Countable & Uncountable nouns (1)
Nouns can be countable or uncountable. When you learn a new noun you should make a note of whether it is countable or uncountable as we use different words with countables and uncountables.
- There is a cat in the garden.
- There are some birds in the trees.
For positive sentences we can use a/an or some (with a plural verb form)
- There isn’t a dog in the garden.
- There aren’t any birds in the tree.
For negatives we can use a/an or any (with a plural verb form).
- Is there an orange on the tree?
- Are there any chairs in the garden?
- How many chairs are there?
In questions we use a/an, any or how many.
- There is some milk on the floor.
Uncountable nouns have no plural. The verb form is singular and we use some.
- Is there any sugar?
- How much wine is there?
In questions we can use any or how much.
Other expressions of quantity
- There are a lot of apples on the trees.
- There is a lot of snow on the road.
A lot of can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.
Bill Gates has much money.
Notice that we don’t usually use ‘much’ or ‘many’ in positive sentences. We use ‘a lot of’.
- Bill Gates has a lot of money.
- There’s a lot of beer but there isn’t much wine.
- There are a lot of carrots but there aren’t many potatoes.
We use not many with countable nouns and not much with uncountable nouns.
Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, depending on how they are used, and some nouns are commonly confused. These are covered in another section.