Material Nouns: Definition and Examples

Material Nouns: Definition and Examples 

material-noun

What are Material Nouns?

Material nouns are the raw elements or objects existing in nature. 
Examples
cotton
gold
fiber
calcium
plastic
Iron
diamond
brass
marble


Let us look at some examples in sentences.
  • Cotton dress is cheap.
  • Calcium is good for health.
  • This is a shop for diamonds.
  • I purchased a gold ring.
  • Plastic is for ordinary use.
  • Brass was used in the old days.
  • Fiber is widely used in all industries.
  • Iron is a very useful metal.
  • This is a building of marbles.

Things to remember when using Material nouns

Material nouns do not take plural forms. It takes only singular forms and singular verbs.
Material nouns are uncountable nouns. It can be measured or weighed.

Some examples of material nouns from nature.
water
silver
gold
air
iron
coal
copper
sand
rock

Some examples of material nouns from plants.
fruits
food
oil
 coffee
tea
rubber

Some examples of material nouns from animals.
egg
meat
 honey
 milk
leather
 wool

Some examples of man-made material nouns.
acid
brick
butter
cheese
alcohol
cement
medicine
cloth


Rules to remember when using material nouns.

Rule 1
Do not use a numeral adjective (one, two, three, four, many, few, a few, etc.) before a material noun.
For example,
Two luggage have been stolen.(incorrect sentence)
Two items of luggage have been stolen.(correct sentence)

There are ten furniture in this room.  (incorrect sentence)
There are ten items of furniture in this room. (correct sentence)
Rule 2
Do not use articles (a, an , the) before material nouns.
For example,
Please give me a paper to write on.( incorrect sentence)
Please give me paper to write on.(correct sentence)
Please give me a piece of paper to write on.(correct sentence)
Rule 3
Do not use 's' or 'es' after material nouns.
For example,
The bottle is made of glasses( incorrect sentence)
The bottle is made of glass. (correct sentence)

These books are made of papers( incorrect sentence)
These books are made of paper. (correct sentence)

These sweaters are made of wools( incorrect sentence)
These sweaters are made of wool. (correct sentence)
But there are some exceptions to Rule 3.
When we add 's' after some material nouns its meaning totally changes.
For example,
Tie this dog with irons. (irons means fetters - chain made of iron)
Some more words of this type.

iron
irons (fetters)
copper
coppers (coins made of copper)
tin
tins (container made of tin)
gold
gold’s (coins made of gold)
sand
sands (desert)
water
waters (ocean)
wood
woods (forest)
paper
papers (document, permit, license)
I hope this explanation will help you to understand material nouns better.
See Also
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