Looking at Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Today we are going to take a look at how countable and uncountable nouns work in English! Maybe you have heard the words before: a, some, any, and thought to yourself, how do I know when to use these words and how can I tell the difference between them? A big difference that will help you to know when to use which of these words is knowing whether a noun is countable or uncountable. A good way to tell if a noun is countable or uncountable is to see if you can pluralize it using a number. If you are still not sure what the difference is between a countable and an uncountable noun check out the examples below for clarification:
– Do you have any milk at your house I could borrow? (uncountable)
– Do you have two tomatoes in your fridge? (countable)
– There are six men outside the door. (countable)
– Where can I find some information on this project? (uncountable)

You use the word A or AN when referring to singular countable nouns but AN is only used when the next word begins with a a vowel sound:
– Can I have AN apple?
– Do you have A spare bed in your apartment?

***** note that you cannot use these words for uncountables ie. you cannot say do you have A milk I could drink? Instead, you would use the word some or be specific about the quantity you want: Do you have some milk I could drink? Could I have a glass of milk?

You use the words SOME or ANY when you are talking about plurals of both countable and uncountable nouns. Typically speaking, any is used more frequently when asking questions and some is used for positive statements when you are discussing the presence of something.
– Do you have any holiday lights we could put up?
– There is some type of smell in this room!
– I have some leftovers if you are hungry.
– Is there any heating in this house? I am so cold!

You, unfortunately, are likely to have to just remember if a noun is countable or uncountable as there are so many exceptions to the rules. So whenever you learn a new noun try to remember if it is countable or uncountable.

Once you have that down, here are different words you can use to describe quantities of countable or countable nouns.

To describe when there is comparatively smaller numbers of a noun:
– For countable: fewer
– For uncountable: less
To describe when there is a significant quantity of something:
– For countable: many
– For uncountable: much
To describe the presence of something in general:
– For countable: a number of
– For uncountable: an amount of

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Quiz

In the following exercise try to pick the right term for the following sentences based on if the noun is countable or uncountable!

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