Nouns: countable | uncountable

Questions
Overview

Nouns can be countable, non-countable or both. The type of noun determines of pronoun used.

Countable nouns

Countable nouns can be singular (= one) or plural (= two or more).

  • Singular: a car, a teacher, a flower, an idea
  • Plural: cars, teachers, flowers, ideas

Singular countable nouns must always be used with a determiner (e.g. pronoun):

  • the car
  • my teacher
  • this flower
  • that idea

Uncountable nouns

Uncountable nouns have only one form and they cannot be used:

  • in the plural: We bought some new furnitures furniture
  • with the indefinite article (a/an): - Do you want a rice with your meal?
  • with a number: - Let me give you one advice > Let me give you some advice

Both countable and uncountable

Sometimes a noun can have a specific meaning (countable) or a more general meaning (uncountable). Specific (countable): Tell us about one of your experiences on your trip. General (uncountable): Do you have enough experience to do the job?

Further learning
Description Author Language
From basics to advanced. Lots of examples and explanations (slow speed) oxfordonlineenglish.com
Includes a list of nouns that are countable in Portuguese but not in English. grammarnet.com
A list of some nouns that can be countable or uncountable. grammarnet.com
Some examples of commonly misused uncountable nouns englishgrammar.org
An overview of uncountable nouns englishgrammar.org