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Count Nouns

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Count Nouns vs. Non-Count Nouns

Count nouns

Can be counted as one or more.

  • bottle, spoon, pen, computer, desk, cup, television, chair, shoe, finger, flower, table, comb, camera, stick, balloon, book, etc.

Take an s to form the plural.

  • shoes, fingers, flowers, pens, computers, bottles, spoons, desks, cups, televisions, chairs, cameras, sticks, balloons, books, tables, combs, etc.

Work with expressions such as (a few, few, many, some, every, each, these, and the number of).

  • each cup, these televisions, the number of chairs, a few shoes, a few fingers, a few pens, a few computers, many bottles, some spoons, every desk, many flowers, some cameras, every stick, each balloon, these books, the number of tables, many combs, etc.

Work with appropriate articles (a, an, or the).

  • a pen, the computer, a bottle, the spoon, a desk, the cup, a television, the chair, a shoe, the finger, a flower, the camera, a stick, the balloon, a book, the table, a comb, etc.

Do NOT work with much (for example, you would never say much pens or much computers).

Non-count nouns

Cannot be counted. They usually express a group or a type.

  • water, wood, ice, air, oxygen, milk, wine, sugar, rice, meat, English, Spanish, traffic, furniture, flour, soccer, sunshine, etc.

Generally cannot be pluralized.

Work both with and without an article (a, an, or the), depending on the context of the sentence.

  • Sugar is sweet.
  • The sunshine is beautiful.
  • I drink milk.
  • The wood is burning.
  • He eats rice.
  • We watch soccer together.

Work with expressions such as (some, any, enough, this, that, and much).

  • We ate some rice and milk.
  • I hope to see some sunshine today.
  • She does not speak much Spanish.
  • Do you see any traffic on the road?
  • This meat is good.
  • That wine is very old.

Do NOT work with expressions such as (these, those, every, each, either, or neither).

Nouns that can be countable and uncountable

Sometimes, the same noun can be countable and uncountable, often with a change of meaning.

Countable

Uncountable

There are two lights in our bedroom. light Close the curtain. There's too much light!
There are three hairs in my coffee! hair I don't have much hair.
Our house has four rooms. room Is there room for me to sit here?
Shhhhh! I thought I heard a noise. noise It's difficult to work when there is too much noise.
Have you got a paper to read? (newspaper) paper I want to write a letter. Have you got some paper?
How many times have I told you no?
We had a great time at the party.
time Have you got time for a coffee?
This opera is one of Shakespeare's greatest works. work I have no money. I need work!

Drinks (coffee, water,…) are usually uncountable. But if we are thinking of a cup or a glass, we can say (in a restaurant, for example): 

*) Two teas and one coffee please.
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