Read about using countable and uncountable nouns. Then, when you are ready, try these practice exercises.

Countable and uncountable nouns

I have four cats (plural noun)A countable noun can be counted. You can have one, two or more of them, and they have a plural (usually with -s at the end). Uncountable nouns can't be counted and there is no plural.

She's got four cats. ('cat' is countable - you can have one or more)

Her cats drink milk. ('milk' is uncountable - we don't usually say 'milks')

Things to remember with countable nouns

1. Use a/an or numbers to count nouns:

I have four cats. 

I bought a book.

2. Use some quantifiers (e.g. some or a lot of) with plural countable nouns.

There are some birds in my garden.

3. Use the plural when making generalisations:

I like presents.

4. Singular countable nouns = it, plural countable nouns = they:

My cat is cute → It is cute.

Cats are cute → They are cute.

Things to remember with uncountable nouns

1. Don't use a/an or numbers. You can use some quantifiers (e.g. some or a lot of) with uncountable nouns. 

I had some coffee this morning.

2. Use uncountable nouns to make generalisations

I like wine.

2. Uncountable nouns = it, so uncountable nouns always use the third person verb form (e.g. is, has, likes).

Coffee is delicious → It is delicious.


Countable or uncountable?

Some nouns can be countable or uncountable, depending on the meaning.

I like chickens. (= the whole animal, you can count these)

I like chicken. (= the food, you only usually eat a part of it)

I ate some chocolates. (= some little chocolates from a box of many)

I ate some chocolate (= part of a bar of chocolate).

I want an ice cream (= one whole ice cream usually in a cone, you lick it 🍦)

I want some ice cream (= some from a tub, eat it with a spoon)

 You can find lots more examples of countable and uncountable nouns on the countable/uncountable noun practice exercises page.