You are here

Countable and uncountable nouns 1

Do you know how to use a, some, any, much and many?

Look at these examples to see how to use countable and uncountable nouns in a sentence.

I'm making a cup of tea.
There's some money on the table.
Have we got any bread?
How many chairs do we need?
How much milk have we got?

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Countable and uncountable nouns 1: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Nouns can be countable or uncountable. Countable nouns can be counted, e.g. an apple, two apples, three apples, etc. Uncountable nouns cannot be counted, e.g. air, rice, water, etc. When you learn a new noun, you should check if it is countable or uncountable and note how it is used in a sentence.

Countable nouns

For positive sentences we can use a/an for singular nouns or some for plurals.

There's a man at the door.
I have some friends in New York.

For negatives we can use a/an for singular nouns or any for plurals.

I don't have a dog.
There aren't any seats.

Uncountable nouns

Here are some examples of uncountable nouns:

bread rice coffee information
money advice luggage furniture

We use some with uncountable nouns in positive sentences and any with negatives.

There's some milk in the fridge.
There isn't any coffee.

Questions

In questions we use a/an, any or how many with countable nouns.

Is there an email address to write to?
Are there any chairs?
How many chairs are there?

And we use any or how much with uncountable nouns.

Is there any sugar?
How much orange juice is there?

But when we are offering something or asking for something, we normally use some.

Do you want some chocolate?
Can we have some more chairs, please?

We also use some in a question when we think the answer will be 'yes'.

Have you got some new glasses?

Other expressions of quantity

A lot of (or lots of) can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.

There are lots of apples on the trees.
There is a lot of snow on the road
.

Notice that we don't usually use many or much in positive sentences. We use a lot of instead.

They have a lot of money.

However, in negative sentences we use not many with countable nouns and not much with uncountable nouns.

There are a lot of carrots but there aren't many potatoes.
There's lots of juice but there isn't much water.

Go to Countable and uncountable nouns 2 to learn more.

Try this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Countable and uncountable nouns 1: Grammar test 2

Language level

Beginner: A1
Pre-intermediate: A2

Comments

Thank you very much for the reply.

If I add "any" in a sentence, it shows that it is already in a "negative" sentence right? Or I really need to put aren't or isn't, to show that is in a negative sentence.
Ex: There's any kids at the mall.

Hello Saeomd93,

The negative verb is still needed. It's possible to use any in affirmative sentences with the meaning 'it doesn't matter which one':

Choose a card, any card.

I can take any day off I like.

This programme can open any graphics file.

 

When we use an affirmative verb, we use no to mean not any:

There aren't any kids at the mall.

There are no kids at the mall.

Note that a plural noun and a plural verb is used in both cases.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
If I want to say more information ,how can I say it by grammatic although "information" uncountable nouns

Hi Pola,

It really depends what you want to say and what the context is.

If you are just talking about information in general, then more information is perfectly fine:

Hi. Could I have some more information about this, please?

 

If you want to talk about a single thing then you can use a piece of information:

I have one more thing to tell you and this is a very important piece of information so listen carefully.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I was able to study a lot things about countable and non countable nouns.

Hello Everyone,

In a lesson above we found out that:

""""Countable nouns
For positive sentences we can use a/an for singular nouns or some for plurals."""""

why we use "some" rather than "many" for singular countable noun?

Hello Fajar Wibisana,

We do not use 'some' for singular countable nouns.

'Some' has a very general meaning. It could refer to a large number/amount or a small number/amount. It can be used with both uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns.

'Many' has a more specific meaning. It tells us that the number of items was large. 'Many' can only be used with plural countable nouns; the equivalent for uncountable nouns would be 'much'. Generally, however, we use 'much' and 'many' in negative sentences or questions. 'A lot of' is more common in affirmative sentences.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi everyone!
Would it be possible to say "There isn't any space in the car" instead of "There isn't much space"?
Thank you!

Hello Claudia,

Generally speaking, not any means zero, while not much means that there is a small amount. Both are grammatically possible; which is needed or preferred will depend on the context.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages