Nouns can be either countable or uncountable. Countable nouns refer to something that can be counted. They have both singular and plural forms (e.g., cat/cats; woman/women; country/countries). In the singular, they can be preceded by the article a or an. Most nouns are countable.
Unlike countable nouns, uncountable nouns are substances, concepts that we cannot be divided into separate elements. We cannot “count” them. For example, we cannot count milk. We can count bottles of milk or litres of milk, but we cannot count milk itself.
To learn all kinds of uncountable nouns use the flashcards above. The PDF sheet contains the following items:
As you can see from the list above, uncountable nouns mainly comprise food, drinks, sustances, abstract things, collective nouns.
Here are some rules you should keep in mind while using uncountable nouns:
- We usually treat uncountable nouns as singular. We use a singular verb. For example: Your luggage looks heavy.
- We do not usually use the indefinite article a/an with uncountable nouns. We cannot say “an information” or “a music”. But we can say a “something” of [uncountable noun]: a piece of news, a bottle of water.
- We can use some and any with uncountable nouns:
I’ve got some money.
Have you got any rice?
- We can use a little and much with uncountable nouns:
I’ve got a little money.
I haven’t got much rice.
- Sometimes, the same noun can be countable and uncountable, often with a change of meaning:
There are two hairs in my coffee!
I don’t have much hair.