Uncountable nouns are substances, concepts etc that we cannot divide into separate elements. We cannot "count" them. For example, we cannot count "milk". We can count "bottles of milk" or "litres of milk", but we cannot count "milk" itself. Here are some more uncountable nouns:
- music, art, love, happiness
- advice, information, news
- furniture, luggage
- rice, sugar, butter, water
- electricity, gas, power
- money, currency
We usually treat uncountable nouns as singular. We use a singular verb. For example:
- This news is very important.
- Your luggage looks heavy.
We do not usually use the indefinite article a/an with uncountable nouns. We cannot say "an information" or "a music". But we can say a something of:
- a piece of news
- a bottle of water
- a grain of rice
We can use some and any with uncountable nouns:
- I've got some money.
- Have you got any rice?
We can use a little and much with uncountable nouns:
- I've got a little money.
- I haven't got much rice.
Uncountable nouns are also called "mass nouns".
Here are some more examples of countable and uncountable nouns:
Nouns that can be Countable and Uncountable:
Sometimes, the same noun can be countable and uncountable, often with a change of meaning.
|There are two hairs in my coffee!||hair||I don't have much hair.|
|There are two lights in our bedroom.||light||Close the curtain. There's too much light!|
|Shhhhh! I thought I heard a noise.|
There are so many different noises in the city.
|noise||It's difficult to work when there is so much noise.|
|Have you got a paper to read? (newspaper)|
Hand me those student papers.
|paper||I want to draw a picture. Have you got some paper?|
|Our house has seven rooms.||room||Is there room for me to sit here?|
|We had a great time at the party.|
How many times have I told you no?
|time||Have you got time for a cup of coffee?|
|Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's greatest works.||work||I have no money. I need work!|
Drinks (coffee, water, orange juice) are usually uncountable. But if we are thinking of a cup or a glass, we can say (in a restaurant, for example):
- Two teas and one coffee please.
Go here for uncountable/countable noun games:
Here is an example: