Countable And Uncountable Nouns

By | April 10, 2019

Countable And Uncountable Nouns

Countable And Uncountable Nouns

Countable And Uncountable Nouns

Recently Countable nouns (also called count nouns)

are nouns that can be counted (apple, orange) and can be therefore be pluralized (apples, oranges). Uncountable nouns (also known as non-count or mass nouns) are amounts of something, which we cannot count (gunpowder, rice).

Examples of countable nouns: babies, cakes, dogs, fingers, gowns, huts, ideas, lies, owls, papers, pencils, suitcases

Examples of uncountable nouns: air, ash, barley, bread, butter, dirt, flour, money, fun, gas, grass, gunpowder, ice, ink, juice, luggage, music, news, oil, pepper, rice, sand, soil, steam, sugar, vapour, water, wheat, wine

So how do we know whether a noun is countable or uncountable?
The noun is countable:
if we can use the indefinite artice a/an before it.
I own a car. / I play with an ostrich.
if we can use the word many (not much), more, or most to describe it.
She has many friends. (Not: She has much friends.)
if we can express its quantity by using a number before it.
I have five uncles. You have two grandmothers.
if it takes on singular as well as plural forms.
an owl / some owls / fifty owls
The noun is uncountable:
if a/an is not normally used in front of it.

He is eating some rice. (Not: He is eating a rice.) Rice is an uncountable noun, so some (which can be used for both countable and uncountable nouns) is used with it.

if the word much can be correctly used before it.

How much glue do we need? (Not: How many glue do we need?)

if it is not possible for us to count it. However, we can make it countable by having a quantity for it.

I have just bought two cartons or litres/liters of milk. (Not: I have just bought two milk.)

if it takes only a singular form.

some ice (Not: some ices) / some ink (Not: some inks) / some soup (Not: some soups)

Nouns can be countable or uncountable. It depends on how they are used.


There are two hairs on the snooker table. (Countable noun)
You think my hair looks nice? (Uncountable noun)
You can boil an egg. (Countable noun)
I like to eat egg. (Uncountable noun as it refers to egg in general, not one or two eggs.)
Let’s stop for a coffee on our way to the library. (Countable noun)
She thinks she drinks too much coffee. (Uncountable noun)
You had a bad experience on that trip.(Countable noun)
I have no previous experience of this type of work. (Uncountable noun)
We bought a big fish and a roast chicken in the supermarket. (Countable noun)

We had some fish for lunch and chicken for dinner. (Uncountable noun)

As the group was large,

we decided not to clink glasses. (Countable noun)

His car windows are made of bulletproof glass. (Uncountable noun)

I need to press my shirt with an iron before we go. (Countable noun)

Secoundly Uncountable nouns may refer to a group of things with each of the things being an individual part. They cannot be used with numbers such as a/an, one, or pluralized with +s.


Mail: letters, postcards, bills, packages, parcels, etc.

Not: I received a mail today.

Furniture: tables, chairs, beds, desks, cupboard

Not:The family bought a furniture yesterday.

Fruit: apples, oranges, bananas, mangoes and papaya

Not: We want to buy two (tropical)fruits today, some mangoes and a papaya.

Jewelry: rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches

Countable and Uncountable Nouns are used with the following:

Countable NounUncountable Noun
a, an, a few, several, many, some,a little, much, some,
plenty of, a lot of, a large number ofplenty of, a lot of, a large amount of, a great deal of