A mass noun is a noun whose referents are not thought of as separate entities.
It may have distinguishing features such as the following:
- The inability to take a plural form
- Cooccurrence with some determiners (such as some and much), but not others (such as the English many)
Some nouns may permit treatment as either count or mass nouns.
Example: In English, salad may be treated as either a count or mass noun, as evidenced by the acceptability of the following expressions:
- many salads
- much salad
The word furniture is a mass noun. It cannot take the plural suffix -s:
- * furnitures
In addition, it can occur with some determiners, but not others:
- the furniture
- much furniture
- some furniture
- * a furniture
- * many furnitures