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 both of these and it is something that will be explained in this article.
Countable nouns can be counted using numbers:-
I have four dogs.
They can also be singular:-
I have a dog.
They 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 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.
They are usually things such as:-
Activities, homework, music, sleep, work
|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
- Enough / Not enough
- Too much / not much
- A piece of
- So much
“A lot of” / “Not a lot of”
As you may have noticed already, “a lot of” and “not a lot of” appear in both lists and can be used for either type of noun. For this reason you may find it easier to use just these if you are struggling to remember which you can use.
Countable And Uncountable Nouns Quiz
Now test your knowledge with the quiz!
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