Countable vs uncountable

Countable vs Uncountable Nouns

So today we are going to be looking at how to properly use both ‘countable’ and ‘uncountable’ Nouns.

After hearing my students incorrectly use phrases like “I have many money.” for the millionth time this week, I knew something had to be done.

I have prepared this quick post to help clear a few things up when using countable and uncountable Nouns.

I knew something had to be done! 
-Jack Perez-Haydock 

Countable nouns

So simply put: ‘Countable,’ nouns are things that can be counted (eg Dog/Dogs, Man/Men, Place/Places), Generally speaking most of the Nouns that we come across are usually countable. Easy right?

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So how would you determine when a noun is uncountable?

Unfortunately this is where things get a little bit trickier as this is not always clear and does require using some initiative.

Generally speaking Uncountable nouns can also be described as Mass Nouns (Eg Water, Salt, Wood), in other words things that can’t be counted using numbers.

That said, as with everything in English, there are obviously exceptions to this rule along with grey areas, though nine times out of ten this will be the case.

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Things get a bit more complicated when using Uncountable nouns in a sentence as the structure changes slightly.

For Countable nouns you would use ‘A’ or ‘An’ to precede the word in the singular form (eg A Dog/2 Dogs, A Man/ We are 2 Men, A Place, 2 Places).

For Uncountable nouns usually there is no singular form so to quantify these nouns you must use quantifiers such as ‘Some Water,’ ‘a bit of Salt,’ ‘A lot of Wood’ etc.. or alternatively we can use exact measurements eg (1 Liter of Water, A Tablespoon of Salt, 30 cm of Wood).

One last thing...

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One last thing to bear in mind is when asking about the quantity of something you must also consider whether the noun is countable or uncountable.

To ask about the quantity of a Countable Noun you would usually ask ‘How Many’ (Eg how many dogs?)

To ask the quantity of something uncountable you would usually ask How Much?  (eg how much water?)

Another example would be that wine is made from grapes.

There's the gist for you!

So in summary, ensuring that you are using both countable and uncountable nouns correctly is a rather small detail, however it goes along way in fine tuning your English and improving your overall fluency in the language.

A bit confusing, right? Don’t worry!

Let’s get into it…in the video you’ll hear loads of examples of these fixed expressions.

Perfect your listening!

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Next week, all the Teachify teachers are going to have a chat about English.