셀 수 없는 명사 (Uncountable nouns)를 세고 싶으면?

(1) (고급영문법 보시는 분들은 이미 다 아시다시피) 셀 수 없는 명사는 특별한 이유가 없는 한 ‘관사를 붙이지 않고’ 사용합니다.

He likes classical music.
Information gives power.
I’d like coffee with cream, please.
He prefers green tea.
He likes history and French.
Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen.
Jerry believes in justice.
Do you play soccer?
She wanted to buy new furniture.
Science appeared in the Stone Age.


(2) 그러나 셀 수 없는 명사라고 해도 the와 함께 쓸 수는 있지요. 보통 뒤에 of가 들어오거나 전치사 등이 함께 와서 ‘그’라는 뜻일 때 the를 씁니다.

Mary is studying the history of France. (그냥 역사가 아니라 ‘프랑스의’ 역사니까 THE를 붙입니다.)
The tea that Maggie served smelled of mint. (그냥 차가 아니라 Maggie가 준 차니까 THE를 붙입니다.)
The milk in that silver glass is sour. (그냥 우유가 아니라 저 silver glass에 든 우유니까 THE를 붙입니다.)
Have you heard the news? (그냥 새로운 소식이 아니라 그!! 소식이니까 THE를 붙입니다.)
The water in that bottle is poisoned. (그냥 물이 아니라 저 병에 든 물이니까 THE를 붙입니다.)
Jake didn’t have the courage to tell them. (그냥 용기가 아니라 그들에게 말할 용기니까 THE를 붙입니다.)
The anger that Mike felt was mixed with despair and terror. (그냥 화가 아니라 Mike가 느낀 화니까 THE를 붙입니다.)


(3) 또한 평소에는 셀 수 없는 명사로 관사없이 쓰지만 문학적인 표현이나 formal writing에서는 표현을 강조하기 위해서 ‘a/an’을 쓰기도 하지요. = 구어체에서는 안쓴다는 말이기도 하죠. (이건 전에 배운 셀 수 없는 명사도 셀 수 있다 파트를 보고 오셨다면 금방 이해하실 겁니다)

The CEO spoke at the meeting yesterday with an enormous enthusiasm.
= The CEO spoke at the meeting yesterday with great enthusiasm. (구어체)

Jackie smiled at us with an unusual friendliness.
= Jackie smiled at us with unusual friendliness. (구어체)

A paralyzing horror overwhelmed them.
= They were paralyzed with horror. (구어체)

A knowledge of chemistry is necessary for this job.
= Knowledge of chemistry is necessary for this job. (구어체)


(4) 셀 수 없는 명사는 a, an, -s(복수형)을 붙이지 않습니다. 그렇다면 셀 수 없는 명사를 세고 싶을 때는 어떻게 할까요? 셀 수 없는 명사는 하나, 둘 세지도 않고 여러 개라고 숫자를 붙일 수도 없습니다. 대신 셀 수 없는 명사의 ‘양’은 나타낼 수 있지요. 두 가지 방법이 있습니다! (a), (b)로 나눠서 설명드릴게요.

(a) 셀 수 없는 명사의 양을 나타낼 때는 any, enough, little, more, most, much, some, a lot of(lots of) 를 써볼까요? (이런 애들을 indefinite determiners라고 합니다)

[!] lots of에 비해 a lot of 가 조금 더 격식있는 표현입니다. 구어체에서는 lots of를 많이 사용하지요.

I’ve got hardly any money.
I didn’t eat any meat.
He forbids any talking in class.

There’s enough food for everyone.
There’s enough room for five people
There isn’t enough time.

I got very little sleep last night.
There’s little hope of a rescue now.
You have little choice but to pay attention.

The new engine has even more power.
You like more sugar in your tea than I do.
He had done more harm than he had intended.

That family owned the most land.
Unfortunately the negative aspects of our schools get the most attention.
She had the most money of all of them.

Much research [=a lot of research] was carried out.
The project is taking too much time.
There isn’t much hope of finding them.

I’d prefer some wine, please.
It was with some surprise that I heard the news.
Can I have some water?

<a lot of, lots of>
We had lots of fun.
There was a lot of space
A lot of work had been put into the project.


(b) a에서 배운 표현 이외에도 셀 수 없는 명사의 양을 나타낼 때는 quantity expression(‘양’을 표현하는 단어; partitives)을 사용해도 됩니다.
* 주의! 아래에 있는 partitives는 셀 수 있는 명사들과 사용하는 경우도 있으니 예문을 잘 보세요!)
* partitives 라는 표현을 처음 보시는 분들은 그냥 그러려니~하세요. 용어를 외우실 필요는 절대 없습니다.

‘양’을 나타내는 Partitives의 종류는 아주 많습니다. 그러나 미묘하게 의미가 모두 다르니 제대로 알아두셔야합니다.

a drop of blood
a pool of blood
a small amount of blood
a piece of blood (X)

이 네 개만 봐도 의미차가 있다는 것이 대강 감이 오시죠..? 그럼 위 표에 있는 표현을 하나씩 자세히 살펴봅시다.

an amount of ~의 (많은/적은) 양
(a considerable/fair/great/large/tremendous/amazing/enormous/small amount of)

Be sure to add the right amount of salt. (소금)
The new law limits the amount of money a candidate can spend. (돈)
They are not producing an adequate amount of the drug. (약)
He only put a minimum amount of effort. (노력)

[!] 다른 표현에 비해 amount는 광범위하게 쓰는 편입니다. 한국말로는 ‘~의 양’ 정도로 표현하고 앞에 형용사를 붙여서(great, small…) 많은지 적은지를 표현합니다.

[!] Amount라는 단어는 주로 ‘셀 수 없는 명사’와 함께 씁니다. 원어민들이 구어체에서 간혹 복수형과 쓰는 경우도 있지만 문법상으로 (Strictly speaking) 오류로 취급합니다. 복수명사의 수를 표현할 때는 Number를 쓰는 것이 더 안전하다는 것을 알아둡시다 🙂

We use a huge amount of paper at school every day.
A great number of students volunteer every year.
A great amount of students volunteer (X)

[!] Amount, Amounts (an amount of, amounts of)는 어떤 차이가 있을까요?
an amount는 소량(대량) 한 묶음, amounts는 소량(대량) 여러 묶음이라는 뜻입니다. 아래 예문을 보면서 감을 익혀봅시다!

He was fined $300,000, an amount that would ruin the average householder.
Small amounts of land were used for keeping animals.
He paid regular amounts of money to a charity.
The water here contains small amounts of calcium and other minerals.

[!] Amount, Number of 이외에 Quantity of는?
이 표현은 셀 수 있는 명사와 셀 수 없는 명사 모두에 사용가능합니다.

I ate a large quantity of food.
Add a half a cup of oil, and the same quantity of vinegar.
The wine is made in small/large quantities.
Police found quantities of drugs and guns in the house.


a bit of ~의 (적은) 양, ~의 조각

He ate every last/single bit of the food. (음식)
There’s a bit of both brown sugar and syrup in these cookies. (설탕, 시럽)
We need to get all the bits of dirt out of the carpet. (흙)
There were broken bits of glass all over the floor. (유리)

[!] 유리의 경우 shards of glass라는 표현을 많이 씁니다 🙂


a chunk of ~의 덩어리 (주로 고체)

He devoted a large chunk of time to the project. (시간)
He has chunks of metal in one hip and both ankles. (금속)
Lurie risked a pretty big chunk of change on the race. (돈) * a chunk of change : 큰 돈
She bought chunks of meat yesterday. (고기)
There were chunks of wood on the balcony. (나무)
We ate a chunk of cheese for dinner. (치즈)


a clump of ~의 덩이 (나무나 식물, 풀이나 머리카락)

There is a clump of bushes at the edge of the field. (덤불)
There was a clump of spectators outside on the porch. (구경꾼/사람들)
We need to get the clump of mud out of the sheet. (진흙)
By one of the legs is a clump of dust shaped like a sea lion. (먼지)
He tore out a clump of her hair. (머리카락)


a dash of ~의 (적은)양 (약간의) – A에 B를 가미한다는 의미가 강함

The soup needs a dash of salt. (소금)
Add a couple dashes of wine. (와인)
Add a dash of lemon juice. (레몬쥬스)
The rug adds a dash of color to the room. (색깔)
The album is a mixture of rock and gospel, with a dash of jazz thrown in. (재즈)

[!] 비유적인 의미로도 사용가능합니다.
Red roses can bring a dash of romance to your evening. (로맨스)
The essay has a dash of humor. (유머)


a drop of ~(액체)의 방울

The glass in the kitchen still had a drop of milk in it. (우유)
Drops of water fell from the leaky faucet. (물)
Add a few drops of vanilla essence, the egg white and half the butter. (바닐라에센스)


a grain of ~의 낟알(한 알)

Add a grain of salt in the pot. (소금)
There was a grain of sand on his foot. (모래)

[!] 쌀이나 소금 등 실제로 낟알로 세는 경우가 아니더라도 비유적인 의미로 사용하기도 합니다. (티끌만한, 한 톨도- 정도로 해석하시면 됩니다.)
Anyone with a grain of sense knows that she’s lying. (센스/감)
There is not a grain of truth in what he said. (진실)

[!] a grain of salt가 salt 한 톨!!을 말하는 건 아닙니다. 소량을 말할 때 씁니다 🙂 만약 한 톨이라면 ‘a single grain of’ 라고 표현합니다.


a heap of ~의 더미 (정리되지 않은 뭔가가 쌓여있는 모습)

On the end of the desk was a heap of newspapers. (신문)
They’ve got heaps of money. (돈)
The bomb had reduced the building to a heap of rubble. (파편)


a knob of ~의 조각(덩이)

Melt a knob of butter in the pan. (버터)
Dot with small knobs of butter and bake quickly in a 400 F oven. (버터)
Peel a good-sized knob of fresh ginger and cut it into very thin strips. (생강)


a lump of ~의 덩이

He likes two lumps of sugar with his coffee. (커피)
He ate an enormous lump of cheese. (치즈)
There were lumps of mud all over the carpet. (진흙)



a mass of ~의 덩이, 무리(crowd) – 다량

We saw masses of floating ice on the river. (얼음)
The plant produces masses of blossoms every spring. (꽃)
A great mass of voters turned out for the election. (투표자/사람들)
The team was greeted by a mass of fans. (팬/사람들)

[!] a mass of/masses of는 셀 수 있는 명사와도 자주 씁니다.



a mountain of 산더미같은 ~

We’ve received a mountain of mail. (메일)
I’ve got a mountain of work to do. (일)
I’ve got mountains of paperwork to deal with. (일)
We made mountains of sandwiches. (샌드위치)

[!] a mountain of/mountains of는 셀 수 있는 명사와도 쓸 수 있습니다.


a piece of ~의 한 조각

I just heard a wonderful piece of news! (뉴스)
You have a piece of lettuce stuck between your teeth. (양배추)
She just wanted a piece (slice) of cake. (케이크)


a pile of ~한 무더기

She had piles of work to do. (일)
He makes a pile of money. (돈)
He had a pile of papers on his desk. (서류)
He walked out leaving a pile of debts behind him. (빚)

[!] a pile of/piles of는 셀 수 있는 명사와도 쓸 수 있습니다.


a pinch of ~한 줌, 소량

Add a pinch of salt to the soup. (소금)
Add a pinch of salt to taste. (소금)
Add a pinch of nutmeg. (넛맥 : 요리 재료)
He took a pinch of snuff. (코담배)

[!] 두 번째 예문인 Add a pinch of salt to taste. 에서 ‘to taste’는 ‘맛을 보게’라는 뜻이 아니라 ‘입맛에 맞게’라는 뜻입니다.


a pool of ~웅덩이 (주로 빛이나 액체)

They stood in a pool of light. (빛)
They found a pool of blood on the floor. (피/액체)
The body was lying in a pool of blood. (피)
It was raining quietly and there were little pools of water on the gravel drive. (물)



a portion of ~소량(구획)

A portion of the donations will be given to the orphanage. (기부금)
A portion of the blame belongs to you. (탓, 책임)
A considerable portion of the city was flooded. (도시)
He gave us a generous portion of meat. (고기)
The central portion of the bridge collapsed. (다리)
Only a small portion of the budget is spent on books. (예산)

[!] amount와 마찬가지로 portion도 광범위하게 사용할 수 있습니다. 한국말로는 ‘~소량,’ ‘~(일)부분’ 정도로 표현하고 앞에 형용사를 붙여서 (considerable, significant, small…) 많은지 적은지를 표현합니다.


a scrap of ~(천이나 종이 등의) 조각, ~ 매우 소량

She scribbled his phone number on a scrap of paper. (종이조각)
Some of the women were wearing scraps of cloth in their hair. (천)
He ate every last scrap of the food. (음식)
We need to check every scrap of information that might give us a clue as to what happened. (정보)
After the scandal, he had no scrap of dignity left. (존엄성)

[!] a scrap of 가 ‘소량’을 나타낼 때는 주로 겨우~, 고작~ 이라는 뜻으로 부정적인 늬앙스를 띌 때가 많습니다.
It won’t make a scrap of difference. (차이)

[!] scraps = scrap의 복수형으로 ‘먹다 남은 음식’ 이라는 뜻입니다.
Give the scraps to the dog.
The dogs begged for scraps from the table.
We do have some scraps of dough.


a sheet of ~(종이나 천, 얼음, 유리, 철 등) 한 장

Please give me a clean sheet of paper. (종이)
Everything should be written on sheets of A4. (종이)
The road was covered with a sheet of ice. (얼음)
A sheet of ice covered the driveway. (얼음)
We only deal with sheets of glass/steel. (유리/철)


a shred of ~(종이, 천 등) 한 조각/ ~ 매우 소량

Just a few shreds of cloth were left. (천)
There were nothing but shreds of leaves, gnawed stems, and barren shoots. (잎, 줄기, 새싹)
There is not a shred of evidence to support his claim. (증거)
Couldn’t he leave her some shred of dignity?(존엄성)



a slice of ~한 쪽, ~한 조각, ~한 장 (주로 음식)

I need a gin and tonic with a slice of lemon. (레몬)
Give me a slice of bread. (빵)
She ate a slice of pie. (파이)
Then, I’m going to put thin slices of roast beef into the bread. (소고기)

[!] 구어체에서 음식 이외에 ~의 한 부분, 몫을 말할 때도 slice를 사용합니다.
The firm is well placed to grab a large slice of the market.
The rent for my room was a large slice out of my budget.
With this win, they can claim a slice of history.



a speck of ~의 티끌, 소량 (입자, 얼룩, 한 점)

There isn’t a speck of dust anywhere in the house. (먼지)
Specks of grease spotted the walls. (기름)
She writes without a speck of humor. (유머)


a spot of [영국영어/비격식] ~소량

He’s in a spot of trouble. (문제)
Would you like a spot of lunch? (점심식사)
She’s gone out to do a spot of shopping. (쇼핑)
Just a spot of brandy, please. (술)


a touch of ~소량 (기운, 약간의)

There was a touch of sarcasm in her voice. (비꼼)
There could be a touch of frost tonight. (서리)
She noticed a touch of garlic in the sauce. (마늘)
I think I have a touch of the flu. (감기)

[!] a touch of 가 아닌 touch of (손길, 건드리기)의 쓰임도 있으니 유의합시다.
The gentle touch of his hand on her shoulder made her jump.
All this information is readily available at the touch of a button



a trace of ~소량 (흔적, 자취)

The scientists found traces of human activity in the area. (인간활동)
The thieves left no trace of evidence behind. (증거)
The post-mortem revealed traces of poison in his stomach. (독)
She spoke without a trace of bitterness. (쓴 맛)


방금 위에서 외운 표현들은 모두 ‘셀 수 없는 명사’들과 사용할 수 있는 partitives입니다. 셀 수 없는 명사는 말그대로 숫자를 붙여서 세질 않기 때문에 ‘양이나 그룹을 표현하는 표현’을 사용하여 표현을 풍성하게 할 수 있습니다. 위 표에서 본 표현 이외에도 shower of, stream of, gush of, jet of, spurt of, torrent of 등도 있습니다.

a shower of (주로 함께 떨어지는 빛, 비나 잎 등) 대량, 세례, 소나기처럼 쏟아지는 무언가

a shower of sparks/tears (붗꽃/눈물)
He gave the baby a shower of kisses. (키스)
Peter kicked the fire and sent up a shower of sparks. (붗꽃)
A shower of leaves fell towards the ground. (잎)


a stream of (주로 액체, 가스 줄기/ 사람이나 물체가 계속 줄줄이 나오는 경우) 줄기, 계속 이어지는 무언가

A stream of cold air came in through the crack.
The island is visited by a steady stream of tourists.
A stream of blood flowed from the wound.
He blew out a stream of cigar smoke.


a gush of (갑작스럽게 팍! 튀어나오는 대량의 액체) 솟구치는 무언가

A gush of oil came out of the well. (기름)
She felt a sudden gush of emotion. (감정)
It seemed as though a valve had burst inside her and a great gush of energy was being released. (에너지)


a jet of (주로 액체, 가스 등의 가는 줄기) 분사되는 무언가

She soaped herself beneath the refreshing jets of water. (물)
The telescope has photographed jets of gas shooting out from the distant star. (가스)
The pipe burst and jets of water shot across the room. (물)


a spurt of (주로 액체 등/비유적 표현으로도 자주 사용) 빠르게 솟구치는 무언가

Blood was spurting out of his nose. (피)
He felt a spurt of resentment against his brother. (분노)
I felt a little spurt of pleasure at the prospect. (기쁨)


a torrent of 마구 퍼붓는 무언가, 공세

He responded with a torrent of criticism. (비판)
The company receives torrents of e-mail every day. (이메일)
A torrent of words poured out as thoughts raced around in his head. (말)
The woman poured out a torrent of Italian. (이탈리아어)
The growth of the farm-raised game movement brings with it a torrent of discussion. (토론)