Countable and Uncountable Nouns
A noun, as we know, is a word that refers to a person, a place, a thing, or an event. Nouns can be classified into many ways. Here we find the classification of Countable and Uncountable Nouns.
Countable Nouns are the ones that can be counted and Uncountable Nouns are the ones that cannot be counted.
What are Countable Nouns?
Countable Nouns refer to the names of objects, people, etc. that we can count. These nouns are also called count-nouns. These nouns can have singular and plural forms. Most Countable Nouns take ‘s’ in plural form.
- A Book – two books
- A Pen – some pens
- An Apple – six apples
- One student – many students
- One Sister -two sisters
- A Doctor – several doctors
Rules to be followed with Countable Nouns:
|To be used with Countable Nouns|
|Singular or Plural
|table – tables, teacher – teachers
mobile – mobiles, pen – pens, chair – chairs
dress – dresses, story – stories
|Numbers (two, three, four, etc)||one table, five teachers, hundred admissions, fifteen rupees, etc.,|
|A or An||a teacher, a stick, a school, a class, a college
an egg, an elephant, an owl, an hour
|Many, Too Many, Few, A Few, Very Few||many books, few rooms, very few facilities, too many rules|
|These, Those||these owners, those lawyers|
|Each, Every||each student, every teacher|
|Some, Any||some teachers, any problem|
|A Large Number Of
A Small Number Of
|a large number of parents|
|Another, Several||another lesson, several exercises|
- I want to purchase a new mobile.
- My grandma used to tell me beautiful stories.
- My friend has recently donated ten lakh rupees to the old age home.
- I saw a teacher sitting all alone in the staff room.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
- We should not take these books away.
- We invited many students and very few teachers.
- A large number of students are showing interest in the event.
- I don’t like another lesson because it contains several exercises.
What are Uncountable Nouns?
Uncountable nouns refer to the names of things that we cannot count. These nouns are also called non-count or mass nouns. These nouns are seen as a whole or mass and cannot be separated or counted. They have only a singular form. There is no plural form for Uncountable Nouns.
Examples of Uncountable Nouns:
- Abstract Nouns (ideas and experiences) such as honesty, knowledge, wisdom advice, information, progress, luck, fun, work, etc.,
- Material Nouns (materials and substances) such as milk, oil, sugar, gold, water, rice, etc.,
- Collective Nouns (groups or collections of things) such as furniture, equipment, rubbish, luggage, etc.,
- Nouns related to subjects such as Chemistry, Economics, Maths, Science, French, English, History, etc.
- Nouns ending in “-ism” such as feminism, optimism, and patriotism, vegetarianism, impressionism, industrialism
Rules to be followed with Uncountable Nouns:
|To be used with Uncountable Nouns|
|much, too much||much energy, too much time,|
|little, less||little patience, less water|
|the, this, that||the news, this inquiry|
|some, any, no||some information, any advice, no work|
|a little bit of, a bit of, a lot of, a great deal of, a cup of, a bag of, a pinch of, a handful of, an hour of, a day of, a large amount of, a piece of, a can of, a slice of, etc.,||a cup of milk, piece of furniture, bits of news, a litre of milk, a pinch of salt, a bag of rice, a lot of confidence, etc.,|
Uncountable nouns can be made countable by using partitives such as a piece of, a bit of, a grain of, ten bags of, five crore of, a slice of or five kilos of, etc.,
- We donated ten bags of rice to the orphanage.
- They have received a large amount of money from the shareholders.
- She wants to purchase two pairs of trousers.
- Can you give me a slice of cake? In turn, I can give you a bar of chocolate.
List of Partitives:
Use of determiners with Uncountable Nouns:
- You are spending too much time on trivial things.
- Little patience is needed to finish all this work.
- Did he give you any advice? No, he gave me some information.
Nouns that are both Countable and Uncountable:
Some Nouns can be used as Countable and Uncountable with a difference in meaning.
Time can be used as Countable and Uncountable
As a Countable, it means – as an occasion
(Expressions like a long time, a short time, a great time, many times etc., are Countable)
- Let’s make a move. It is a great time to start.
- I saw him at various times at various places.
- I visited him many times.
- They haven’t met each other for a long time.
- She has taken a short time to prepare the dish.
As an Uncountable, it means – the amount of time – like a number of days/hours/minutes etc.,
(Expressions like much time, enough time, some time, more time, less time etc., are Uncountable)
- How much time do you want to finish your exam? (Not how many times?)
- Due to my busy schedule, I spent some time with my children but not enough time.
- Hello! Give me the answer paper. You have already taken sufficient time.
- You seem to be unhappy though I spent a lot of time with you.
- It is a sheer waste of time to speak to you.
Some Other Examples:
- I read two papers daily. (newspapers) (Countable)
- She needs a sheet of paper to write a complaint.(material for writing on) (Uncountable)
- The police collected a hair of the murderer at the spot. (Countable)
- I had thick hair when I was young. (Uncountable)
- I don’t eat meat. I am a vegetarian. (Countable)
- My friends prefer different meats to eat. (Uncountable)
- Water is an important element in our body. (Countable)
- There are various brands of mineral waters in the market. (Uncountable)
- They visited several colleges for the purpose of admission. (Countable)
- College is an important learning experience. (Uncountable)
- Several dreadful diseases are spreading in the city. (Countable)
- Her mother has recently died of heart disease. (Uncountable)
- Monks expressed their different faiths at the conference. (Countable)
- My strength is my faith. (Uncountable)
Keywords to be used with Countable and Uncountable Nouns
|To be used with Countable and Uncountable Nouns|
|Any||Countable Noun||Any Books, Any Students, Any Pens|
|Uncountable Noun||Any Information, Any Oil, Any Sugar|
|No||Countable Noun||No Books, No Pens, No Facilities|
|Uncountable Noun||No Brilliance, No Knowledge, No Luggage|
|A Lot Of||Countable Noun||A Lot Of Tickets, A Lot Of Passengers|
|Uncountable Noun||A Lot Of Imagination, A Lot Of Happiness|
|Lots Of||Countable Noun||Lots Of Rooms, Lots Of Lodges|
|Uncountable Noun||Lots Of Courage, Lots Of Energy|
|The||Countable Noun||The Workers, The Ships, The Apples|
|Uncountable Noun||The Furniture, The Happiness, The Wisdom|
|Some||Countable Noun||Some Mobiles, Some Bills, Some Ladies|
|Uncountable Noun||Some Flour, Some Rice, Some Salt|
|Enough||Countable Noun||Enough Hotels, Enough Clients|
|Uncountable Noun||Enough Knowledge, Enough Money|
|Plenty Of||Countable Noun||Plenty Of Rooms, Plenty Of Places|
|Uncountable Noun||Plenty Of Gold, Plenty Of Furniture, Plenty Of Equipment|
Some Uncountable Nouns take the plural form but with a singular meaning, and therefore they always take a singular verb.
news, mathematics, economics, physics, linguistics, measles, and mumps.
- Economics is my favourite subject.
- No news is good news.
- Measles is a kind of disease.
Some other Uncountable Nouns take the plural form and we cannot use numbers with them.
shorts, pants, pyjamas, glasses (for the eyes), binoculars, scissors.
- I have bought a pair of glasses.
I have bought two glasses
- I want to buy three pairs of pants for my birthday.
I want to buy three pants for my birthday.
Exercise for practice – 1
Fill in the blanks with a / any / some.
- We have found _______________ water in the bottle.
- Do you find _______________ rice in the bag.
- There is _______________ banana on the dining table.
- Do you fetch me __________glass of juice?
- My friend didn’t bring me _______________ gift on my birthday.
- There are _______________ books in the library.
- We have got _______________ issues to be solved immediately.
- Do you have _______________ time to spare with me?
- My friend doesn’t have____________ property in the city.
- She has got _____________new mobile recently.
Answer Key to Exercise 1.
1.Some, 2. Any, 3. A, 4. A, 5. Any, 6. Some, 7. Some, 8. Any, 9. Any, 10. A,
Exercise for practice – 2
Find out the noun and write whether it is a Countable Noun or an Uncountable Noun
- The students are participating in the event.
- Where can I find some cake?
- Are you thirsty? Drink some water.
- Economics is my interesting subject.
- There are a lot of books in the library on this subject.
- I would like to bring home a bag of rice today.
- It is very difficult to find the source of happiness.
- Everybody appreciated the boy’s intelligence.
- Nobody knows how deep his knowledge is.
- We really enjoyed the journey with you.
- Don’t worry. A lot of tickets are available.
- To finish this, you need a lot of imagination.
- You cannot drive perfectly in this heavy traffic.
- As a part of the promotion of this product, he sent several emails.
- Who has drawn such wonderful paintings?
Answer Key to Exercise 2.