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Countable and Uncountable Nouns

1. Countable nouns

Countable nouns are things which can be counted like ‘chair’, ‘apple’ or ‘girl’. They usually add an ‘s’ when we make a plural: one boy, two boys. They can be used with either a singular or a plural verb: one boy jumps, two boys jump.

Here are some examples:

  • one chair
  • two chairs
  • one car
  • two cars

2. Uncountable nouns

Uncountable nouns are usually things which cannot easily be counted, like ‘love’, ‘advice’ or ‘water’. Uncountable nouns do not make a plural or change their form, and they are always used with a singular verb. We can’t say one advice, two advice.These nouns cannot be combined with numbers.

  • love
  • butter
  • weather
  • money
  • wine
  • sugar

If you want to express a quantity, you have to use a unit phrase e.g. a glass of wine, a spoon of sugar.

 

Some examples of units are 

Uncountable Noun Unit
information a piece of information
bread a slice of bread
luck a bit of luck
grass a blade of grass
poetry a poem

3. Nouns both Countable and Uncountable

Some nouns can be countable or uncountable depending on the context

Here are some examples:

hair – hairs

  • You’ve got a hair in your soup. (A countable number.)
  • Your hair looks lovely. (Here you think of the hairstyle, too many hairs to count.)

paper – papers

  • I bought a paper this morning ( A specific newspaper.)
  • I need some paper (Uncountable as paper in general.)