Countable and uncountable nouns

In English there are two types of noun, countable (aka count) and uncountable (aka noncount). There is a difference in the wording that can be used with countable nouns and uncountable nouns and it is something that will be explained in this article.

Countable nouns

Countable nouns are nouns that can be counted using numbers:-

I have four dogs.

They can also be singular:-

I have a dog.

Countable nouns are usually physical items separate from each other.

Words we can use to describe countable nouns:-

  • A lot of / not a lot of
  • Many / not many
  • A few
  • So many
  • A number of

Uncountable nouns

Uncountable nouns can’t be counted with numbers:-

  • Could you give me some water?
  • I want to give you a bit of advice.
  • I need lots of rice.

Uncountable nouns are usually things such as:-

Activitieshomework, music, sleep, work

Type Examples
Activities homework, music, sleep, work
Concepts, thoughts enthusiasm, fun, help, information, intelligence, knowledge, love, progress, wisdom
Groups accommodation, apparatus, equipment, food, fruit, furniture, luggage, rubbish, stuff, traffic
Substances, ingredients cheese, coffee, dirt, fat, fire, gravy, hair, honey, juice, muscle, salt, skin, tea, water

Words we can use to describe uncountable nouns:-

  • A bit of
  • A lot of / not a lot of
  • Some
  • Enough / Not enough
  • Too much / not much
  • A piece of
  • So much

Practise exercise

Fill in the gap for each sentence:-

I’m so thirsty, I need … water
I always carry at least 8 pens with me. I need … because I keep losing them!
I have 5 mobile phones now! maybe I have …
We should make it in time, although there is … traffic.
I have … information to tell you
You have … jobs now, you must be exhausted!
I haven’t got … time now.
Can I have … of your chocolate?
I’ve got an exciting … news.
Last night I drank 7 bottles of beer, do you think it was …