Countable and Uncountable Noun

Published on 29-Jun-2022

Countable and Uncountable Noun

Countable nouns are names for things, people, and other things that can be counted.

Pen, pencil, book, boy, sister, girl, cow, tree, orange etc.

1. Singular and plural forms exist for countable nouns.

Singular

 

Plural

 

man girl horse

 

men girls horses

 

2. Countable nouns take both singular and plural verbs. 

The boy is playing singular noun + singular verb

The boys are playing. Plural noun + plural verb

Proper, common, and collective nouns are called countable nouns because they can be counted.

3. The words that are used before singular countable nouns are

a, an, the, every, each, either, neither, this, that, these, those, all, both, any, no, some, much, many, little, few, two, three, four, etc.

Examples:  

I have a garden.

She took an orange.

Beware of the dog.

He bought two pens.

All the students are present. 

4. The words used before plural countable nouns are: the all, some, these, those, both, few, a few, many, numeral, other, than, one (e.g. two, three, four, etc.)

Examples:   

I have a few friends.

All men must die.

He bought some oranges.

Uncountable Noun

Uncountable nouns: Uncountable nouns are the name of things that cannot be counted. 

Examples: sugar, milk, water, tea, rice, jute, etc. 

Features of uncountable nouns:

  • They always take a singular verb 
  • Before an uncountable noun, a/an is not used.
  • Determiners used before uncountable nouns are: little, much, no, any, some, etc. 

 

Example: I have a little rice.

List of Uncountable Noun

(a) Solid substances and materials: Paper, earth, cotton, nylon, bread, rice, etc.

(b) Liquids: Water, oil, tea, milk, ink, coffee.

(c) Gases: Oxygen, Hydrogen, steam, smoke, air.

(d) Language: Bangla, English, German, Spanish, etc.

(e)  Abstractions: equality, honesty, peace, safety, love, sympathy, courage, beauty, freedom, horror, pity, hope, mercy.

(f)  Diseases: Malaria, AIDS, dysentery, influenza,

(g) Games: Football, cricket, hockey, chess, tennis, volleyball.

(h)  Natural phenomena: Heat, electricity, sunshine, weather.

(i)  Academic disciplines: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography.

(j)  Small particles: Sand, rice, flour, salt.

(k)  Other intangibles: Information, work, knowledge, death, fear, belief, experience, news.

(1)  Verbal Nouns: Camping, cooking, clothing, trimming, blessing, helping, wedding. 

(m)  Other things: Baggage, luggage, furniture, hair, scenery.

Note: The word weather is uncountable.

Example: What wonderful weather is!

But in the case of fixed expression, the word weather has a plural form. So, it is countable.

Example: A postman goes out all weathers.

Climate is usually uncountable. But its countable form is:

What a beautiful climate!

Uncountable nouns can be made countable by using measure words. These measure words are related to a container, part, length, width, size, and weight.

(i) Any numeral or a/an+

(ii) a measure word related to an uncountable noun +

(ill) of +

(iv) the given uncountable noun.

 

Structure: Numeral or a/an+measure word+ of + uncountable noun.

 

a/an or numeral

 

measure word

 

of

 

uncountable noun

 

Portion-based measure words

 

three pieces a slice a sheet' a pinch a heap

 

of

furniture bread paper salt earth

 

Container-based measure words

 

a cup a glass, two bags, a bottle, a pot

 

of

tea water rice milk jam

 

Length

 

Three yards six inches ten feet two miles

 

of

string rope water cable

 

Volume

 

a gallon three litres an ounce

 

of

water patrol syrup

 

Area

 

two acres, three bighas

 

of

 

land land

 

Weight

 

two pounds ten kilos ten tons

 

of

 

butter rice wheat

 

Measure words relating to qualities and idea

 

an item a piece a piece a kind an attack a kind a blade

 

of

 

news advice information generosity fever justice grass

 

A list of some countable from uncountable.

Uncountable

 

Countable

 

Uncountable

 

Countable

 

 

bread

 

a loaf

 

clothing

 

a garment

 

 

laughter

 

a laugh

 

luggage

 

a suitcase

 

 

pay

 

a payment

 

permission

 

a permit

 

 

poetry

 

a poem

 

work

 

a job

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A list of countable nouns from uncountable in the form of sentences.

 

Uncountable

 

Countable

 

Houses were built of stone.

 

He threw a stone at me

 

We live in the age of science.

 

Mathematics is a science

 

Everybody wants success.

 

Your performance was a great success

 

All plants need light.

 

Dose he use a light beside your bed?

 

Have pity!

 

Please, have a pity on the small creature.

 

Shame on you!

 

What a shame!

 

Art is long

 

Painting is an art.

 

Please show honour to your elders

 

It is an honour for me to be here.

 

 

           

 

 

Many nouns can be counted and uncounted in the same sentence. In that case there is difference of meaning.

Danger -The boy is in danger (U). -She is a danger to society(C)

 

Cake - I prefer cake to bread.(U) -Give him a piece of cake (C)

 

Beauty - She had beauty even in her old age (U) -She is a beauty(C).

 

Noise-Mere noise will not please me (U) - We heard a noise (C).

 

Brick -The mosque is built of brick (U). -Some bricks were bought. (C)

 

Chicken -He likes soup of chicken (U)-He sold three chickens (C).

Words common in countable and uncountable nouns

'The' can be used for both countable, uncountable, singular, and plural nouns.

Examples:

Bring the water.

The men are thirsty.

Have the boys finished the milk?

Some other words like; any, some, many, much can be used with plural or uncountable nouns.

Plural and uncountable nouns can also be used without using some, any.

Q Some nouns can be countable and uncountable depending on usage.

Example: If you drop the kerosene, it might catch fire, ('fire' in general)

They built a fire in their backyard, ('fire' at a particular place)

Q 'Many' and 'a few' go only with countable nouns.

Examples:

Many people attended the meeting, (not 'much people')

I have only a few pencils left, (not 'a little pencils')

Q 'Much' and 'a little' go with uncountable nouns.

Examples:

Much time has already been wasted, (not 'many time')

A little sugar is still left in the jar. _____

 

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