Common Mistakes in Written English 6 - Countable & Uncountable Nouns


Notes & Exercises

Nouns can be divided into two kinds: countable and uncountable.

(A) Countable Nouns
i. Countable nouns are nouns that we can count. They can be singular or plural.
e.g. I have a boiled egg for breakfast.
    I bought three story books yesterday.
    The students in this school are very polite.

ii. We use the indefinite article (a/ an) before singular nouns.
e.g. a boiled egg

iii. We use a definite article (the) or a number before plural nouns.
e.g. the students
     three story books

iv. We change most singular nouns to plurals by adding Vs. However, there are some that follow different rules.

We . . .
Nouns ending in -s, -x, -ss, -ch, -sh es buses, boxes, dresses, watches, bushes
Nouns ending in -o s or es pianos, zoos, tomatoes, potatoes, heroes
Nouns ending in a vowel -y s boys, cats, days, monkeys
Nouns ending in a consonant -y change y to ies bodies, cities, countries, ladies, families
Nouns ending in -f/-fe change -f/-fe to -ves leaves, shelves, lives, knives
Some special nouns change the vowel(s),
change some letters at the end,
add letters at the end

foot---feet, man---men

Some animals Make no change fish---fish

(B) Uncountable Nouns
i. Uncountable nouns are nouns that we cannot count. We cannot count them because they
- are too difficult to count.
e.g. rice, hair, sugar
- do not have separate parts.
e.g. air, water, steam
- are abstract.
e.g. friendship, happiness, health

ii. Uncountable nouns do not have a plural form. We do not use an indefinite article (a/an) or numerals (one, two, three, etc.) in front of these nouns.

iii. If we want to show the amount of an uncountable noun, we use quantity words in front of it.
e.g. two cups of tea
    a bowl of rice
    three tins of paint

iv. We cannot use many/few with uncountable nouns, but we can say some/much/ a lot of/ all of the/ most of the water, butter, cheese, etc.


Notes & Exercises