Welcome to your free Introduction to Countable and Uncountable Nouns lesson! In this topic we talk about:
Here is an example of a countable noun:
I love mangoes.
I eat a mango at every meal.
Mango is a countable noun. It can be singular (mango) or plural (mangoes).
Countable nouns can be used with numbers: « Three mangoes. » « Twenty mangoes. » Here are a few more examples of countable nouns:
Bob has two cars, he’s very rich.
I saw a great film last night.
How many children do you have?
This island has lots of beautiful waterfalls.
Do you keep chickens?
Here is an example of an uncountable noun:
I love rice.
I eat rice at every meal.
Rice is an uncountable noun. It only has one form (rice).
Uncountable nouns cannot be used with numbers, we cannot say « Three rices. » « Twenty rices. » Here are a few more examples of uncountable nouns:
There is too much traffic on the roads nowadays.
I listen to music while I work.
Do you want some water?
This island has wonderful fresh air.
We had an electricity shortage last night.
Using A & AN with countable nouns
A and AN can be used with singular countable nouns:
an apple / a problem / a university
Singular countable nouns cannot be used alone (A / AN / YOUR etc.)
Can I have a mango?
(not « Can I have
I read an article in the paper.
articlein the paper. »)
You can, however, use a plural countable noun alone:
I love mangoes.
Smartphones are quite expensive.
Using A & AN with uncountable nouns
A and AN cannot usually be used with uncountable nouns. We cannot say«
a milk » « a water » « a sand« . You can, however, use A…OF. For example:
a pint of milk / a glass of water / a bucket of sand
Uncountable nouns can be used alone (without A / AN / YOUR etc.):
Would you like more rice?
I have sand in my bag.
Using SOME / ANY / MANY / FEW with countable nouns
SOME and ANY can be used with plural countable nouns:
Would you like some sausages?
Have you got any gloves?
We can also use MANY and FEW with plural countable nouns:
They didn’t have many children.
I have a few books to sell.
Using SOME / ANY / MUCH / LITTLE with uncountable nouns
SOME and ANY can be used with uncountable nouns:
Would you like some rice?
Do you have any money?
We can also use MUCH and LITTLE with uncountable nouns:
They didn’t have much time.
I have a little wine left.