Material Nouns are the names of materials or substances out of which things are made.
Material nouns are uncountable nouns, we cannot count them as they are in the forms of liquid, semi-liquid or solid.
gold, silver, coal, sand, clay, rock, silk, wool, leather, cotton, rubber, wood, steel, brass, bronze, copper, aluminum, lead, diamond, glass, fibre, plastic, rubber, paper, cement, paint, plywood, milk, sand, oil, jute, etc
- Most of my dresses are of cotton.
- She gave my baby 10 grams of gold as a gift.
- Diamond is a precious metal.
- Calcium is highly necessary for bones.
- Plastic has been banned in several countries.
- How useful is Iron metal!
- My brother drinks a glass of milk every day.
- Internet cable has been made of fibre.
- Brass is used to making several beautiful idols.
- The use of marble for flooring is out of fashion.
Most of these are not man-made, The main source for these nouns are nature, animals, plants and a very few man-made.
Material Nouns List:
|From nature||air, coal, copper, gold, iron, rock, sand, silver, water, salt, etc.|
|From plants||coffee, food, fruits, oil, rubber, tea, cotton, wood, jute, coffee, etc.,|
|From animals||egg, honey, leather, meat, milk, wool, silk, etc.|
|That are man-made||acid, alcohol, brick, butter, cement, cheese, cloth, medicine, chalk, ghee, enamel, gelatin, etc.|
Rules to be followed with Material Nouns:
We do not generally use articles (a, an, the) before the Material Nouns
We are not supposed to use the numeral adjectives (one, two, three, four, many, few, a few, etc.) before Material Nouns.
Material Nouns do not have plural forms. So we do not use plural forms (‘-s’ or ‘-es’) when a noun is used as a Material Noun.
- They offered me a ring of gold. (not a gold)
- These gym weights are made of iron. (not an iron)
- This cabin is completely made of wood. (not woods)
- Honey is good for health. (not the honey)
But we can say:
- The honey in that bottle is expired. Don’t use it. (specific honey)
Material Nouns and Common Nouns:
Sometimes, Material Nouns can also be used as Common Nouns. There is a common confusion between these two nouns.
For example, a gold ring is a Common Noun but gold is a Material Noun.
The simple trick to understand it clearly is that Material Nouns are uncountable and the Common Nouns are countable.
- Diamond is the most precious one. (Material Noun)
- She wears a necklace made of diamonds. (Common Noun)
- This aquarium is made of glass. (Material Noun)
- I have taken a glass of milk. (Common Noun)
- She needs a sheet of paper. (Material Noun)
- I have read it in today’s (news)papers. (Common Noun)
- Fish is good for health. (Material Noun)
- Fish cannot live out of water. (Common Noun)
- The Taj Mahal has been designed with marble. (Material Noun)
- The boys are playing with marbles. (Common Noun)
- Gold is more precious than iron (Material Noun)
- The prisoner was put in irons. (handcuffs or in jail) (Common Noun)
Exercise for practice:
Pick the Material Nouns from the following sentences.
- Brass is used to making all these idols.
- My grandmother wears sarees which are made of cotton.
- The chain which he lost is of pure gold.
- She consumed too much alcohol to drive her car.
- They sell here homemade ghee.
- I don’t eat curd rice without salt.
- The second ranker has been awarded a medal of silver.
- He mixes cheese in the vegetable salad.
- All the sweaters available here are made of wool.
- The human body contains an average of 60 % of water.