Countable and uncountable nouns
Note: Before starting this lesson, we do recommend reading the nouns’ lesson first (Click here).
A countable noun can be singular (Car) or plural (Cars).
Countable nouns are things we can count. So we can say ‘one car’, ‘two cars’ etc.
• Examples of nouns usually countable:
— There’s a beach near here.
— Ann was singing a song.
— There are no batteries in the radio.
Countable nouns can be singular or plural
• Singular: a dog – a child – the evening – this party – an umbrella
• Plural: dogs – some children – the evenings – these parties – two umbrellas
An uncountable noun has only one form. Uncountable nouns are things we cannot count. We cannot say ‘one rice’, ‘two rices’ etc.
— don’t have a plural form (information
— are used with a singular verb (the information
— cannot be used with the indefinite article ‘a/an‘. (I want
an some information)
These uncountable nouns are often countable in other languages. Look at them carefully.
— He refused to give me more information about the hotel.
— She gave me lots of advice about the best dictionary to buy.
— We are going to sell all the furniture. (= tables, chairs, armchairs, desks, etc.)
— My knowledge of German is very limited.
— You need a lot of equipment for camping (e.g. tent, sleeping bag, things for cooking, etc.)
— She is making good progress in her English. (= her English is improving / getting better)
— We had fabulous weather in Italy.
— The teacher gave us a lot of homework last night.
— I never take much luggage (= bags and suitcases) when I go on holiday.
Countable nouns are usually shown with a (C) after them; uncountable nouns have (U) after them; and some nouns can be countable with one meaning and uncountable in another.
housework (U) — I did a lot of housework this morning.
book (C) — The books are on the table.
hair (U) — My hair is getting very long and untidy. I need to get it cut.
hair (C) — There is a hair on my dinner plate.
Sometimes we use a plural noun for one thing that has two parts.