This lesson aims to teach you the difference between countable and uncountable nouns

Countable and uncountable nouns

Note: Before starting this lesson, we do recommend reading the nouns’ lesson first (Click here).

Countable nouns

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:

— We haven’t got enough cups.

— There’s a beach near here.

— It wasn’t your fault. It was an accident.

— 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

Uncountable nouns

An uncountable noun has only one form. Uncountable nouns are things we cannot count. We cannot say ‘one rice’, ‘two rices’ etc.

• Let’s consider the example of the word information :
— don’t have a plural form (informations);

— are used with a singular verb (the information are is);

— 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.

For example:

I bought a pair of jeans yesterday.
These shorts are too long.
I bought a new pair of pyjamas when I went into hospital.
The scissors are on the table.
When it’s sunny I wear sunglasses for driving.
These stairs are dangerous.


Correct the mistakes in these sentences.

1. I need some informations.
2. We had a lovely weather.
3. The furnitures are very old.
4. I’m looking for a new jeans.
5. Your hairs are getting very long.
6. Do you have a scissors?
7. We had a lot of homeworks yesterday.
8. Do you think she’s making a progress with her English?
9. These trousers is too small.
10. She gave me some good advices.

Are these nouns countable, uncountable, or countable with one meaning and uncountable with another? Use a dictionary to help you. 

If they can be countable and uncountable, write sentence examples to show the difference.

butter – cup – housework – insurance – spaghetti – coffee – grape – money – television – coin – work – travel

Read this text from a radio broadcast. Can you find two more uncountable nouns? 

(These words are not included in the lesson.)

Traffic has been bad throughout the day because of roadworks on the A40 at Uxbridge which are causing long delays for motorists heading into London. The authorities are advising drivers to avoid the area  if at all possible, and we will, of course, keep you informed of the situation with the latest news every half hour, so don’t go away.