One of the four properties of nouns is their number, the others being gender, person, and case. Every noun will fall under either of the two larger classes called countable and uncountable nouns. While countable nouns can be classified further as singular and plural, uncountable nouns cannot be futher classified. In effect, any noun, or a noun phrase, shall fall under one of the three classes, singular, plural, or uncountable.
What makes this topic interesting is the fact that nouns take various forms, which may easily mislead us. Here are some interesting cases:
|Plural forms that don’t have an –s ending||criteria, radii, phenomena, police, cattle|
|Singular/uncountable nouns with an -s ending||maths, news|
|Words with an -s ending, but can be singular or plural||statistics, dynamics|
|Uncountable nouns commonly pluralized erroneously||information, children, furniture, equipment, software|
|Usually uncountable but have special meaning as plurals||waters, assets, data, damages, finances|
|Collective nouns||committee, jury|
|Numbers in measurements||distance, money, weights, volume, area, etc.|
On the other hand, it is easier to deal with phrases and clauses. Gerunds, infinitives, participial phrases, subordinate clauses, and words as words are all considered uncountable.
There are some slightly phrases such as a variety of, a range of, a/the percentage of, a/the majority of, etc.