Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Countable nouns include people, animals,
places, things, or ideas that can be counted using numbers.
can count pencils. We can have one, two, three or more pencils.
Countable Nouns have both singular and
plural forms (e.g. pen/pens; man/men; country/countries).
A buffalo gives milk. (Singular)
Buffaloes give milk. (Plural)
a) A child is playing in the park. (Singular)
Children are playing in the park. (Plural)
Most countable noun is preceded by a/an,
e.g. a book, a girl, a child, an apple.
We use ‘an’ before a countable noun that
begins with a vowel sound (20 vowel sounds). Example: an egg, an
ostrich, an ant, an heir, etc.
When a word begins with a consonant sound
(24 sounds), we use ‘a’ before it. Example: a bag, a radio.
In addition to ‘a’ / ‘an’, the countable
nouns is also preceded by word such as one, two, many etc.
Example: one toy, a few sticks; many girls, ten books, etc.
words such as two, three, four, many, few etc. are used with plural countable
nouns, whereas ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘one’ are used with singular countable nouns.
She has two dolls.
He owns a bungalow.
I would like to buy three books.
How many chocolates do you have?
There are at least twenty hotels in this
Mira took a lot of photographs of her
Your bag is on the table.
1. Anything that cannot be counted using
number is an uncountable noun. We use uncountable nouns for abstract ideas or
qualities or for physical objects that are too small to be counted (liquids,
powders, gases, etc.). They are considered as a whole or mass as they cannot be
separated or counted.
Ideas and experiences:
advice, information, progress, news, luck, fun, work etc.
Materials and substances:
water, rice, oil, cement, gold, milk, wood, metal, cheese, sand, rice, coffee, air,
oxygen, wood, steel, tea, gold, silver etc.
weather, thunder, lightning, rain, snow etc.
Names for groups or
collections of things: furniture, equipment, rubbish, luggage,
fruit, food, vocabulary, news, French, chemistry, economics, science, math etc.
Other common uncountable
nouns include: accommodation, baggage, homework,
knowledge, money, permission, research, traffic, travel, information, advice, education,
democracy, intelligence, electricity, sunshine, radiation, heat, magnetism etc.
always wears expensive jewelry.
this your luggage?
They are always singular and we must always
use singular verbs in conjunction with uncountable nouns. They
usually do not have a plural form. Abstract nouns like love, kindness,
sweetness, pride, beauty, happiness, pain, feelings, ideas, air, weather, etc.
are uncountable nouns.
To denote the quantity of uncountable
nouns, we use words like little; a little; much or a lot of.
We hardly say: Give me one milk or I
like a milk.
Our mentor gives me a lot of encouragement.
There is a little water in the glass.
There is no plural form for an uncountable
This hanging is made of jute.
The jute crop is grown in West Bengal.
act as countable or uncountable on the basis of their structure or context.
Study the following set of sentences.
Gold is used for making ornaments. (Here
gold is uncountable as it is a material )
India won many gold medals in the Asian
Games. (Here gold medals are countable)
alms, etc. are always used as plurals.
My heartiest congratulations! You won the
He gives alms to the poor.
trousers, pants, spectacles, goggles, scissors, drawers, tights, shorts, jeans etc.
are also used only as plural. However we use ‘a pair of’, ‘a piece of’, ‘a set
of’, etc. before them.
I bought a new pair of glasses.
I will buy a pair of jeans to go with this
He gifted me a piece of jewelry on my
forms of countable and uncountable nouns are preceded by ‘some’, when the
quantity or number is not specified. We use ‘some’ for affirmative statements
and ‘any’ for the negative statements or for questions with countable and
me some butter please.
aren’t any teachers in the staff room.
haven’t got any certificates or any awards.
you got any mangoes or any drink?
are some mangoes on the table.
need some water.
were some girls in the room.
need some help.
Words like foot, mile, hour, month, second, page,
block, etc. are singular when used before the noun.
Example: a 5 foot
structure; a 24 page document; a 20 rupee note, a two hour documentary etc.
But when they are used after the nouns they take the plural
Example: a structure of 5
feet, a document of 24 pages, a note of 20 rupees.