Grammar: Count and Noncount Nouns

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Countable nouns are items that can be counted like cookies or people. Conversely, uncountable nouns are things that can never be quantified or aren't normally quantified, like air or love. They're usually intangible or abstract ideas that we can't touch and count. Now that you have a basic idea of these two types of nouns, check out countable and uncountable nouns and example sentences using each.

What Are Countable and Uncountable Nouns?

Much like their names suggests, countable and uncountable nouns are ones you can and can't count. Here's a quick breakdown of these two types of nouns.


Now that you have a simple understanding of what a countable vs. uncountable noun is, it's time to check out these two types of nouns in more depth.

Countable Nouns

Also called count nouns, countable nouns are those tangible nouns you can hold and count one by one. For example, if you have 12 pennies, well, you could count those pennies. A few examples of countable nouns include:

  • dogs
  • cats
  • headbands
  • fans
  • lightbulbs
  • drawers
  • bottles
  • keyboards
  • bags
  • wallets

How to Use Countable Nouns in a Sentence

Countable nouns have distinct singular and plural forms. If you have one cookie, it'll come in the singular form. If you have a dozen cookies, it'll come in the plural form. Additionally, these nouns can be preceded by a number or the determiners "a" or "an." They can also be paired with modifiers or quantifiers, like "many" or "fewer." Explore a few sentence examples using countable nouns.

  • He has one donkey.
  • She adopted three puppies.
  • Can I borrow these three pens?
  • How many plates do you have?
  • I'll have a scone.
  • I took home four dogs.
  • My neighbor has a collection of ten figurines.
  • We need more TVs in our house.
  • It would be better if they had fewer tablets to access.
  • I grabbed four hundred forks.

Even if you're considering an extraordinarily high number, like all the books in the New York Public Library, books are still a countable noun because you could put a number on it.


Uncountable Nouns

With a clear understanding of countable nouns, it's time to take a peek at the nouns you can't count. Uncountable nouns include abstract ideas, things made of small parts like rice, liquids and even some foods. Examples of different uncountable nouns include:

  • love
  • knowledge
  • education
  • help
  • smoke
  • blood
  • fog
  • wood
  • ice
  • rice

How to Use Uncountable Nouns in a Sentence

Uncountable nouns typically only have a singular form. If you have some water in your glass, it'll come in the singular form (even though there are several ounces of it). These nouns will never be preceded by the determiners "a" or "an." Rather, they're paired with an array of modifiers like "some," "a lot of" or "much." See a few examples of how an uncountable noun is used in a sentence.

  • She has some knowledge of the area.
  • He's done a lot of research on the subject.
  • There isn't much air in this room.
  • She has so much homework to complete for a Sunday night.
  • He has a lot of love for music.
  • The sugar is sweet.
  • We had to walk through the sand.
  • I'd like some pasta.
  • We had to sit in the grass.
  • She got flour all over the house.

Since uncountable nouns are always singular, make sure you use a singular verb. So, you wouldn't write, "Knowledge are necessary to live a happy life." Knowledge can't be counted like marbles in a jar, so it's an uncountable noun. Therefore, the verb needs to be singular as in, "Knowledge is necessary to live a happy life."

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