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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 NounUnit
informationa piece of information
breada slice of bread
lucka bit of luck
grassa blade of grass
poetrya 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.)