cloth

As we have stated earlier that material nouns cannot be counted because they come in the form of solid, liquid, and semi-liquid. But we can say that material nouns are common nouns as they denote substances instead of naming or denoting people or places. Without material nouns, we will not be able to measure the substances.

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