Most nouns are countable nouns, or count nouns. They are called countable nouns because they refer to people or things that can be counted.
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|
Some nouns are called uncountable nouns or non-count nouns. They are called uncountable nouns because they are words for things we cannot count.
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|
We welcome your feedback, comments and questions about this site or page. Please submit your feedback or enquiries via our Feedback page.