COUNTABLE AND UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
Countable nouns are for things we can count
dog, horse, man, shop, idea.
They usually have a singular and plural form.
two dogs, ten horses, a man, six men, the shops, a few ideas.
Uncountable nouns are for the things that we cannot count
tea, sugar, water, air, rice.
They are often the names for abstract ideas or qualities.
knowledge, beauty, anger, fear, love.
They are used with a singular verb. They usually do not have a plural form. We cannot say sugars, angers, knowledges.
Examples of common uncountable nouns:
- money, furniture, happiness, sadness, research, evidence, safety, beauty, knowledge.
We cannot use a/an with these nouns. To express a quantity of one of these nouns, use a word or expression like:
some, a lot of, a piece of, a bit of, a great deal of…
- There has been a lot of research into the causes of this disease.
- He gave me a great deal of advice before my interview.
- They’ve got a lot of furniture.
- Can you give me some information about uncountable nouns?
Some nouns are countable in other languages but uncountable in English. Some of the most common of these are:
BE CAREFUL with the noun ‘hair’ which is normally uncountable in English:
- She has long blonde hair
It can also be countable when referring to individual hairs:
- My father’s getting a few grey hairs now
See also Adjectives – Comparisons of quantity