I'm writing an ielts writing task 1 essay. It's about the expenditure in Million Pounds on fast food items by income groups in the UK and I have 3 items which are hamburger, fish&chips and pizza. Do I need an article for these items?

For example :

More than 40 million pounds spent for hamburger by people who had high income.

  • 1
    A few sample sentences might help...
    – Stephie
    Feb 23, 2017 at 5:27

2 Answers 2


You don't really need articles, since you are using them as categories (collective nouns) and not describing a particular item, but you might want to use plurals

millions of pounds

  • 2
    With an explanation as short as this, OP might conclude that they should also use "fishes and chips".
    – Stephie
    Feb 23, 2017 at 5:25
  • Except "fishes and chips" is not the plural, just as "bacons and eggs" would be incorrect.
    – Peter
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:26

To take them one by one:

Hamburger is normally used as a countable noun (a hamburger, 2 hamburgers). You should normally talk how many hamburgers were eaten, using the plural.

Fish & chips is syntactically plural, but is often treated as a non-count noun. So you can say "Fish and chips (is/are) popular in the uk." And write about how much fish and chips was eaten. You can also use a counter: "How many servings of fish and chips..."

Pizza as a countable noun refers to a whole pie. It can also be used as a non-count noun, referring to a type of food. You can use both "How much was spent on (pizza/pizzas) ..." but in this use I'd prefer the non-count, singular.

There aren't many rules for this. The countability of nouns can't always be guessed, however, a quick glance at dictionary definitions of hamburger and pizza show the current usage for countability and plural formation.

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