Countable Noun:

Nouns that exist in units are called countable nouns. These are those nouns which we can count. These exist in definite and distinct form. Like, tree, car, teacher, men, girl, book, etc. These all exists as separate things that can be counted. Countable nouns are usually concrete nouns.

Examples:

Ø They are both Singular and Plural form→

SINGULAR PLURAL
Cycle
Cycles
Bulb
Bulbs
Eye
Eyes
Watchman
Watchmen
Boy
Boys
Window
Windows
Doctor
Doctors
Pencil
Pencils

Ø We use article ‘A/AN’ before countable nouns

Article ‘a/an‘ denotes one or a single unit. Thus the single unit of countable nouns are usually precede by these articles to show their count as one.

Examples:

 

  • He is a painter by profession.
  • This is a painting from Mughal era.
  • I am planning to buy a car.
  • An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.
  • She needs a doctor at the earliest.

Ø Determines ‘few / a few / the few / many / some / any’ are used before countable nouns

Examples:

  • I cannot see any books in the drawer.
  • You should use well the few opportunities you get in life.
  • Some student hesitated to discuss their issues with the teacher.
  • I know many teenagers who have concentration issues.
  • He has too few supporters, he cannot win.

Uncountable Noun:

Uncountable nouns are also known as non-count or mass nouns. These are those nouns which we cannot count. Uncountable nouns are either weighed or measured or none. They do not exist in units. They are usually amorphous and so cannot be divided in definite pieces. Like, water, milk, sand, oil, cloth, gold, silver, sugar, rice, etc. They represent quantity. Material noun and Abstract nouns are uncountable.

Examples:

  • Material noun: gold, milk, oil, sugar, wood, cotton, plastic, honey, cement, luggage, bread, food.
  • Abstract nouns: information, happiness, stupidity, laziness, progress, anger.
  • Weather-related words: rain, snow, sunlight, thunder, fog.

Ø Determines little / a little / the little / much / some / any are used before uncountable nouns

Examples:

  • There is few water in the bottle. (INCORRECT)
  • There is little water in the bottle. (CORRECT)
  • There is some water in the bottle. (CORRECT)
  • There is not many water in the bottle. (INCORRECT)
  • There is not much water in the bottle. (CORRECT)
  • Is there any water left in the bottle? (CORRECT)

Ø Uncountable nouns are considered singular so they have no plural form and they take singular verbs

They do not have plural form. Uncountable nouns are always considered singular. This means words like waters, oils, cloths, sugars, gold, happinesses, informations, etc do not exist.

Examples:

  • She purchased three-liter milks. (INCORRECT)
  • She purchased three-liter milk. (CORRECT)

  • You should not worry about their sorrows. (INCORRECT)
  • You should not worry about their sorrow. (CORRECT)

  • His honesties impressed me. (INCORRECT)
  • His honesty impressed me. (CORRECT)

Ø We do not use article ‘A/AN’ before uncountable nouns

These articles usually represent  single unit. And we know uncountable nouns do not exist in units. So, we cannot use them before these nouns.

Examples:

  • She bought a cloth to stitch a shirt. (INCORRECT)
  • She bought cloth to stitch a shirt. (CORRECT)

  • Can you pass me a water please? (INCORRECT)
  • Can you pass me water please? (CORRECT)

  • He gave an information about this job. (INCORRECT)
  • He gave information about this job. (CORRECT)

Ø Uncountable nouns can be referred as countable when they appear in the following structure

[Determiner + Common noun + Of + Uncountable Noun]

Examples:

  • Can you pass me a glass of water?
  • She bought two packets of sugar for the cake.
  • A one-liter bottle of oil is enough.
  • I could only gather a tiny bit of information about that man.
  • Three sacks of sand are missing.

Ø Some confusing uncountable nouns

Some nouns which are usually confused to be countable, but they are uncountable. Nouns like:

Jewelry, Crockery, Furniture, Information, Machinery, Education, Advice, Luggage, Baggage, Percentage, Breakage, Knowledge, Postage, Wastage, Wreckage, Traffics, Coffee, Food, Bread, Stationery and Alphabet.

These nouns are uncountable and are never used in plural form and thus we never add suffix ‘-s’ to them.

Examples:

  • All the furnitures are loaded in the truck. (INCORRECT)
  • All the furniture is loaded in the truck. (CORRECT)

 

  • My parents gave me advices that really worked for me in life. (INCORRECT)
  • My parents gave me advice that really worked for me in life. (CORRECT)

 

  • The percentages that she secured are difficult to achieve. (INCORRECT)
  • The percentage that she secured is difficult to achieve. (CORRECT)

 

  • I lost my luggages at the airport. (INCORRECT)
  • I lost my luggage at the airport. (CORRECT)

Ø Some uncountable nouns become countable in certain references when we talk about their particular type

Let us look at some examples to understand this better.

Examples:

  • Her hair is long, dark and silky. ( here hair is uncountable because we cannot count all hair.)
  • A few grey hairs at her crown are catching everyone’s eye. (here we are talking about a few hairs that can be counted and hence they are countable.)

 

  • Oil floats on water as it is lighter than water. (uncountable)
  • Some essential oils are really good for our skin. (countable- here few particular oils are referred and hence are considered to exist in units.)

 

  • She has some work so she will be a bit late today. (uncountable)
  • This painting is one of the best works done by him. (countable- works means sum of all activities or projects done by an artist or a writer.)
  • If you find some time, drop this parcel at Emmy’s house. (uncountable- time as a whole is an infinite loop.)
  • She has watched this movie many times. (countable- times means number of repetitions of a task.)

 

  • Coffee has both health benefits and harms. It depends on the quantity of intake. (uncountable- here coffee is material noun)
  • He has already ordered a coffee for himself and a shake for me. (countable- here coffee refers to a cup or unit of coffee and is countable.)
  • I cannot sleep in a place with so much noise. (uncountable)
  • I heard some noises in the street last night. (countable- here noises means various voices)

Ø Abstract Nouns are uncountable and hence have no plural form

Love, Hate, Kindness, Honesty, Anger, Sadness, Childhood, Peace cannot be count or measured and hence are uncountable. And we know that uncountable nouns have no plural form.

There exist no words like kindnesses, modesties, angers, knowledges or happinesses.

Learn more about Abstract Nouns…

#KEY-NOTES:

Now let us compare these countable and uncountable nouns with the help of following table.

COUNTABLE NOUN UNCOUNTABLE NOUN

Nouns that are counted are known as countable.

Nouns that cannot be counted. These are nouns which are measured or weighed.

Have both singular and plural form

Do not have plural form

Take article before them

Do not take article a/an before them

Determines few / a few / the few / many / some / any are used before countable nouns
Determines little / a little / the little / much / some / any are used before uncountable nouns
#SUMMARY:
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