Count nouns have two forms: singular and plural.

Singular count nouns refer to one person or thing:

a book; a teacher; a wish; an idea

Plural count nouns refer to more than one person or thing:

books; teachers; wishes; ideas

Singular count nouns

Singular count nouns cannot be used alone. They must have a determiner:

the book; that English teacher; a wish; my latest idea

Plural forms

We usually add –s to make a plural noun:

book > books; school > schools; friend > friends

We add -es to nouns ending in –ss; -ch; -s; -sh; -x

class > classes; watch > watches; gas > gases; wish > wishes; box > boxes

When a noun ends in a consonant and -y we make the plural in -ies...

lady > ladies; country > countries; party > parties

…but if a noun ends in a vowel and -y we simply add -s:

boy > boys; day > days; play > plays

Some common nouns have irregular plurals:

Man > men; woman > women; child > children; foot > feet;
person > people

Plural count nouns do not have a determiner when they refer to people or things as a group:

Computers are very expensive.
Do you sell old books?




I'm not sure if the following question is appropriate to be raised in this thread. If not, please forgive me.
My question is: Is it "grammatically correct" when a writer/speaker transform a countable noun to a uncountable one at his own will?
I've come across sentences where a noun is only defined as a countable one in dictionaries but is used in a uncountable way to seem to give it an abstract attribute.
Take an script-writing book I'm reading now for instance. It's written by a native speaker. By the end of a paragraph, he says:

"In the end it is all to do with story."
where "story" is never defined in dictionaries as an uncountable noun.

I've looked into various grammar books for a justification for this "transformation as you want" usage, but to no avail, so I was wondering if it can be seen as grammatically incorrect?

Thank you very much

*FYI, the context of my example is: "Why did The X Factor sweep away all before it? How does some modern art exploit its patrons' gullibility? Why were the Birmingham Six originally thought to be guilty? In the end it is all to do with story."

Hi JJcat,

The writer here is using 'story' as an abstract noun to describe a concept, not a particular example. It is not in fact entirely unusual for such terms to be used, though I have not seen this particular example before.

The author is doing this deliberately to make a point; Presumably 'story' is one of several concepts they use to categorise and analyse the material they are working with. Beyond that I can't really comment on whether it is effective or not - that is a subjective assessment which the reader makes.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Are these rules applicable under all circumstances.?

Hello roopank20,

There may be individual exceptions to rules - that is the nature of languages, and particularly the English language - but these rules are a good guide to the vast majority of cases.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

the course is very helpful thanks for the afford ^_^

Thank you very much..
Kind regards

Thank you very much..
Kind regards

Writing about distances, what's the abbreviation for kilometres, km or kms?

Hello Ilariuccia,

Normally the plural is not indicated in the abbreviation – in other words, both 'kilometres' and 'kilometre' are abbreviated as 'km' (not 'kms'). I'm sure you can find exceptions to this use, however. 

When reading an abbreviation, note that you should use the plural form if that's appropriate. For example, if you see '10 km' in a guidebook and read it out loud to a friend, you should say 'ten kilometres'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team