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This collection includes everything you'd like to learn about countable and uncountable nouns, including exercises.

Study Set Content:
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Shaimaa Shemeis 

Countable / Uncountable: 

A noun can be countable or uncountable. 

 

Countable 

 

 

Uncountable 

 
Countable nouns are 

things we can 

count

 
A countable noun can be 

singular

 

(banana) 

or plural

 (bananas). 

 
 

Examples: 

 

  I eat a banana every day. 

  I like bananas. 

  We do not have enough cups. 

 

 
Uncountable nouns are 

things we 

can not count

 
An uncountable noun has 

only one 

form

 (rice).

 

 

Examples: 

 

  I eat rice every day. 

  I like rice. 

  We do not have enough water. 

 

 

We use how much and how many to ask about quantities. 

 

How much + uncountable nouns 

 

How many + countable nouns 

 

Examples: 

  Countable: How many apples do you want? 

  Uncountable: How much rice do you want? 

 

 

 

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Shaimaa Shemeis 

Some / Any: 

 

 

Some 

 

 

Any 

 
We use 

some

 with 

affirmative

 

sentences with

 

both

 

countable and 

uncountable nouns. 
 

Examples: 
 

  There are some potatoes. 

  There is some water.

 

 

 
We use 

any

 with 

negative

 

sentences, with both countable and 
uncountable nouns. 
 

Examples: 
 

 

We haven’t got any bananas. 

 

We have not got any bread.

 

 
We use 

some

 in 

questions 

when 

we 

ask for things 

and

 offer things

 

Examples: 
 

  Can I have some water? 

  Would you like some chips? 

 

 
We use 

any

 with both countable and 

uncountable nouns in

 questions. 

 

Examples: 
 

  Are there any tomatoes? 

  Is there any meat? 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shaimaa Shemeis 

A / An: 

 

 

 

An 

 

  
Before singular count nouns that 
begin with consonant. 
 

Examples: 
 

  She is a 

p

hotographer.

 

  He is a 

t

eacher.

 

 

It’s a 

h

at.

 

 

 
Before singular count nouns that 
begin with a vowel sound. 
 

Examples: 
 

  She is an 

a

rtist

  He is an 

e

ngineer. 

 

It’s an 

u

mbrella. 

 
Do not put a / an before plural nouns. Instead, use plural countable nouns 
alone. 

 

Examples: 
 

  I like bananas. 

  Accidents can be prevented. 

 

 

 

 

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Shaimaa Shemeis 

A lot of / Much / Many: 

 

 

A lot of 

 

Much 

 

Many 

 

 
We use 

a lot of

 in 

affirmative

 and 

negative

 sentences, 

and in 

questions, 

with

 

both countable and 
uncountable nouns

 

 

Examples: 
 

  I eat a lot of fish. 

  I drink a lot of milk. 

 
 

 
We use 

much

 in 

negative

 sentences 

and 

questions, 

with

 

uncountable nouns. 
 

We never

 

use much in 

affirmative sentences. 
 

 

Examples: 
 

 

I don’t eat much

 

salt

  Do you eat much 

salt? 

 

N.B. A lot of can also be 
used in these cases

 

I don’t eat a lot of 
salt. 

  Do you eat a lot of 

salt? 

 

 
We use 

many

 in 

negative

 sentences 

and 

questions 

with

 

countable nouns.

 

 
 
 

 
 

Examples: 
 

 

I don’t eat many 
cakes. 

  Do you have many 

books? 

 

N.B. A lot of can also be 
used in these cases

 

I don’t eat a lot of 
cakes. 

  Do you have a lot of 

books? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shaimaa Shemeis 

Exercises: 

A.  Write whether these are countable or uncountable

1. 

milk →         

2. 

room →         

3. 

butter →        

4. 

song →       

5. 

music →        

6. 

minute →        

7. 

tea →       

8. 

child →        

9. 

key →  

 

B.  Write the correct word a / an or some 

1.  I have __________good idea. 

2. 

That’s __________ interesting job! 

3.  They have found _________   gold in that old mine. 

4.  Do the Smiths have _____________   yellow van? 

5.  Look! He's having ___________  sandwiches. 

6.  He always likes __________ piece of chocolate. 

7.  I have _________ homework to do for tomorrow. 

8.  There's _________nice girl in the red car. 

9.  Would you like _________ milk with your cookies? 

10. How about _________ grapes? 

 

 

 

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Shaimaa Shemeis 

 

C.  Use 

“How many” or “How much”. 

 

1.  _________ stars are there in the sky? 

2.  __________   people live on islands? 

3.  __________ birds are there? 

4. __________water is in the ocean? 

5. ______________money is in a bank? 

6.  _____________countries are there in the world? 

7.  ____________bread is eaten per day? 

8.  ____________       bones are there in the human body? 

9.  ___________       sand is in the deserts? 

10. ______________       information is on the internet? 

 

 

D.  Use 

“much” or “many” 

 

1. There isn't ___________milk left in the fridge. 

2. You shouldn't eat so __________      sweets. 

3. My friend doesn't eat   __________     fruit. 

4. I don't have ________      time to practice basketball. 

5. There aren't  __________     people in the shops today? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shaimaa Shemeis 

Answer Key: 

A. 

1. 

milk → 

uncountable

 

2. 

room → 

countable

 

3. 

butter → 

uncountable

 

4. 

song → 

countable

 

5. 

music → 

uncountable

 

6. 

minute → 

countable

 

7. 

tea → 

uncountable

 

8. 

child → 

countable

 

9. 

key → 

countable

 

 

 

B. 

1.  I have 

a

 good idea. 

2.  That's 

an

 interesting job! 

3.  They have found 

some

 gold in that old mine. 

4.  Do the Smiths have 

a

 yellow van? 

5.  Look! He's having 

some

 sandwiches. 

6.  He always likes 

a

 piece of chocolate. 

7.  I have 

some

 homework to do for tomorrow. 

8.  There's 

a

 nice girl in the red car. 

9.  Would you like 

some

 milk with your cookies? 

10. How about 

some

 grapes? 

 

 

 

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Shaimaa Shemeis 

C. 

1. 

How many

 stars are there in the sky? 

2. 

How many

 people live on islands? 

3. 

How many

 birds are there? 

4. 

How much

 water is in the ocean? 

5. 

How much

 money is in a bank? 

6. 

How many

 countries are there in the world? 

7. 

How much

 bread is eaten per day? 

8. 

How many

 bones are there in the human body? 

9. 

How much

 sand is in the deserts? 

10. 

How much

 information is on the internet? 

 

 

D.  

1.  There isn't 

much

 milk left in the fridge. 

2.  You shouldn't eat so 

many

 sweets. 

3.  My friend doesn't eat 

much

 fruit. 

4.  I don't have 

much

 time to practice basketball. 

5.  There aren't 

many

 people in the shops today? 

 

 

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Table Of Contents:

Countable Nouns
Singular and Plural
Determiners
A/an
The
No Article
Uncountable Nouns
Determiners
Making Uncountable Things Countable – Quantity Expressions
Nouns That Can Be Countable and Uncountable
How to Use Countables and Uncountables
Countable Nouns
Statements
Negatives
Questions
Uncountable Nouns
Statements
Negatives
Questions
Grammar in Action

You probably already know that 

nouns

 are words that name people, places, things, or ideas.

You might also remember that there are different categories of nouns based on certain
features they share. For example we can distinguish 

abstract

 and 

concrete nouns

.

Another way we can categorize nouns is whether they are countable or uncountable. In this
article, we’ll explain the difference between these two categories, look at the examples of
both and see why it is important to know whether a noun is countable or uncountable.

So, as we’ve already mentioned, nouns in English can be countable or uncountable.

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via https://www.kidsworldfun.com/learn-english/countable-and-uncountable-nouns.php

Countable Nouns

As their name suggests, countable nouns are those that refer to something that can be
counted. For example, we can count cars:

one car, two cars, three cars…

Even if the number might be extraordinarily high (like counting all the stars in the sky),
countable nouns can be individually counted.

Some more examples of countable nouns:

car, man, bottle, house, key, idea, accident
dog, cat, animal, man, person
cup, plate, fork
table, chair, suitcase, bag,
 etc.

Concrete

 nouns may be countable.

New cars are very expensive.
I got some books from the library yesterday.

Collective nouns (words that denote a group of people or things) are countable.

She attended three classes last week.

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This house is perfect for two families.

Even some 

proper

 nouns are countable.

There are many Italians in New York.
There are five Johns in the room.

Singular and Plural

Since countable nouns can be counted, they can be 

singular

 (=one) and 

plural

 (=two or

more):

singular

plural

accident

accidents

banana

bananas

couch

couches

dream

dreams

neighbourhood neighbourhoods

You probably remember that plural forms of nouns usually have the ‘-s‘ (‘-es‘) ending. For
example:

There is an egg.
There are four eggs.
They’ve got great toys for babies here.
We need to get some new dishes for this evening.

Learn more about how to form the plural forms 

here

.

Note that singular verbs are used with singular countable nouns, while plural verbs are
used with plural countable nouns.

Your book is on the kitchen table.
How many candles are on that birthday cake?

Determiners

Countable nouns can be used with 

articles

 such as a/an and the, numbers or 

quantifiers

such as a few, a lot and many. These words in general are called 

determiners

 because they

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describe nouns, i.e. make it clear what a noun refers to. For example:

I bought a jacket and a shirt.
My house is 
near the center.
There’s a lot of flowers in the garden.
She’s got two sisters and a younger brother.

You can’t use singular countable nouns alone, i.e. without a/the/my, etc.

We can’t get into the house without a key. (not key)
I want a banana. (not banana)
Paris is an interesting city.

A/an

We use ‘a’ and ‘an’ with singular countable nouns when we do not need to make clear
which person or thing we are talking about:

an accident, a banana, a couch, a dream, a neighbourhood.

Learn more about using a/an with nouns 

here

.

The

When people can understand which person or thing we mean, we use ‘the‘ with singular
and plural countable nouns:

The pie won the prize but the judges didn’t like the cookies.

Learn more about using the with nouns 

here

.

No Article

We use no article (the so-called ‘

zero article

‘) with plural countable nouns and with

uncountable nouns when we are talking in general:

Dogs usually don’t like cats.
Good health is more important than money.

Unlike singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns can be used alone:

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I like bananas.
Accidents can be prevented.

We can use ‘some’ and ‘any‘ with plural countable nouns meaning ‘a bit, a quantity of‘. We
use ‘some’ in affirmative sentences and ‘any’ in negative sentences and questions:

I’d like some bananas, please.
Did you buy any apples?

We use ‘many‘ and ‘few‘ with plural countable nouns.

We didn’t take many pictures.
I have a few words to say.

Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable nouns are seen as a whole or mass. They cannot be separated or counted
and come in a state or quantity that is impossible to count. For example, we cannot count
air:

one air, two airs, three airs…

Examples of uncountable nouns include:

– 

abstract nouns

homework, knowledge, money, permission, research, traffic, travel

 ideas and experiencesadvice, information, progress, news, luck, fun, work
– materials and substanceswater, rice, cement, gold, milk
– food and drinksjuice, wine, meat, rice, bread, cheese, coffee
– weather wordsweather, thunder, lightning, rain, snow
– names for groups or collections of thingsfurniture, equipment, rubbish, luggage

Uncountable nouns are always considered to be singular. They have no plural, even if they
end in ‘-s‘. The verb form is singular and we can use some.

Put some sugar.
How much wine is there?
Your hair is really long!
The news was a complete shock!

NOT: advices, informations, moneys, musics, waters.

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Thus, uncountable nouns have always only one form:

money — the money — my money — some money — much money etc.

I’ve got some money.
There isn’t much money in the box.
Money isn’t everything.

There are, however, some uncountable nouns that are plural and are followed by a plural
verb
. Be careful with the following words:

clothes
Your clean clothes are on the bed.

jeans
Your new jeans look great!

Determiners

Uncountable nouns can stand alone or be used with determiners (e.g. my, hersome,
any
nothe, this, that) and expressions of quantity (e.g. a lot of, (a) little, some, much):

She’s been studying hard and has made a lot of progress.
This coffee is a bit old, I’m afraid.
I’d like some water, please.
There is a lot of snow on the road.
They gave me some information about the courses.

Since uncountable nouns have no plural, we can’t use ‘a’ and ‘an’ with them:

NOT: an advice, an information, a money, a music, a water.

As we have seen, some determiners can be used with all nouns whether countable or
uncountable. For example, the word ‘some‘ can be used with both:

I would like some crackers.
He would like some water.

However, other determiners can only be used with countable nouns and some can only be
used with uncountable nouns. For example, the article ‘a‘ is used with singular countable

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nouns and isn’t used with uncountable nouns:

I would like a sandwich.
I would like some juice.
 (Not: I would like a juice.)

With uncountable nouns we use the determiners ‘much‘ and ‘little‘:

There isn’t much milk in the bottle.
They have little money.

Making Uncountable Things Countable – Quantity Expressions

Uncountable nouns can be paired with words expressing plural concept. These are words
and phrases like ‘a glass of’, ‘a bottle of’ or ‘a piece of’ or words for containers and
measures. We cannot say ‘an information’ or ‘a music’. But we can say a ‘something’ of.

In short, uncountable nouns can become countable when the noun is in a container. For
example:

some sugar — a bag of sugar
some water — a bottle of water
some cereal — a bowl of cereal

Thus, you can’t say ‘two waters’ but you can say ‘two bottles of water’.

Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
I’d like a glass of water, please.
We bought two bottles of wine.
This is a beautiful piece of music.
I bought you a bar of chocolate.

Note: In informal English, we can say 'a coffee', 'three waters', etc.
with
the meaning 'a cup of coffee', 'three glasses/bottles of water', etc.

Sometimes uncountable nouns are used as countable, to mean ‘a measure of something’ or
a type of something’:

Can I have two teas and one coffee, please? (two cups of tea and one cup of coffee
…?)

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There are some juices on the table. (different types of juice)

Nouns That Can Be Countable and Uncountable

Sometimes, the same noun can be both countable and uncountable, often with a change of
meaning. The meaning will depend of the context.

Consider the following examples:

Our house has seven rooms. – Is there room for me to sit here? (‘rooms’ vs ‘space’)
Have you got a paper to read? – I want to write a letter. Have you got some paper?
(‘magazine’ vs ‘paper’)
There are four lights in our bedroom. – Close the curtain. There’s too much light!
(‘lamps’ vs ‘light’)
I had some interesting experiences while I was travelling. – They offered me the job
because I had a lot of experience. (‘things that happened to me’ vs ‘not experiences’)

TIP: Some words that are uncountable in English may be countable in
other
languages. In English these words are uncountable - that means that we
can't say 'a/an' ... (a bread, an advice) and they can't be plural
(advices, furnitures):

accommodation advice

information

fruit

homework news

transport

traffic

luggage

music

pasta

money

damage

behavior weather

How to Use Countables and Uncountables

Why is it so important to know whether a noun is countable or uncountable? That’s because
we use different words with countables and uncountables — see the rules below.

Countable Nouns

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Statements

In positive sentences, we use:

A / AN + singular countable noun SOME + plural countable noun
There is a cat in the garden.

There are some birds in the trees.

I’ll have a cup of coffee.

He has some great ideas.

Note: Though 'any' is mainly used in negative sentences and questions,
we can use it in positive statements with the meaning 'not important
which
'.
You can have any three items of clothing you like for $30.
- They should be here any minute.

Negatives

In negative sentences, we use:

A / AN + singular countable noun ANY + plural countable noun
There isn’t a dog in the garden.

There aren’t any birds in the tree.

He hasn’t got a car.

We didn’t take any pictures.

See more examples:

To make pancakes…

… you need a frying pan.
… you don’t need
 an electric mixer.
… you need
 some plates.  
… you don’t need
 any chopsticks.

Questions

In questions, we use a/anany and how many:

A / AN + singular
countable noun

ANY +
countable noun

HOW MANY + plural
countable noun

Is there an apple on the
tree?

Are there any chairs in the
garden?

How many books are there?

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Do you have a car?

Are any of your friends
here?

How many lessons will you
have tomorrow?

Uncountable Nouns

Statements

In positive sentences, we use:

SOME + uncountable noun
I need some sugar in my coffee.
There is some milk on the floor.

Negatives

In negative sentences, we use:

ANY + uncountable noun
He didn’t buy any apple juice.
He doesn’t have any money left.

Questions

In questions, we use any and how much:

ANY + uncountable noun HOW MUCH + uncountable noun
Is there any sugar?

How much wine is there?

Do you have any luggageHow much luggage do you have?

Compare:

How many + plural countable noun How much + uncountable noun
How many eggs
 are there? – Six.

How much milk is there? – A litre.

How many plates are there? – Four. How much flour is there? – 500g.

LET’S SUMMARIZE:

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https://slideplayer.com/slide/4115666/

Note the verb forms. Singular nouns take singular verbs, while plural nouns take plural
verbs:

There is a frying pan. (singular noun)
There aren’t any eggs. (plural noun)
There is some milk. (uncountable noun)
There isn’t any flour. (uncountable noun)

Grammar in Action

So, how should we use expressions with countable and uncountable nouns in everyday
situations?

1. We use a/ansome and any with nouns to talk or ask about the quantity of something, for
example, when talking about food:

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Have you got any cheese or meat? I could make a pasta dish. – Great idea. I’ve got
some tomatoes and a chilly pepper. We could add them, too.

2. We use a/an and some with nouns to make requests, for example, when we are at a
restaurant:

We’ll have some water and some bread, please. – I’d also like a glass of orange
juice
.

3. We use some with nouns when we offer something, for example, to our guests:

Would you like some toasts or some cake? – Yes, with pleasure.

Here’s a good video from mmmEmglish explaining what countable and uncountable nouns
are and how they are used:

See also:

Abstract and Concrete Nouns

Plural and Singular Nouns

Pronouns and Determiners: Quantifiers

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