Learn about some common count and uncount nouns that people find confusing, and do the exercises to practise using them.
Substances as count or uncount nouns
Substances are usually uncount nouns:
Would you like some cheese?
Coffee keeps me awake at night.
Wine makes me sleepy.
but they can also be used as count nouns:
I'd like a coffee, please. = I'd like a [cup of] coffee.
May I have a white wine? = May I have a [glass of] white wine?
They sell a lot of coffees. = They sell a lot of [different kinds of] coffee.
I prefer white wines to red. = I prefer [different kinds of] white wine to red.
They had over twenty cheeses. = They had over twenty [types of] cheese.
This is an excellent soft cheese. = This [kind of] soft cheese is excellent.
- Substances as count or uncount nouns 1
- Substances as count or uncount nouns 2
Nouns with both a count and an uncount form
Some nouns have both a count and an uncount form. Their meanings are closely related:
George had hopes of promotion.
We should always have hope.
There's a danger of avalanches on the mountain.
Some people enjoy danger.
Nouns with two meanings
Some nouns have two meanings, one count and the other uncount:
Can I have a glass of water?
I cut myself on some glass.
Is English a difficult language?
Linguistics is the study of language.
The Times is an excellent paper.
It's made of paper.
Other nouns like this are:
- Nouns with two meanings 1
- Nouns with two meanings 2
Uncount nouns that end in –s
Some uncount nouns end in –s. They look like plural count nouns, but they are not.
Nouns like this generally refer to:
|Subjects of study:
||mathematics, physics, economics, etc.
||gymnastics, athletics, etc.
||cards, darts, billiards, etc.
||mumps, measles, rabies, etc.
Economics is a very difficult subject.
Billiards is easier than pool or snooker.
- Uncount nouns that end in –s