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Talking about a limited quantity of something

To talk about a limited quantity of something we often use the word piece or bit, together with of, before an uncountable noun. Note that bit is informal and usually suggests a small quantity.

The most common expressions of this kind are:

A piece / bit of cake / bread
A piece / bit of paper / wood
A piece / bit of news / information
A piece of advice
A piece of spaghetti
A piece of furniture
A piece of luggage

Other words like bar, blade, drop etc are also used. But note that they are less general and are used before particular nouns. Some common examples are:

A bar of chocolate / soap
A blade of grass
A block of ice
A drop of water /oil
A grain of salt / rice / sand / corn
An item of clothing / furniture
A loaf of bread
A slice of bread / cake / meat
A lump of sugar / coal
A speck of dust
A sheet of paper / metal / plastic / stamps
A stick of chalk
A strip of land / water
A suit of clothes


Pair is used for many things that normally come in pairs. Examples are:

A pair of shoes / socks / ear-rings
A pair of glasses / binoculars
A pair of trousers / jeans
A pair of scissors / pliers

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More English speaking lessons
Meeting people
Telling time
Asking about health
Asking people to repeat
Getting people's attention and offering apologies
Names and titles
Wishing people
Saying Thanks
Saying Please
Meals, drinking



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