Countable vs. Uncountable Nouns

English Grammar Rules

A) Most nouns have singular and plural forms. They are countable nouns.

e.g. One letter, two letters

B) Some nouns only have one form. They are uncountable nouns.

e.g. Money

C) Many uncountable nouns refer to substances:

e.g. Chocolate, water, coffee, milk, sugar, salt, cheese, bread, rice, wood, glass, plastic, soap, toothpaste.

D) Many uncountable nouns refer to abstract ideas or emotions.

e.g. love, sadness, happiness, education, knowledge, and grammar.

E) You can use a/an with singular countable nouns.

e.g. an umbrella, a wheel, a mistake.

F) You can use plural countable nouns alone.

e.g. apples, bees, clouds.

G) You can't use an article with an uncountable noun.

e.g. time, sand, electricity.

H) It is very common in English to use some / any with plural nouns and uncountable nouns (Refer to grammar notes on Some Any for more details).

e.g. They don't listen to any advice.

I) There are a range of nouns that are uncountable in English but are countable in other languages.

These include: accommodation, advice, baggage, behaviour, bread, chaos, damage, furniture, information, luck, luggage, news, permission, progress, scenery, traffic, weather and work.

J) For comparison purposes, look at these sentences:

Countable Uncountable
I'm looking for a job.I'm looking for work.
What a beautiful view!What beautiful scenery!
It's a nice day today.It's nice weather today.
We had a lot of bags and suitcases.We had a lot of luggage.
These chairs are mine.This furniture is mine.
It was a good suggestion.It was good advice.

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Learn the difference between Some and Any

See our notes about other Types of Nouns.

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