Difference of Countable and Uncountable Noun. After sharing about nouns in the preceded post, now I want to share more about a part of noun classifications. They about countable noun and uncountable noun.
It’s important to distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns in English because their usage is different in regards to both determiners and verbs.
Countable nouns are the names of separate items which can be counted. They have a singular and a plural form. The singular form can use the determiner “a” or “an“. And in the plural we can combine with numbers, many, few, some, any, etc.
- Did you buy a newspaper today? ~ I bought two newspapers, ‘The Jakarta Post’ and ‘The Mirror’.
- Have we got any oranges in the house? ~ We’ve got some apples but we don’t have any oranges.
- She has three dogs.
- I own a house.
- I would like two books please.
- How many friends do you have?
Uncountable nouns are for the things that we cannot count with numbers. These nouns are the names of things that cannot be counted and have only a singular form. These nouns use singular verbs in a sentence. They do not have plural forms. They generally refer to drinks, liquids, grains, gases, materials, metals etc. The abstract nouns are also uncountable.
Uncountable nouns are words that we can’t count, or can’t divide into separate parts:
- Ideas and concepts – love, fun, sadness, work, money, peace, safety
- Information – advice, information, news, knowledge
- Categories – music, furniture, equipment, jewelry, literature, meat
- Liquids and foods that can’t be counted – water, butter, rice, flour, milk
More examples of uncountable noun
Tea, sugar, water, air, rice, knowledge, beauty, anger, fear, love, money, research, safety, evidence
We cannot use a/an with these nouns. To express a quantity of an uncountable noun, use a word or expression like some, a lot of, much, a bit of, a great deal of , or else use an exact measurement like a cup of, a bag of, 1kg of, 1L of, a handful of, a pinch of, an hour of, a day of. If you want to ask about the quantity of an uncountable noun, you ask “How much?”
- There has been a lot of research into the causes of this disease.
- He gave me a great deal of advice before my interview.
- Can you give me some information about uncountable nouns?
- He did not have much sugar left.
- Measure 1 cup of water, 300g of flour, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- How much rice do you want?
With uncountable nouns, you can use much, a little, some, or any:
- Our teacher gives us too much homework!
- Add a little butter to the recipe.
- We heard some great music on the radio this morning.
- He doesn’t have any furniture in his new house.
Don’t add -s to make uncountable nouns plural:
- I need some
informationsabout the course. (False)
- I need some information about the course. (true)
You can use other words to help:
- She bought three bottles of wine and five boxes of rice.
- He gave me two pieces of advice: eat less and exercise more.