Language tip of the week: knowledge

Posted by on January 24, 2012

In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult.

This week’s language tip helps with the noun knowledge.

Knowledge is an uncountable noun, so it is never used in the plural:
✗ Students don’t understand how to use these knowledges in real life.
✓ Students don’t understand how to use this knowledge in real life.
✗ We can exchange our experiences and strengthen our knowledges.
✓ We can exchange our experiences and strengthen our knowledge.
Knowledge is sometimes used with a, but only in the pattern a knowledge of something (or a good/deep/thorough etc. knowledge of something):
Effective use of language necessitates a good knowledge of grammar.
The usual preposition that follows knowledge is of. Don’t use the prepositions in or on:
✗ It takes more than just knowledge in a subject to succeed.
✓ It takes more than just knowledge of a subject to succeed.
✗ This is where you can gain a general knowledge base, and specific knowledge on the subject you have chosen to study.
✓ This is where you can gain a general knowledge base, and specific knowledge of the subject you have chosen to study.
The preposition about can also be used with knowledge, but it is much less frequent than of.

More language tips

Browse the list under the ‘language tips‘ tag here on the blog for more useful language tips.

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