Countable and Un-countable Nouns
Some nouns are countable. Each unit can be counted easily. Some
examples of countable nouns are: pencil, table, chair, house, and
With countable nouns it is possible to ask: ‘How many?’ How many
pencils are there on the desk?
Some nouns are uncountable. It is difficult to count each unit. For
example: sugar, rice, water, milk, information.
You cannot ask ‘How many sugars are there?’. Have you ever
counted sugar or rice? With uncountable nouns we must ask: ‘How
much?’ How much rice is there in the bowl?
Abstract nouns are also uncountable: love, freedom, interest,
honesty, recreation, pleasure, work.
Which of the following nouns are countable?
Sometimes, a noun can be countable or uncountable in different
senses. For example, can say ‘How much freedom?’ in one sense
or ‘How many freedoms?’ in another sense. Freedom can refer to a
general concept or to specific freedoms. Likewise, we can refer to
‘religion’ as a general idea or to specific religions.
Example: Did you enjoy a lot of freedom as a child? The US
constitution guarantees certain freedoms such as freedom of
speech and the right to bear arms.
Are you interested in religion? There are many religions in the
Remember, you can put some uncountable nouns into a container
and then the containers are countable.
Example: How many bottles of milk do you want to buy? I want to
buy three packets of sugar and a box of salt.
Countable nouns Uncountable nouns
How many? How much?
1, 2, 3 …a couple, a few, several, A little, some, a lot. 1 liter, I
many, none, kilogram, a little bit of,
Countable nouns have a singular and plural form. Example: One
pen. Two pens.
Uncountable have only the singular form. Example: A little water. A
lot of water.
1. Can you give me _________ information?
b. a few
2. I want ___________ bottles of milk.
a. a few
b. a lot
3. I don’t know __________ Chinese.
4. I don’t know __________ Chinese words.
5. How ________ money do you have?
Any and some can be used with both countable and uncountable
nouns. Not the verb ‘to be’ changes. Examples:
Are there any apples? Yes, there Is there any water? Yes, there is
are some. some.
Are there any oranges? No, there Is there any milk? No, there isn’t
aren’t any oranges. any milk.
‘Any’ can be used in the interrogative (?) and negative (-) forms, but
not in the positive (+).
Are there any apples?
No, there are not any apples.
Yes, there are any apples..
Yes, there are some apples.