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Countable and Uncountable Nouns

In these lessons, we will learn to distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns. We will also learn how to use the articles 'a', 'an' or 'the' for countable nouns.

Related Topics: More English Topics

Countable Nouns

Most nouns are countable nouns, or count nouns. They are called countable nouns because they refer to people or things that can be counted.

How to use the articles - a, an, the?

When you are talking about only one person, animal, place, or thing, you can put a or an before the noun.

a dentist an apple
a child an egg
a spider an ice cream
a lady an owl
a park an umbrella

We put an before words beginning with vowels (a, e, i, o, u). But some words do not follow this rule. For example, some words that begins with the letter u, use a (not an). This occurs when the vowel u sounds like you.

a uniform a user
a utensil a union
a university a unit
a unicorn a useful tool

We put a before words beginning with the other letters of the alphabet called consonants (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z). But some words do not follow this rule. For example, you put an (not a) before these words that begin with h. You would notice that h is not pronounced in these words.

an hour an honor
an honest person an heir

We put the before a countable noun when there is only one or when we are referring to a particular one.

the earth The baby in the cot.
the sky The radio in the room.
the sun The tree in front of the house.

We can use numbers or quantity words with countable nouns.

one table a lot of pillows
four wheels many flowers
a hundred years plenty of stamps
a million people some pizzas

Uncountable Nouns

Some nouns are called uncountable nouns or non-count nouns. They are called uncountable nouns because they are words for things we cannot count.

chocolate tea
cream heat
food milk
wind sand
snow sugar

We can put words like a piece of before uncountable nouns, and use them as countable nouns.

a bar of chocolate a jar of jam
a bottle of cream a pinch of salt
a drop of water a spoonful of sugar
a speck of dust a gust of wind
a blade of grass a shower of rain

We can use numbers and quantities with these words to show the plural form.

three bars of chocolate a few grains of rice
two bottles of cream a few limps of sugar


Videos - Countable And Uncountable Nouns

This is a grammar lesson on countable and uncountable nouns. It describes the difference between nouns that we can count and those that are uncountable. It also demonstrates how we use the article "a/an" with countable and uncountable nouns.
Count And Non-Count Nouns
This video gives a brief introduction to count and non-count nouns. ESL learners must master this before they can properly use articles and modifiers with nouns.
Count nouns are the names of "things" that can be counted, such as apples.
Non-count nouns are the names of "things" which cannot be counted, such as water.
You need to know the difference between count and non-count nouns in order to:
• use articles (the, a, an) correctly
• use plurals correctly
Check a dictionary if you are not sure whether a noun is countable or uncountable.

English Grammar Tricks - Countable & Uncountable Nouns

A furniture? Much books? Do you make mistakes like these? Learn some easy tricks to master countable and uncountable nouns for use in conversation and on exams.
Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Countable nouns have singular and plural forms.
Uncountable nouns always take a singular form and always use singular verbs.
English Grammar Lesson: Much and many + countable and uncountable nouns
When do you use 'much' and when do you use 'many' and what is the difference.

Videos - Articles A, An The

An introduction or overview of English articles: a, an, the, and the zero article. (part 1)
An introduction or overview of English articles: a, an, the, and the zero article. (part 2)

English Grammar & Articles A, An, The
This English lesson teaches you how to use 'a', 'an', and 'the' correctly. Many English students make mistakes with these simple words (articles), so make sure you learn how to use them correctly.

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