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I was doing an English test and I don't know how to answer this question. Which one of these sentences is correct?

a) Could you give me an information, please?

b) I have bought an interesting equipment. Would you like to see it?

For me both of them are right, I couldn't find the mistake.

The other two options are:

c) I have a news for you. I am going to get married.

d) He is working on a new means of transportation.

I thought that these two options were wrong.

Thanks

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Information, news and equipment are uncountable nouns. You need to use an adjective of quantity before them such as - "a piece of information/equipment" or "some information or equipment". So options (a), (b) and (c) are wrong. Option (d) is correct because "means" means "method", which is countable. (That is, you can count the "methods").

  • So both sentences are wrong? – user63598 Jan 31 '14 at 14:41
  • Yes,both the sentences are grammatically incorrect. – Adil Ali Jan 31 '14 at 14:43
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    @user63598 Means is tricky: in this particular sense it is plural in form, but is treated as grammatically singular. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 31 '14 at 16:01
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    While we usually add an "s" to a noun to make it plural, not all words that end with an "s" are plural. "Means" is not the plural of "mean", just like "lens" is not the plural of "len", "bass" is not the plural of "bas", etc. – Jay Jan 31 '14 at 16:15
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    Sentence d) is CORRECT. In view that the OP's original question has been edited, may I suggest that @AdilAli edits his own answer to reflect that a), b) and c) are incorrect. I just feel that his answer is incomplete (not through any fault of his). – Mari-Lou A Feb 1 '14 at 14:15
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information and news: There are nouns in English which have their special grammar: "information" is never connected with "an", and never put in the plural. English grammars and dictionaries say it is an uncountable noun. Actually it's a bit difficult to understand this. Other languages use the word in the plural. Well, every learner has to learn this strange behaviour of "information". news: This noun looks like a plural, but it is considered as a singular. And the verb is also in the singular: Radio announcer: This is the news. The news is/was good. - "news" is uncountable. So you can't say "a news". I can't verify it but it seems English "news" is in connection with German Neues, the s indicates the neuter form of an adjective (singular) and the word is taken as a noun. In Dutch you have "het nieuws" - het neuter article, -s sign for neuter adjective (singular).

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Only sentence d) is correct.

Could you give me information, please?

I have bought interesting equipment. Would you like to see it?

or even better

I have bought an interesting piece of equipment. Would you like to see it?

I have news for you. I am going to get married.

The thing is that information and news are not countable, so you do not use an article.

Equipment is not countable either, but if you buy something you can make it countable by referring to a piece of - this is very common. You can also say:

That is an interesting piece of news!

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