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Monday, 7 May 2007

Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable nouns are for things we can count

example: dog, horse, man, shop, idea.

They usually have a singular and plural form.

example: two dogs, ten horses, a man, six men, the shops, a few ideas.


Uncountable nouns are for the things that we cannot count

example: tea, sugar, water, air, rice.

They are often the names for abstract ideas or qualities.

example: knowledge, beauty, anger, fear, love.

They are used with a singular verb. They usually do not have a plural form. We can't say sugars, angers, knowledges.


Some nouns are countable in other languages but uncountable in English. Some of the most common of these are:

accommodation
advice
baggage
behaviour
bread
evidence
furniture
information
knowledge
luggage
money
news
progress
research
safety
traffic
training
travel
trouble
weather
work

We cannot use a/an with these nouns. To express a quantity of one of these nouns, use a word or expression like:
some, a lot of, a piece of, a bit of, a great deal of...

examples:
"There has been a lot of research into the causes of this disease."
"He gave me a great deal of advice before my interview."
"They've got a lot of furniture."
"Can you give me some information about uncountable nouns?"


BE CAREFUL with the noun 'hair' which is normally uncountable in English:

"She has long blonde hair"

It can also be countable when referring to individual hairs:

"My father's getting a few grey hairs now"

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