Friday, 20 November 2020

 Countable and uncountable nouns

Nouns can be countable or uncountable. Countable nouns can be counted, e.g. an apple, two apples, three apples, etc. Uncountable nouns cannot be counted, e.g. air, rice, water, etc. When you learn a new noun, you should check if it is countable or uncountable and note how it is used in a sentence.

Countable and uncountable nouns

Countable and uncountable nouns

It's important to distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns in English because their usage is different in regards to both determiners and verbs.

Countable nouns

Countable nouns are for things we can count using numbers. They have a singular and a plural form. The singular form can use the determiner "a" or "an". If you want to ask about the quantity of a countable noun, you ask "How many?" combined with the plural countable noun.

Singular : one dog, one horse, one man , one idea, one shop

Plural : two dogs, two horses, two men, two ideas, two shops


She has three dogs.

I own a house.

I would like two books please.

How many friends do you have?

Countable nouns

Some nouns refer to things which, in English, are treated as separate items which can be counted. These are called countable nouns. Here are some examples:

a car, three cars

my cousin, my two cousins

a book, a box full of books

a city, several big cities

Singular and plural

Countable nouns can be singular or plural. They can be used with a/an and with numbers and many other determiners (e.g. these, a few):

She’s got two sisters and a younger brother.

Most people buy things like cameras and MP3-players online these days.

These shoes look old now.

I’ll take a few magazines with me for the flight.

Uncountable nouns

Uncountable nouns are for the things that we cannot count with numbers. They may be the names for abstract ideas or qualities or for physical objects that are too small or too amorphous to be counted (liquids, powders, gases, etc.). Uncountable nouns are used with a singular verb. They usually do not have a plural form.

Examples : tea, sugar, water, air, rice, knowledge, beauty, anger, fear, love, money, research, safety, evidence

We cannot use a/an with these nouns. To express a quantity of an uncountable noun, use a word or expression like some, a lot of, much, a bit of, a great deal of , or else use an exact measurement like a cup of, a bag of, 1kg of, 1L of, a handful of, a pinch of, an hour of, a day of. If you want to ask about the quantity of an uncountable noun, you ask "How much?"


There has been a lot of research into the causes of this disease.

He gave me a great deal of advice before my interview.

Can you give me some information about uncountable nouns?

He did not have much sugar left.

Measure 1 cup of water, 300g of flour, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

How much rice do you want?

Uncountable nouns

In English grammar, some things are seen as a whole or mass. These are called uncountable nouns, because they cannot be separated or counted.

Some examples of uncountable nouns are:

Ideas and experiences: advice, information, progress, news, luck, fun, work

Materials and substances: water, rice, cement, gold, milk

Weather words: weather, thunder, lightning, rain, snow

Names for groups or collections of things: furniture, equipment, rubbish, luggage

Other common uncountable nouns include: accommodation, baggage, homework, knowledge, money, permission, research, traffic, travel.

These nouns are not used with a/an or numbers and are not used in the plural.


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