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  • How to Tell If a Noun Is Countable or Uncountable | Examples

How to Tell if a Noun is Countable or Uncountable | Examples

Published on June 21, 2019 by Fiona Middleton . Revised on April 18, 2023.

Uncountable nouns , also known as mass nouns or noncount nouns, refer to a mass of something or an abstract concept that can’t be counted (except with a unit of measurement). In contrast, countable nouns can be counted as individual items.

The main rules to remember for uncountable nouns are that they cannot be pluralized , and that they never take indefinite articles (“a” or “an”).

Table of contents

Countable noun or uncountable noun, are uncountable nouns singular or plural, using articles with uncountable nouns, numbers and amounts, “research” and “data”, other interesting language articles.

Some nouns in English, like those in the table above, are always (or nearly always) uncountable. Many other nouns, however, can be countable or uncountable depending on the context.

To identify whether a noun is countable or uncountable in a particular context, consider whether you are referring to a single tangible item, entity or type of something, or if you are describing a general mass or idea of something.

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Uncountable nouns should be treated as singular, and thus should always be used with singular verbs to ensure correct subject-verb agreement .

  • Knowledges are power.
  • Knowledge are power.
  • Knowledge is power.

Singular countable nouns generally require an article or other determiner (e.g., “the interview ,” “a participant,” “my hypothesis “). Uncountable nouns, in contrast, can usually stand alone without an article.

Because uncountable nouns can’t be counted as a single item,  indefinite articles (“a” or “an”) should never be used with them.

  • The admissions office can provide an advice about arranging accommodation.
  • The admissions office can provide advice about arranging accommodation.

The definite article “the” can be used when you are referring to a particular instance or specific mass of an uncountable noun.

  • All living things require water to survive.
  • We wanted to swim but the water was too cold.

Many uncountable nouns are associated with words that break them up into countable units. This is helpful when you want to refer to a single or numbered instance or unit.

  • A piece of advice .
  • A head of broccoli.
  • A bolt of lightning.
  • Ten items of feedback.

Finding the correct term to describe amounts can be tricky. Many terms that describe amount (e.g., “some,” “ a lot of” and “most”) can be used with both uncountable and countable nouns (although note that these terms are often  too vague to use in academic writing).

  • Uncountable: Some vegetation has started to grow over the study site.
  • Countable: Some desserts can be very healthy.
  • Uncountable: After 5 minutes most of the calcium carbonate should be dissolved.
  • Countable: Most of the chemicals are not easy to obtain.

However, there are certain terms that can only be used with either uncountable or countable nouns. Make sure to choose correctly between “less vs. fewer,” “much vs. many,” and “amount vs. number.”

In academic writing , “research” and “data” are two uncountable nouns that are notoriously difficult to use correctly.

Never add “s” to pluralize “research” or “data”. (Note that the word “researches” is only correct when used as the third-person singular of the verb “to research.” )

  • We review researches about the financial crisis of 2007.
  • We review research about the financial crisis of 2007.
  • The experiments produced a large amount of datas .
  • The experiments produced a large amount of data .

Always use “research” as a singular noun.

  • Research are lacking in this area.
  • Research is lacking in this area.

Data, however, can be used as a singular or plural noun.

  • Data was collected through semi-structured interviews .
  • Data were collected through semi-structured interviews.

If you want to know more about nouns , pronouns , verbs , and other parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations and examples.

Nouns & pronouns

  • Common nouns
  • Types of nouns
  • Collective nouns
  • Personal pronouns
  • Proper nouns
  • Verb tenses
  • Phrasal verbs
  • Types of verbs
  • Active vs passive voice
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Interjections
  • Determiners
  • Prepositions

Sources in this article

We strongly encourage students to use sources in their work. You can cite our article (APA Style) or take a deep dive into the articles below.

Middleton, F. (2023, April 18). How to Tell if a Noun is Countable or Uncountable | Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/nouns-and-pronouns/uncountable-nouns/
Aarts, B. (2011).  Oxford modern English grammar . Oxford University Press.
Butterfield, J. (Ed.). (2015).  Fowler’s dictionary of modern English usage  (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.
Garner, B. A. (2016).  Garner’s modern English usage (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

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Nouns: countable and uncountable

Nouns: countable and uncountable

Do you know how to use a , some , any , much and many ? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how to use countable and uncountable nouns in a sentence.

I'm making a cup of tea. There's some money on the table. Have we got any bread? How many chairs do we need? How much milk have we got?

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Countable and uncountable nouns 1: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Nouns can be countable or uncountable. Countable nouns can be counted, e.g. an apple , two apples , three apples , etc. Uncountable nouns cannot be counted, e.g. air , rice , water , etc. When you learn a new noun, you should check if it is countable or uncountable and note how it is used in a sentence.

Countable nouns

For positive sentences we can use a / an for singular nouns or some for plurals.

There's a man at the door. I have some friends in New York.

For negatives we can use a / an for singular nouns or any for plurals.

I don't have a dog. There aren't any seats.

Uncountable nouns

Here are some examples of uncountable nouns:

We use some with uncountable nouns in positive sentences and any with negatives.

There's some milk in the fridge. There isn't any coffee.

In questions we use a / an , any or how many with countable nouns.

Is there an email address to write to? Are there any chairs? How many chairs are there?

And we use any or how much with uncountable nouns.

Is there any sugar? How much orange juice is there?

But when we are offering something or asking for something, we normally use some .

Do you want some chocolate? Can we have some more chairs, please?

We also use some in a question when we think the answer will be 'yes'.

Have you got some new glasses?

Other expressions of quantity

A lot of (or lots of ) can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.

There are lots of apples on the trees. There is a lot of snow on the road .

Notice that we don't usually use many or much in positive sentences. We use a lot of instead.

They have a lot of money.

However, in negative sentences we use not many with countable nouns and not much with uncountable nouns.

There are a lot of carrots but there are n't many potatoes. There's lots of juice but there is n't much water.

Go to Countable and uncountable nouns 2 to learn more.

Try this exercise to test your grammar again.

Countable and uncountable nouns 1: Grammar test 2

Language level

Hello, I want to ask a question.Can I answer 'any' in Grammar Test 2 No.7. Why is the answer 'any shirt'?

  • Log in or register to post comments

Hello Aung Qui,

'any shirt' is not correct in that sentence. When there's a negative meaning, we use 'a' with singular nouns (like 'shirt') and 'any' with plural nouns and countable nouns in a sentence like this.

Best wishes, Kirk LearnEnglish team

Hi Is there any difference between this grammar in American English ?

Hello reza-3x,

I can't think of any differences, but if you had something specific in mind, please let us know.

After I finished the lessons, I completely understood how prepositions come with a noun. This lesson helps me a lot. Thank the authority.

Hello! I also have some question about using 'uncountable and countable' words. Regarding the word 'waste' as a noun, it can be used both 'waste' and 'wastes' for the meaning as unwanted material or substance(e.g.nuclear waste, plastic waste). When you say 'A lot of plastic waste goes into the ocean.', can you also say 'Lots of plastic wastes go into the ocean.' or 'A lot of platic wastes go into the ocean.'? I am quite confused what makes a real difference between plastic 'waste' and plastic 'wastes'.

Thank you for your advice!

Hello lily7983,

Waste is usually an uncountable noun and we modify it with quantifiers that go with uncountable nouns: a lot of, a great deal of, some, a little etc.

Wastes (plural) is unusual, but it does exist to describe types of waste. The Cambridge Dictionary gives this example: Oil spills are common, as is the dumping of toxic industrial wastes .

I would not say 'plastic wastes' unless in context you are very specifically talking about a number of different types of plastic waste.

The LearnEnglish Team

I have trouble understanding the punctuation applied by some writers, which is inconsistent with what I learned from grammar books. For instance, I learned that a comma should be placed before coordinating conjunctions such as 'and' and 'but.' However, why is a period sometimes placed before them?

I have another question, too. Which of the following is grammatically correct?

People don't have a good life.

People don't have good lives.

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Countable and Uncountable Nouns

What are countable and uncountable nouns, and how do we use them in English grammar? Let’s learn all about these two different types of nouns today! There are some details you need to know in order to make sure your sentences with uncountable nouns are grammatically correct.

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Countable Nouns

Countable nouns are things we can easily count – for example, cats:

  • My brother has  a cat.
  • My sister has  two cats.
  • My friend has  three cats.

Other examples of countable nouns:

  • Things – book, table, computer, banana, shirt, television, pen, house
  • People – man, woman, child, friend, brother, sister, uncle, teacher, boss

With most countable nouns, we add -s to make them plural. But there are some irregular plural nouns – like person/people, man/men, child/children, and others.

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

“Cat” is a countable noun – one cat, two cats, three cats

Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable nouns (or non-count nouns) are words that we can’t count, or can’t easily divide into separate parts:

  • Concepts – love, fun, sadness, work, money, peace, safety
  • Information –  advice, information, news, knowledge
  • Categories –  music, furniture, equipment, jewelry, literature, meat
  • Liquids and foods that can’t be counted –  water, butter, rice, flour, milk

Some English learners think that all countable nouns are concrete nouns (physical things), and all uncountable nouns are abstract nouns (non-physical things) – but this is not true!

  • We have abstract nouns that are countable, like ideas, beliefs, hopes, dreams.
  • We have concrete nouns that are uncountable, like furniture, luggage, butter, and milk.

Learn more in this lesson on 10 types of nouns.

Learn about words that can be both countable and uncountable!

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

Special rules for uncountable nouns

#1 – never add -s to make uncountable nouns plural:.

  • I need some informations  about the course.
  • I need some information  about the course.
  • The factory has lots of equipments .
  • The factory has lots of equipment .

In some other languages, “information” can be made plural – but it’s incorrect in English, because it’s an uncountable noun!

Instead, you can use other words to help create a plural form:

  • She bought three  bottles of wine  and five  boxes of rice.
  • I need two  cups of flour  and four tablespoons of butter  for this recipe.

It’s very common to use the word “piece”:

  • They brought five  pieces of luggage  on their vacation.
  • He gave me two  pieces of advice:  eat less and exercise more.
  • I’m practicing three difficult pieces of piano music.

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

Don’t say “He poured two wines .” Instead, say “He poured two glasses of wine .”

Uncountable nouns by themselves take singular verbs, since they are grammatically singular nouns:

  • The furniture is old.  (not “are old”)
  • His advice  was  good.  (not “were good”)

However, if we add one of those “helping words” to create a plural form, then we use plural verbs:

  • Those three crates of furniture are  heavy. (crates –> are)
  • His two pieces of advice  were  good.  (pieces –> were)

#2 – Never use the indefinite article “a/an” with uncountable nouns

Instead, you can use “some” or “a piece of”:

  • I heard  a  sad news.
  • I heard  some  sad news.
  • That’s  an  expensive  jewelry.
  • That’s  an  expensive  piece of jewelry.
  • That’s  an  expensive  necklace.  (necklace is countable; jewelry is uncountable)

However, the definite article (“the”) can be used with both countable nouns and uncountable nouns:

  • The facts are accurate.  (countable)
  • The information is accurate.  (uncountable)
  • The necklace is expensive.  (countable)
  • The jewelry is expensive.  (uncountable)

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

Don’t say “That’s an expensive jewelry .” Instead, say “That’s an expensive piece of jewelry .” or “That’s an expensive necklace .”

Expressing quantities of countable and uncountable nouns

In English, we use different quantity words:

With  countable nouns,  you can use  many, a few, fewer, the fewest:

  • How  many  brothers do you have?
  • I have  a few  books in my backpack.
  • There are  fewer  people here today than there were yesterday.
  • Out of the whole team, John made the fewest  mistakes in his work.

With  uncountable nouns,  you can use  much, a little, less, the least:

  • Our teacher gives us too  much  homework!
  • Add  a little  butter to the recipe.
  • I’m trying to eat  less  red meat.
  • Compared to my friends, I make  the least  money.

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

Our teacher gives us too much homework! (not “too many homework”)

We can use  some, any, more, the most, a lot of, and  lots of  with both countable and uncountable nouns:

  • She bought  some bananas at the store. (countable)
  • We heard  some  great music on the radio this morning. (uncountable)
  • Does he have  any  children? (countable)
  • He doesn’t have  any  furniture in his new house. (uncountable)
  • We need to buy  more  bananas. (countable)
  • We need to buy  more  equipment. (uncountable)
  • I’ve read  the most  books in my class. (countable)
  • The boss gave me  the most  work. (uncountable)
  • She has  a lot of / lots of  friends. (countable)
  • We’re having  a lot of / lots of  fun. (uncountable)

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

He doesn’t have any furniture in his new house.

Countable and Uncountable Nouns QUIZ!

Uncountable noun list.

Most nouns in English are countable – but here are some common uncountable nouns organized by category.

Liquids, grains, and semi-solids:

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

“Oatmeal” is an uncountable noun in English

Categories or Mass Nouns:

  • Agriculture
  • Entertainment
  • Infrastructure
  • Transportation

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

“Seafood” is an uncountable noun in English

Abstract ideas or qualities:

  • Intelligence

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

“Money” is an uncountable noun in English, but “dollars,” “Euros,” “pounds,” etc. are countable.

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

Many nouns for emotions are uncountable, like “happiness”

Master the details of English grammar:

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Espresso English

More Espresso English Lessons:

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Shayna Oliveira is the founder of Espresso English, where you can improve your English fast - even if you don’t have much time to study. Millions of students are learning English from her clear, friendly, and practical lessons! Shayna is a CELTA-certified teacher with 10+ years of experience helping English learners become more fluent in her English courses.

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Homework - singular or plural?

  • Thread starter Mr_Croft
  • Start date Nov 19, 2007
  • Nov 19, 2007

cuchuflete

Senior Member

I haven't ( have not) done it. It is singular. My homework is singular. It names the collective tasks I have to do. Bienvenido mr_Croft! Note: Some dictionaries describe this noun as "uncountable". There are many threads here about uncountable nouns. You may find them by using the forum Search feature, or by looking up the word "uncountable" in the WordReference English dictionary. It will display threads with that word in the title: Forum discussions with the word(s) 'uncountable' in the title: Countable and uncountable, depending on context! Countable, uncountable: asparagus Countable, uncountable: homework Uncountable nouns - an exercise is the word "cheese" uncountable? Countable, uncountable: mail, e-mail Countable, uncountable: broccoli, orange Countable, uncountable: advice, bread, cabbage, hair, onions Countable, uncountable: chocolate, chocolates Countable, uncountable: food Countable, uncountable: news Two uncountable nouns become plural? Countable, uncountable: peanuts, people Should the verb be singular or plural after two uncountable nouns? Countable and uncountable, depending on context! uncountable luck Biker, Sponsor: UNCOUNTABLE??? is or are with a list of uncountable Countable, uncountable: help Countable, uncountable: snow Two types of uncountable nouns. the use of articles with uncountable nouns Countable, uncountable: patience "Advice" - uncountable??? Tip (countable or uncountable)  

panjandrum

The last time we talked about this, everyone but me said that homework is not countable. Countable, uncountable: homework But in this particular example, even I would say: I haven't done my homework. Have you done your homework? I haven't done it yet. - - - even if I have homework to do in several different subjects.  

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Countable and Uncountable Nouns

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In English grammar, words that refer to people, places, or things are called nouns . They can be classified in many ways.

One way to classify nouns is according to whether they can be counted or not. Many English mistakes are related to this point. By reading through this page, you will understand:

  • what countable and uncountable nouns are
  • how to use them correctly in a sentence

Countable (or count) nouns are words which can be counted. They have a singular form and a plural form. They usually refer to things. Most countable nouns become plural by adding an ‘s’ at the end of the word.

For example:

Uncountable (or non-count) nouns are words which cannot be counted. Therefore, they only have a singular form. They have no plural forms. These words are thought of as wholes rather than as parts. They usually refer to abstractions (such as confidence or advice) or collectives (such as equipment or luggage).

Using Countable & Uncountable Nouns

When using countable or uncountable nouns, pay attention to articles and adjectives! Some articles and adjectives can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns. However, others can be used with only countable or only uncountable nouns.

List of Uncountable Nouns (These are sample uncountable nouns only! There are many more.)

  • information
  • intelligence

Subjects/Fields

  • mathematics
  • architecture
  • photography
  • engineering
  • archaeology

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All you need to know about countable and uncountable nouns

homework is countable or uncountable noun

What’s the difference between countable and uncountable nouns , and what grammar rules do you need to know to use them correctly?

Also known as  count and noncount nouns , this vocabulary point can trip you up when you’re learning English as a second language. It’s especially tricky because:

  • There are no concrete rules for classifying nouns as countable or uncountable (although there are some general guidelines that we will explain later).
  • Certain nouns that are countable in other languages may be uncountable in English, so you’ll have to un-learn what you know from your native language and learn a different set of rules for English words.

So, let’s take a detailed look at countable vs uncountable nouns, with plenty of examples showing how to use them with the correct articles, quantifiers, and other determiners.

a table spread with countable and uncountable nouns foods

The basics of countable and uncountable nouns

What is a countable noun.

A  countable noun (also called a count noun) is a noun naming something that can be counted using standard numbers. Countable nouns usually have singular and plural forms. 

Examples of countable nouns include chair, table, rabbit, page, part, and lemon .

So, we can have one chair, five tables, ten rabbits, twenty-three lemons, and three hundred pages .

You are probably already familiar with this pattern of counting things in English.

What is an uncountable noun?

An uncountable noun (also called a mass noun or a non-count noun) is a noun naming something that cannot be counted in English using standard numbers. These nouns cannot be made plural.

Examples of uncountable nouns include rice, money, advice, news, and happiness .

We cannot have one rice, five monies, two advices, or a happiness .

Instead, we must use different determiners to quantify these particular things: a cup of rice , a bag of money , and a piece of advice .

Now you know these basics, it’s time to take a deeper look at what this means in practice. You need to know whether you’re dealing with a countable or uncountable noun so you can select the correct determiners and plural forms in your writing and speech.

Rules for using countable nouns

We’ll begin by going over the rules for using countable nouns, since these are most straightforward.

Countable nouns:

  • Can be separated into whole, individual, countable units
  • Broadly refer to people, places, and things
  • Have a singular and a plural form (with a few exceptions like sheep, deer, fish) – see this site for more about how to form plurals
  • May take indefinite articles (a/an) as well as the definite article (the)
  • May take other determiners such as this/that/these/those, some/any/few/many/several, my/your/his/her/our/their
  • To form a question about a countable noun, we say ‘How many…’

Countable noun example sentences

Most of the nouns we use in English are countable. Here are some example sentences showing correct usage:

  • I have two cats as pets .
  • She bought a few books from the store .
  • We went to the zoo and saw several giraffes .
  • The school has six classrooms for different subjects .
  • He has a collection of ten stamps .
  • My father owns a few bikes .
  • The store has a variety of balloons in different colors.
  • He has five siblings : three brothers  and two sisters .
  • There are many oranges in the fruit basket .
  • The bakery doesn’t have any bread left.
  • I would like to buy that handbag .
  • How many meals should I order at  the restaurant ?

Read about the difference between few vs a few here.

Rules for using uncountable nouns

Uncountable nouns are used less often in English, and they:

  • Are abstract ideas, qualities, or masses that can’t be separated and counted individually
  • Do not have a plural form and are treated as singular nouns (and therefore take the singular form of the verb)
  • May take the definite article (the) but do not take the indefinite articles (a/an)
  • May take other determiners such as much/little/less/any/some and my/your/his/her/our/their
  • Can be quantified with phrases that contain countable nouns (e.g. a bag of rice)
  • To form a question about an uncountable noun, we say ‘How much…’

See also: What’s the difference between less and fewer?

Uncountable noun examples

We can group uncountable nouns into some broad categories. Although we cannot list them all here, the following groups are a general guide that may make it easier for you to identify others in the future:

This may seem like a long list of uncountable nouns; however, there are hundreds more. 

Quantifying an uncountable noun

Although we can’t quantify uncountable nouns using numbers, we can add a countable unit of measurement to refer to one or more quantities of these things. Below are some of the most common quantifiers we can use to refer to things that are uncountable.

  • A piece of… advice, art, cheese, equipment, evidence, furniture, homework, information, luck, luggage, music, news, paper, poetry, publicity, rubbish, software
  • A bottle of… beer, water, wine, sauce, salad dressing
  • A carton of… juice, milk, cream
  • A packet of… ketchup, rice, gum
  • A plate/bowl of… cereal, pasta, rice
  • A drop of… blood, oil, rain, water
  • A game of… badminton, chess, football, soccer, tennis
  • A ray of… hope, light, sun
  • A grain of… sand, rice, sugar, dignity
  • A cube of… ice, sugar
  • A blob of… toothpaste, mayonnaise, glue
  • A pane of glass
  • A round of applause
  • A bar of soap
  • A mode of transport
  • A bolt of lightning
  • A blade of grass
  • A rasher of bacon
  • A sheet of paper

Determiners for count and noncount nouns

You’ll have seen from the examples above that certain determiners can only be used for one type of noun, whereas others can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns. Here’s a handy reference table for these, although this is not an exhaustive list.

Most other adjectives can modify both countable and uncountable nouns.

See also:  What’s the difference between advice vs advise?

Some nouns can be countable and uncountable

You might often hear people say something like “I take two sugars in my tea”. What they really mean is “two teaspoons of sugar”, but the noun “sugar” has taken on that meaning and become countable.

In this way, uncountable nouns can sometimes be used as countable when referring to a complete unit or measurement of something, normally in relation to food and beverages. Here are some more examples:

  • I’ll have three coffees , please. (three cups of coffee)
  • I’ve had too many beers tonight! (glasses/cans/bottles of beer)
  • Could I get two more ketchups ? (two sachets of ketchup)

Uncountable nouns may also be used as countable when they refer to a specific type, example, or category of something . For example:

  • You should have at least five different cheeses on your cheese board.
  • The best wines in the world are produced in France.
  • We used three woods to make this beautiful box.
  • They encountered a lot of difficulties while completing the project.
  • These juices are all freshly squeezed.

These plural countable nouns are exceptions to the rule given earlier.

Nouns with different countable and uncountable meanings

To make things even more confusing, certain nouns in English have two or more meanings. When a noun refers to different things, one countable and one uncountable, you must remember which is which in order to form a correct sentence. Here are some common examples of words with dual meanings:

As you can see,  English can be hard to learn . Fortunately, you can always check in a dictionary to see whether a noun is countable or uncountable. Some dictionaries, such as  Oxford Dictionaries , specify this in the definition.

We hope this information about countable vs uncountable nouns has been helpful. It can be quite a tricky English grammar topic to get right because, even once you have mastered the rules of count and noncount nouns, there is still no hard-and-fast way to know which words are which, unless you look them up.

Leave a comment below if you have any more questions about this topic or want to check your understanding of a particular point we’ve mentioned.

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Homework: Countable vs Uncountable Nouns

job/work, suitcase/luggage...

Intermediate

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.

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Learn Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Today's Intermediate level lesson is by Ian who teaches at our English school in Cape Town . When we want to describe the quantity of something (how many things there are), we use certain quantifiers depending on whether the object being describe is a countable noun or an uncountable noun .

We use quantifiers when we don't need to give the exact amount.

"I don't have a lot of money." (I have a small amount of money)

"Can I have some rice with my steak?" (A portion of rice)

  • 1. Our teacher gave us ___ homework today. a few many a lot of
  • 2. We don't have ___ time left, so we'd better hurry. many much some
  • 3. Do you like to eat ___ vegetables with your dinner? a lot of a few some
  • 4. The village has ___ restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal. a little much many
  • 5. The hotel doesn't have ___ rooms left. any a few some
  • 6. Jenny bought a ___ new jeans when she went shopping. some few much
  • 7. "Hi Mike, do you have ___ money I can borrow?" any a lot of some
  • 8. We've got ___ days left on holiday. a couple a few a little
  • 9. You should try to eat ___ fruit every day. some man a lot
  • 10. "We only have ___ coffee, won't you buy some when you go shopping." any a little much

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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.

Fish Bowl

There are different amounts of water in each picture, but all are still called water. 

Rice

There are different amounts of rice in each picture, but all are still called rice.

Uncountable material but with countable forms

cake uncountable

cake - uncountable

slice of cake countable

slice of cake - countable form = slice

cake countable

cake - countable as a whole cake

piece of cake countable

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

three cakes

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

One  pizza

One  hamburger

Six pieces of food

Four pizzas

Two   hamburgers

On their own, pizzas and hamburgers can be counted. When they are together and called 'food', they can not be counted. 

food countable uncountable

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.

food countable uncountable

This is what you need to make Mexican food. - Correct

This is what you need to make Mexican food s . - Incorrect

food countable uncountable

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'

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Five pieces of food

Image by Kelly Jean

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

Four chairs

Two   tables

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.

furniture countable uncountable

There's a lot of furniture.

furniture countable uncountable

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

furniture countable uncountable

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

furniture countable 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'.

Conversation

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.

Incorrect examples

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 .

Correct examples

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  apples

Four pieces of fruit

Three  strawberries

Three pieces of fruit

Eight pieces of fruit

The countable form of fruit is 'piece'.

fruit uncountable

There is a lot of fruit.

fruit uncountable

There is some fruit.

fruit uncountable

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.

More examples

Clothes is an uncountable noun. It is used to describe a group of different items.

The countable form is 'piece' or 'item'.

clothes uncountable

There are a lot of clothes.

There are about 25 pieces of clothes.

clothes uncountable

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'.

sushi uncountable

There are six pieces of sushi. = COUNTABLE FORM

There is some sushi. = UNCOUNTABLE

sushi uncountable

There are 12 pieces of sushi. = COUNTABLE FORM

There is a lot of sushi. = UNCOUNTABLE

sushi uncountable

There is one piece of sushi. = COUNTABLE FORM

There is not a lot of sushi. = UNCOUNTABLE

Cambridge Dictionary

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Nouns: countable and uncountable

Countable nouns.

Some nouns refer to things which, in English, are treated as separate items which can be counted. These are called countable nouns. Here are some examples:

a car , three cars
my cousin , my two cousins
a book , a box full of books
a city , several big cities

Singular and plural

Countable nouns can be singular or plural. They can be used with a/an and with numbers and many other determiners (e.g. these, a few ):

She’s got two sisters and a younger brother .
Most people buy things like cameras and MP3-players online these days .
These shoes look old now.
I’ll take a few magazines with me for the flight .

Determiners ( the, my , some , this )

Singular and plural nouns

Uncountable nouns

In English grammar, some things are seen as a whole or mass. These are called uncountable nouns, because they cannot be separated or counted.

Some examples of uncountable nouns are:

Ideas and experiences: advice, information, progress, news, luck, fun, work

Materials and substances: water, rice, cement, gold, milk

Weather words: weather, thunder, lightning, rain, snow

Names for groups or collections of things: furniture, equipment, rubbish, luggage

Other common uncountable nouns include: accommodation, baggage, homework, knowledge, money, permission, research, traffic, travel .

These nouns are not used with a/an or numbers and are not used in the plural.

We’re going to get new furniture for the living room.
Not: We’re going to get a new furniture for the living room . or We’re going to get new furnitures for the living room .
We had terrible weather last week.
Not: We had a terrible weather last week .
We need rice next time we go shopping.

Some nouns always have plural form but they are uncountable because we cannot use numbers with them.

I bought two pairs of trousers .
Not: I bought two trousers .

Other nouns of this type are: shorts, pants, pyjamas, glasses (for the eyes), binoculars, scissors .

Some nouns which are uncountable in English are countable in other languages (e.g. accommodation, advice, furniture, information ):

They can give you some information about accommodation at the tourist office.
Not: They can give you some informations about accommodations at the tourist office .
Can you give me some advice about buying a second-hand car?
Not: Can you give me some advices about buying a second-hand car?

A good learner’s dictionary will tell you whether a noun is countable or uncountable.

Quantity expressions ( a bit/piece )

To refer to one or more quantities of an uncountable noun , expressions such as a bit of, a piece of , an item of or words for containers and measures must be used:

He bought a very expensive piece of furniture for his new apartment.
Maggie always has some exciting bits of news when she comes to see us.
I think we’ll need five bags of cement for the patio.
There’s a litre of milk in the fridge for you. And I bought you a bar of chocolate .

Determiners ( my, some, the )

Uncountable nouns can be used with certain determiners (e.g. my, her , some, any , no , the, this, that ) and expressions of quantity (e.g. a lot of, (a) little ):

They gave me some information about courses and scholarships and things.
Have you heard the news ? Fran’s getting engaged.
She’s been studying hard and has made a lot of progress .
There’s no work to do here, so you can go home if you like.
This milk ’s a bit old, I’m afraid.

Countable phrases for uncountable nouns

We can sometimes use countable noun phrases to talk about an individual example of the thing an uncountable noun refers to.

Finding a place to live is difficult if you’re a student and you’ve got no money. (or Finding accommodation … )
Not: Finding an accommodation …
She brought two big suitcases and a rucksack with her.
Not: She brought two big luggages …
I read a poem once about someone riding a horse at night.
Not: I read a poetry …
We went on a trip to the Amazon when we were in Brazil.
Not: We went on a travel …

Countable and uncountable nouns with different meanings

Some nouns can be used either countably or uncountably, but with different meanings.

Uncountable nouns used countably

Measures and examples.

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

Can I have two teas and one coffee , please? (two cups of tea and one cup of coffee …?)
A: How many sugars do you want in your tea? (How many spoonfuls/lumps of sugar?) B: Just one, please .
To some degree we tend to eat the foods that we ate as children. (i.e. types of food)

Abstract nouns

Some abstract nouns can be used uncountably or countably. The uncountable use has a more general meaning. The countable use has a more particular meaning.

Nouns of this type include: education, experience, hatred, help, knowledge, life, love, sleep, time, understanding .

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homework is countable or uncountable noun

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IMAGES

  1. Countable and Uncountable Nouns: Useful Rules & Examples

    homework is countable or uncountable noun

  2. Countable & Uncountable Nouns: English ESL worksheets pdf & doc

    homework is countable or uncountable noun

  3. Countable and Uncountable Nouns

    homework is countable or uncountable noun

  4. Countable and Uncountable nouns

    homework is countable or uncountable noun

  5. Countable and Uncountable Nouns

    homework is countable or uncountable noun

  6. Countable and Uncountable Nouns Worksheet

    homework is countable or uncountable noun

VIDEO

  1. COUNTABLE

  2. Practical learning of countable and uncountable nouns by IV class students

  3. Least =???

  4. COUNTABLE and Uncountable Nouns

  5. Countable and uncountable noun || class 2||

  6. Countable and Uncountable Nouns & Features

COMMENTS

  1. nouns

    4 Answers Sorted by: 14 "Homework" is uncountable since it is treated as a general meaning not a particular item, like "work", "money" etc. In your case, use "assignment" instead. May I have my last three graded assignments back please? Share Improve this answer Follow answered May 22, 2011 at 1:38 IPX 1,269 3 10 19

  2. Nouns: countable and uncountable

    Singular and plural Countable nouns can be singular or plural. They can be used with a/an and with numbers and many other determiners (e.g. these, a few ): She's got two sisters and a younger brother. Most people buy things like cameras and MP3-players online these days. These shoes look old now. I'll take a few magazines with me for the flight.

  3. homework

    • Homework is an uncountable noun and is not used in the plural. You say: The teacher gave us a lot of homework. Don't say: The teacher gave us a lot of homeworks. • Homework is always followed by a singular verb. The homework was really difficult.

  4. Countable Noun & Uncountable Nouns with Examples

    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.

  5. How to Tell if a Noun is Countable or Uncountable

    Examples of nouns that can be countable or uncountable; Type of noun Uncountable Countable Other examples; Abstract concepts: He rarely feels fear.: A fear of spiders is known as arachnophobia.: Concepts can often be countable or uncountable: weight, love, courage, strength, time, beauty, pressure, vision, business.

  6. Nouns: countable and uncountable

    Grammar test 1 Read the explanation to learn more. Grammar explanation Nouns can be countable or uncountable. Countable nouns can be counted, e.g. an apple, two apples, three apples, etc. Uncountable nouns cannot be counted, e.g. air, rice, water, etc.

  7. PDF Using Countable and Uncountable Nouns

    As you have perhaps noticed, individual activities like jobs and assignments, which are closely identified with uncountable nouns like work and homework, are countable. As such, it would be incorrect to say "I have lots of homeworks to do."

  8. Countable and Uncountable Nouns

    Special rules for uncountable nouns #1 - Never add -s to make uncountable nouns plural: I need some informations about the course.; I need some information about the course.; The factory has lots of equipments.; The factory has lots of equipment.; In some other languages, "information" can be made plural - but it's incorrect in English, because it's an uncountable noun!

  9. Did "homework "have countable form?

    Homework is an uncountable noun, therefore it should be modified by much or a lot of, not many. Because it is an uncountable noun and is not used in the plural as it is always singular. I don't have much homework today The teacher gave us a lot of homework. Tim has four pieces of homework to complete for today. Do you have any homework?

  10. What Is a Countable Noun? Usage Guide and Examples

    A countable noun is any noun that can be quantified. If you can count it, it's countable. Take a look at what that means here. Dictionary ... My teacher assigns so much homework. (Uncountable) Do you really need ten pillows on the couch? (Countable) Rachel earned ten dollars.

  11. Homework

    EEUU-inglés Nov 19, 2007 #2 I haven't ( have not) done it. It is singular. My homework is singular. It names the collective tasks I have to do. Bienvenido mr_Croft! Note: Some dictionaries describe this noun as "uncountable". There are many threads here about uncountable nouns.

  12. Countable and Uncountable Nouns · engVid

    Countable (or count) nouns are words which can be counted. They have a singular form and a plural form. They usually refer to things. Most countable nouns become plural by adding an 's' at the end of the word. For example: chairs. students. Uncountable (or non-count) nouns are words which cannot be counted.

  13. Rules for countable and uncountable nouns (with examples)

    An uncountable noun (also called a mass noun or a non-count noun) is a noun naming something that cannot be counted in English using standard numbers. These nouns cannot be made plural. Examples of uncountable nouns include rice, money, advice, news, and happiness. We cannot have one rice, five monies, two advices, or a happiness.

  14. Homework: Countable vs Uncountable Nouns

    EnglishClub : Teach English : Homework : Countable vs Uncountable ️ Phrasal Verbs in Context - ebook Homework: Countable vs Uncountable Nouns job/work, suitcase/luggage... Intermediate 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.

  15. PDF Nouns— Countable & Noncountable

    Countable nouns may be preceded by a/an or one in the singular form. They also take a final s/es if the noun is plural. A table One table Noncountable nouns are not preceded by a/an or one. Noncountable nouns have no plural form. Some furniture Many nouns that are noncountable represent a whole made of many parts. For

  16. What is the plural of homework?

    The noun homework can be countable or uncountable. In more general, commonly used, contexts, the plural form will also be homework . However, in more specific contexts, the plural form can also be homeworks e.g. in reference to various types of homeworks or a collection of homeworks. Find more words!

  17. Learn Countable and Uncountable Nouns

    Learn Countable and Uncountable Nouns. Today's Intermediate level lesson is by Ian who teaches at our English school in Cape Town. When we want to describe the quantity of something (how many things there are), we use certain quantifiers depending on whether the object being describe is a countable noun or an uncountable noun.

  18. Nouns

    Homework Fruit Review of countable nouns One chair One table 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 water water water water There are different amounts of water in each picture, but all are still called water.

  19. Nouns: countable and uncountable

    Nouns: countable and uncountable - English Grammar Today - una guida di riferimento alla grammatica e all'uso dell'inglese parlato e scritto - Cambridge Dictionary

  20. Nouns: countable and uncountable

    Nouns: countable and uncountable - gramática inglés y uso de palabras en "English Grammar Today" - Cambridge University Press