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Countable and Uncountable Nouns

People, animals, places, objects, or concepts that may be numbered are countable nouns in English grammar. Uncountable nouns cannot be counted since they are not separate things. We’ll look at countable and uncountable nouns and offer instances of both countable and uncountable nouns. It can be hard to get the hang of initially, but once you understand the difference it’s very simple.

Countable nouns

As mentioned above, countable nouns are separate things. They’re nouns you can count. For example, you can have one cup, or you can have two, three or four cups. 

They can be either the singular or plural form. If the countable noun is in the singular form, you must use an indefinite article with it. For example, ‘a pen’. Or, if expressing ownership, the possessive form would be ‘my pen’. If there is more than one pen, no indefinite article is used – it would simply be ‘pens’.

To bring these rules together and help you understand, we will give an example of grammatically incorrect use of a countable noun and then show you the correction. 

Wrong: There is a lot of photographs in the attic at Grandma’s.
Right: There are a lot of photographs in the attic at Grandma’s. 

Wrong: What book is you reading?
Right: What book are you reading?

Wrong: Your book are on the desk.
Right: Your book is on the desk.

Uncountable nouns

An uncountable noun is something that cannot be numbered. Even though uncountable nouns are not individual things, they are always single, therefore singular verbs must always be used with uncountable nouns. It is important to note that single verbs are always used with uncountable nouns.

An example of an uncountable noun is ‘rice’ or ‘sugar’. You wouldn’t ask for rices sugars because (hopefully) you won’t be counting individual grains or rice or sugar. You’d therefore use the singular, often with the word ‘some’.

The uncountable noun sentence examples below will help you understand how countable and uncountable nouns vary from one another.

Wrong: Can I have some cheeses?
Right: Can I have some cheese?

Wrong: You have to bring your own equipments to the gym class.
Right: You have to bring your own equipment to the gym class.

Wrong: I’m not drinking enough waters.
Right: I’m not drinking enough water.

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