Common problems with count and uncount nouns
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
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:
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.|
|Activities:||gymnastics, athletics, etc.|
|Games:||cards, darts, billiards, etc.|
|Diseases:||mumps, measles, rabies, etc.|
Economics is a very difficult subject.
Billiards is easier than pool or snooker.
- Uncount nouns that end in –s