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Countable and Uncountable Nouns


Countable Nouns.

A noun which can be counted is called countable noun.

Pen is countable noun because we can count it and can say one pen, two pens, three pens or more pens.  Pen, chair, cup, room, man, baby, bottle, dog, cat are examples countable nouns.


Singular and Plural noun (Countable Noun)


 A countable noun can be singular as well as plural. Article “a” or “an” is used before singular noun but not before plural noun.

If a singular noun starts with consonant letter then “a” is used before it, i.e. a book, a cat, a pen. If a singular noun starts with a vowel letter or with consonant which sounds like vowel in that word, “an” is used before it i.e. an apple, an umbrella, an onion, an hour.


Plural noun (Countable Noun)
Plural noun means more than one person, place or thing. Word “chair” is a singular noun but word “chairs” is plural noun.

  1.  Plurals are usually formed by adding –s or –es to singular noun for example book–books, cat–cats, box–boxes, tax–taxes. If a word ends with “y”, the “y” is changed to “I” then –es is added to make it plural, for example, baby–babies, lady–ladies. There may be some exceptions.
  2. Some plural are formed in different ways for example, man–men, child–children, leaf–leaves, wife–wives, foot–feet, toot–teeth, datum–data, basis–bases.  Such plurals are called irregular plural forms.
  3. Some nouns have same plural and singular form, for example, sheep–sheep, deer–deer, swine–swine.  

Uncountable Nouns.

Uncountable noun refers to substances which cannot be counted.

For example, water is an uncountable noun because we cannot count it. We cannot say, one water or two water.  Such substances which cannot be counted in terms of numbers are called uncountable noun.
Examples: Water, milk, bread, honey, rain, furniture, news, information, pleasure, honesty, courage, weather, music, preparation, warmth, wheat are examples of uncountable nouns.


Use of Uncountable Nouns.

Uncountable nouns are usually treated as singular noun for auxiliary verbs in sentence but articles “a or an” are usually not used before uncountable nouns.

       Water maintains its level.
       Necessity is the mother of invention
       His preparation was not good.
       The Weather is very pleasant today.
       This information is very helpful in solving the problem.
       The warmth of sun causes evaporation of water.

Uncountable nouns may be used as countable noun when it refers to an individual thing. For example life is uncountable noun but it be used as countable noun if refers to individual, lives.
It was feared that two lives had been lost.

We can also use word like “some, any, no, little, more etc” before uncountable nouns if needed in sentence.
         They have no information about the accused.
         There is little milk in the glass.


Changing Uncountable nouns into countable nouns.

       We can change uncountable noun into countable noun if we specify a unit or measuring standard for it. For example “water” is an uncountable noun but we can make it countable by saying one glass of water or two glass of water etc. In this example we selected a unit that is glass. We can also say one litre of water or one cup of water etc. By selecting such units or measuring standards we can change uncountable noun in to countable which can be counted in terms of numbers.
    Uncountable – countable
       Bread – a piece of bread.
       Wheat – a grain of wheat.
       Milk – a glass of milk
       Information – a piece of information


Parts of Speech