Countable and Uncountable Nouns: Rules and Examples
Countable nouns definition
Countable nouns refer to items that can be counted, even if the number might be extraordinarily high (like counting all the people in the world, for example). Countable nouns can be used with articles such as a/an and the or quantifiers such as a few and many . Look at the sentence below and pay particular attention to the countable noun:
Here is a cat .
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Cat is singular and countable.
Here are a few cats .
Here are some cats .
Other examples of countable nouns include house, idea, hand, car, flower, and paper .
Uncountable nouns, or mass nouns , are nouns that come in a state or quantity that is impossible to count; liquids are uncountable, as are things that act like liquids (sand, air). Abstract ideas like creativity or courage are also uncountable. Uncountable nouns are always considered to be singular, and can stand alone or be used with some, any, a little, and much. See the examples below for reference:
An I.Q. test measures intelligence .
Intelligence is an uncountable noun.
Students don’t seem to have many homework these days.
Because homework is an uncountable noun, it should be modified by much or a lot of, not many .
Students don’t seem to have much homework these days.
A lot of equipment is required to play hockey safely.
Since uncountable nouns are singular, they also require singular verbs. If you’re ever trying to decide whether to write the information is or the information are , remember that information is an uncountable noun and therefore needs is .
Good information are necessary for making good decisions.
Good information is necessary for making good decisions.
Additional examples of uncountable nouns include water, soil, love, literature, and dust.
Both countable and uncountable nouns
Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, depending on the context of the sentence. Examples of these versatile nouns include light, hair, room, gear, art, and science . See the examples below:
Did you have a good time at the party?
Here, time is countable (a time).
I don’t think I have time to do my hair before I leave.
In this sentence, time is uncountable.
There is some juice on the table.
There are some juices on the table.
In the first sentence, juice refers to the liquid beverage; thus, it is uncountable. In the second sentence, juice refers to the different varieties of juice (e.g., apple, grape, pineapple, etc.), and therefore, is considered a countable noun.
- English (US)
Is the word ( homework) countable or uncountable ?? See a translation
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Usually uncountable. Most people would not say "I have two homeworks". Instead, you would say "I have two homework assignments". You also would not say "I have many homeworks". Instead, you would say "I have a lot of homework".
@nada_m1993 some homework. simply "i have homework." is also good..
Uncountable. You CAN say I have a lot of homework tonight. You would NOT say "I have three homework to do tonight." You CAN say "I have three assignments to do for homework tonight."
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Countable, uncountable: homework
- Thread starter antoit
- Start date Jan 19, 2020
- Jan 19, 2020
Hi, I would like to ask something with reference to this issue of the uncountable. There is a dialogue concerning homeword in my textbook, and I have to fill the gaps with appropriate words, which are listed. This is the text: A: Have you done the howework for tomorrow? B: I've done __ but I haven't finished __ all yet. I would put: them in the first gap and it in the second. Does it make sense? Basically, these two words are those that are left out after feelig the other gaps in the rest of the exercise. But I am not at all sure that it is OK, especially thinking at the uncountable nature of homework. What is your opinion? Thanks.
The sentence itself is not natural regardless of the pronoun. If you say you have done it, then you are saying that you have finished it. (later) I missed something. See post #4
tunaafi said: The sentence itself is not natural regardless of the pronoun. If you say you have done it, then you are saying that you have finished it. Click to expand...
I have no problem with the sentence, which is unremarkable. Homework is uncountable and grammatically singular. That doesn't allow "them". You haven't finished it all yet - what word goes with an uncountable to indicate that you are talking about part of your homework and not all of it?
Andygc said: I have no problem with the sentence, which is unremarkable. Homework is uncountable and grammatically singular. That doesn't allow "them". You haven't finished it all yet - what word goes with an uncountable to indicate that you are talking about part of your homework and not all of it? Click to expand...
- Jan 20, 2020
antoit said: Some? Then: a) some b) it? Click to expand...
- Apr 18, 2021
Is the following sentence idiomatic? "Hey, Mom and Dad! Would you believe our teacher assigned us two homeworks today?"
- Apr 19, 2021
Ali Smith said: Is the following sentence idiomatic? "Hey, Mom and Dad! Would you believe our teacher assigned us two homeworks today?" Click to expand...
Andygc said: Homework is uncountable and grammatically singular. Click to expand...
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Homework: Countable vs Uncountable Nouns
Furniture or furnitures? Advice or advices? It’s not always easy to know whether a word is countable or not, especially when it’s relatively new to you. Being able to do so is, nevertheless essential, so it’s important that students come to recognise the words that cannot be pluralised and therefore always appear in the same form. This handy homework sheet helps students practise Countable and Uncountable Nouns in three different ways.
After downloading your PDF: print it immediately or save and print later. Answers are provided for teachers on the second page.
Make your own worksheets with the free EnglishClub Worksheet Maker !
- English Grammar
Some nouns in English are uncount nouns. We do not use uncount nouns in the plural and we do not use them with the indefinite article a/an :
We ate a lot of food . (NOT foods ) We bought some new furniture . (NOT furnitures ) That's useful information . (NOT a useful information )
We can use some quantifiers with uncount nouns:
He gave me some useful advice . They gave us a lot of information .
Uncount nouns often refer to:
Substances : food, water, wine, salt, bread, iron Human feelings or qualities : anger, cruelty, happiness, honesty, pride Activities : help, sleep, travel, work Abstract ideas : beauty, death, fun, life
Common uncount nouns
Some common nouns in English like information are uncount nouns even though they have plurals in other languages :
Let me give you some advice . How much luggage have you got?
If we want to make these things countable, we use expressions like:
Let me give you a piece of advice. That's a useful piece of equipment. We bought a few bits of furniture for the new apartment. She had six separate items of luggage.
However, accommodation , money and traffic cannot be made countable in this way. We need to use other expressions:
I've lived in three flats/apartments . (NOT bits of accommodation ) Smith received three large sums of money . (NOT pieces of money ) We got stuck in two traffic jams . (NOT pieces of traffic )
Hello, I am a bit confused about the word "vocabulary". Is it used as countable or uncountable noun? If I refer to words, to the process of learning new words, should I use "vocabulary" or "vocabularies"? E.g. "Reading is one of the best ways to improve new vocabulary" Is it right as countable or uncountable noun? Thanks for help.
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' vocabulary ' can be either countable or uncountable, but in the context you're asking about (meaning 1 on the linked page), it's generally uncountable. Reading is good for 'expanding your vocabulary', 'improving your vocabulary' or 'learning new vocabulary' (but not 'improve new vocabulary').
Sometimes teachers will talk about 'vocabulary items' or 'lexical items', but these are somewhat technical terms that most people wouldn't use. Most will use one of the three phrases I suggested above.
Best wishes, Kirk LearnEnglish team
Thanks a lot Kirk, and sorry for my mistake! I will look at it as uncountable noun.
Sir, I would like to know that the word -vitamin K- is countable or uncountable. ============== We should eat broccoli that contains vitamin K. ============== Is that vitamin adjective which describes the word (Noun) K. Could you explain me please, Sir.
The word 'vitamin' is countable, but 'Vitamin K' (and all other specific vitamins ) is uncountable.
I'd say that the word 'vitamin' in 'vitamin K' is a noun modifier , that is, a noun acting adjectivally.
All the best, Kirk The LearnEnglish Team
Thank you Sir.
Why furniture is uncountable? How about plant? Why is it countable?
It's a bit difficult to explain why because the reason is to do with the ways that speakers of English see and understand the world, and the words that they create to talk about the world.
For some reason, it was important for people to have a word to talk about the whole group of chairs, tables and other similar items as a general concept, without considering them as individual things - and that word is "furniture", the uncountable noun. Similarly, for "plant" (countable), for some reason it was important for people to talk about them as individual units, rather than as a general amount.
So I'm afraid I can't fully answer your question, but I hope that helps a bit.
The LearnEnglish Team
Hello there, I think we can deal with question this way: 'Furniture' is a collection of objects, so it is a 'group of things' 'Plant' is a single thing So 'furniture' is a bunch of 'countable' objects, and is therefore a 'countable noun' But 'plant' is a 'single object' and is therefore an 'uncountable noun'. (You cannot 'count' plants.)
What you say is correct except for your conclusions. As Jonathan said, 'furniture' is uncountable and 'plant' is countable.
All the best, Kirk LearnEnglish team
Hello sir ,
Can we say one , two , three information or advice ?
Because I heard many native say that .
No, because "information" and "advice" are uncountable. If you want to say the number, a countable word such as "piece(s)" or "bit(s)" needs to be added. For example:
- one piece of information
- three bits of advice
I can't explain why you may have heard other people say that, but I can assure you that "one/two/three information" (etc.) is considered incorrect.
I hope that helps.
You can find the answer to this sort of question in a good dictionary. A corridor refers to a space inside a larger space, whereas a treadmill is a kind of machine or has a meaning related to that.
All the best,
The correct choice in the first sentence is 'energy' as it is an uncountable noun in this context.
In the second sentence the plural form is correct ('absences') as it refers to multiple instances.
In the third sentence both answers are possible. Generally, we would use the plural ('sicknesses') here but it's possible to use the singular form to mean ' ...from any (kind of) sickness '.
In the first sentence, ' meal ' is a count noun. This is because the quantifier 'every' is only used with count nouns. You can also check this in the dictionary -- if you follow the first link, you'll see [ C ] just above the definition. This indicates it is a count noun. ([ U ] is used with uncount nouns.)
' beach ' is also a count noun.
Yes, we can! For example, money is an uncount noun, and we can say the money, my money, this money or whose money . These are all specific determiners.
You can find more examples and exercises on our grammar page on Specific and general determiners .
Hello Navreet Bhardwaj
Except for 'to' (it should be 'I went home' instead of 'I went to home'), yes, that is grammatically correct.
All the best
Hello Ridg Wick,
A count noun is one which can be plural. For example, we can say one chair (singular) but also two chairs, three chairs, a thousand chairs etc (all plural).
An uncount noun has no plural form. We can only talk about quantity, not number. For example, we can say some milk, some more milk, a lot of milk, a glass of milk, a litre of milk etc, and all of these have a singular noun. We do not say milks .
I would say that the verb in that sentence should be plural: '...diversity and inclusion create... '
I don't know the source for the sentence you quoted, but remember that even the most careful writers can make mistakes, especially when a text is edited and changed over time. For example, the text might once have said '...a focus on diversity and inclusion creates...', and then been edited to remove 'a focus on', leaving an ungrammatical verb.
Hi Abfalter Cristian,
'a lot of money' is the correct option here. The opposite is 'little money'. In both cases, 'money' is an uncount noun.
You're welcome! All of the sentences you ask about are correct -- good work.
In the questions about how much luggage and furniture, the subject of the verb 'have' is 'you', which is why it is correct. The question 'How much furniture is good?' is correct because 'furniture' (like the word 'luggage') is uncount and therefore it takes a singular verb.
Does that make sense?
Hi Ali boroki,
As far as I know, this just how English speakers see wishes, ideas, fun and happiness. I suppose once could say that a wish is count because it is usually for a specific thing and that an idea is similar, but of course you could argue that they are not so concrete and would make more sense as uncount nouns. But that's not how native speakers of English imagine these concepts.
The same is true of 'happiness' and 'fun' -- we just imagine these concepts as being uncountable and so the nouns are uncount.
I expect this may not be a very satisfying answer for you; if so, I'm sorry! On the other hand, this is one of the things that I enjoy about learning other languges -- you come to realise that there are so many different ways of seeing the world.
'Food' is a word that is uncountable in most contexts. The uncountable form is always correct as far as I am aware, but there are some contexts in which we can it it as a countable noun. These are cases when we want to make it clear that we are talking about different types of food .
Your first sentence is referring to whatever food is in the fridge without distinguishing between types so 'food' is correct. Your second sentence is referring to different types of a particular category of food - different types of snack food - so the countable form is appropriate here.
There are many nouns which function in a similar way, such as coffee , time and space .
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Are _____ _______?
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Are you old?
Are we old?
Nouns - Countable and Uncountable
Review of countable nouns.
Two chair s
Three table s
Three chair s
Four table s
Five chair s
Six table s
These nouns are easy to count so we count them.
Review of uncountable nouns
Liquids / hard to count.
There are different amounts of water in each picture, but all are still called water.
There are different amounts of rice in each picture, but all are still called rice.
Uncountable material but with countable forms
cake - uncountable
slice of cake - countable form = slice
cake - countable as a whole cake
piece of cake - countable form = piece
'Cake' is uncountable but it has three countable forms: slice, whole and piece. For example:
two slices of cake
four pieces of cake
'Chocolate' is also uncountable but it has three countable forms: bar, piece and whole.
Nouns where 'pieces' is the countable form
We will look at some uncountable nouns where their countable form is 'piece'.
Is 'food' countable or uncountable?
- 'Food' is uncountable. Let's look at why.
One piece of food
Two pieces of food
Six pieces of food
On their own, pizzas and hamburgers can be counted. When they are together and called 'food', they can not be counted.
There is a lot of food on the table. - Correct
There is a lot of food s on the table. - Incorrect
'Food' is uncountable and so 'foods' is incorrect.
This is what you need to make Mexican food. - Correct
This is what you need to make Mexican food s . - Incorrect
When I go to a pub, I have snack food. - Correct
When I go to a pub, I have snack food s . - Incorrect
There are lots of different types of food here but 'food' is uncountable so it is without the 's'.
Food and the countable form 'pieces'
Five pieces of food
Lots of pieces of food
'Piece' can be counted (one piece, two pieces, three pieces, some pieces etc.) but 'food' remains uncountable.
Is 'furniture' countable or uncountable?
- 'Furniture' is uncountable. Let's look at why.
One piece of furniture
Two pieces of furniture
Six pieces of furniture
Furniture is a noun which describes things in the home. Chairs, tables, sofas, beds, wardrobes etc are pieces of furniture.
There's a lot of furniture.
There's a little furniture.
Both these pictures have furniture. One has more than the other but we still use the uncountable noun 'furniture'. We never say 'furniture s '.
'Pieces' of furniture
There are two chairs and one table in the room. COUNTABLE ITEMS
There are three pieces of furniture in the room. COUNTABLE FORM
There is some furniture in the room. UNCOUNTABLE
There are six chairs, one sofa and two lamps in the room.
There are nine pieces of furniture in the room.
There is a lot of furniture in the room.
Other example sentences
I need to buy a lot of new furniture for my new house.
I'm looking at some new furniture for my bedroom. What do you recommend?
Old furniture is my favourite. I love the dated look.
Wooden furniture is the best, but only dark wood.
I have to make all the flat-pack furniture that came yesterday. I'm going to be tired tomorrow.
Is 'homework' countable or uncountable?
- 'Homework' is uncountable. Let's look at why.
One piece of English homework
One piece of maths homework
Three piece s of English homework
Four piece s of maths homework
The countable form of homework is 'piece'.
Mum: Did you get any homework today?
Son: Yes, I got two pieces of English and some maths.
Mum: When are they due?
Son: The maths is for tomorrow and the English is for next Monday.
Breaking the conversation down
Mum is asking if her son if he received homework. 'Any' is used to prompt a more specific answer - not just 'yes' or 'no'.
The son replies with the countable form of 'homework' (pieces) for English and the uncountable determiner for maths (some). We do not know if there is one piece, two pieces, or more. We do know there is not a lot.
Mum asks when the pieces of homework should be given back to the teachers.
The maths homework is due for tomorrow and the English homework (two pieces but IT IS NOT 'homeworks') is due next Monday.
I have four homework s due tomorrow.
She has not done her three homework s .
My teacher gave me three maths homework s and two science homework s .
I have four pieces of homework due tomorrow.
She has not done her three pieces of homework.
My teacher gave me three pieces of maths homework and two pieces of science homework.
You can play when you've finished all your homework.
Did you get much homework today?
I hate Mr. Simpson - he always gives at least two pieces of homework per day.
Doing homework will never be fun.
If I don't understand the homework, I ask my older brother.
Is 'fruit' countable or uncountable?
- Fruit is uncountable. Let's see why:
One piece of fruit
Two pieces of fruit
Four pieces of fruit
Three pieces of fruit
Eight pieces of fruit
The countable form of fruit is 'piece'.
There is a lot of fruit.
There is some fruit.
There are three piece of fruit
A: Can I have some fruit please?
B: How many pieces to do want?
A: Can I have three apples, one pineapple and a few oranges?
B: Here you go.
A: Did you buy any fruit?
B: Yes, I got a few pieces.
A: What type of fruit did you buy?
B: I got three peaches.
A: Oh, lovely.
Fruit is my favourite dessert to have. It's so refreshing.
What kind of fruit do you like?
Would you like a piece of fruit? I've got some delicious pears today.
You never put tomato in a fruit salad!
I make a smoothie every morning using lots of different fruit.
'Furniture', 'Homework' and 'Fruit' are uncountable nouns.
They are words for groups of different items .
Two chairs and one table is a group of furniture.
There is a lot of fruit .
NOTE: there are lots of pieces of fruit. Fruit is the name of a group of items, like apples, pears, bananas etc.
One chair, one table and two sofas is a group of furniture.
There is some fruit .
NOTE: there are three pieces of fruit. Fruit is the name of a group of items, like apples, pears, bananas etc.
Clothes is an uncountable noun. It is used to describe a group of different items.
The countable form is 'piece' or 'item'.
There are a lot of clothes.
There are about 25 pieces of clothes.
There are not a lot of clothes.
There are three pieces of clothes.
Sushi is an uncountable noun. It is the game of a group of different items.
The countable form is 'piece'.
There are six pieces of sushi. = COUNTABLE FORM
There is some sushi. = UNCOUNTABLE
There are 12 pieces of sushi. = COUNTABLE FORM
There is a lot of sushi. = UNCOUNTABLE
There is one piece of sushi. = COUNTABLE FORM
There is not a lot of sushi. = UNCOUNTABLE