Nouns: countable and uncountable

Nouns: countable and uncountable

Do you know how to use a, some, any, much and many? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

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.


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

Average: 4 (99 votes)
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Profile picture for user ElaineFerraz

Submitted by ElaineFerraz on Tue, 12/05/2020 - 21:06

Hello, In exercise 8 my answer was “any” but it says it is not correct. I understand the use of “much” in this context however I wonder why not using “ any” if you want to mean there is no toothpaste at all. Can someone comment on this, please? Thanks
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Wed, 13/05/2020 - 08:26

In reply to by ElaineFerraz


Hello ElaineFerraz

You are right: 'any' is also a correct answer for test 1 question 8. I will fix that as soon as I can.

Sorry for the confusion!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Dimas wicaksono on Tue, 12/05/2020 - 01:23

In grammar test 1 number 7, the correct answer are "any" or "many". but why in number 8 the correct answer is just only "much"? can we put on "any" as well? because in explanation, uncountable nouns in negative sentences using "any"

Hello Dimas wicaksono

You are right: 'any' is also a correct answer for test 1 question 8. I will fix that as soon as I can.

Sorry for the confusion!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Navreet Bhardwaj on Thu, 07/05/2020 - 18:46

Hello Sir, My doubt is related to question 7. I have bought some new shoes but I did not get a shirt. I got the first part right : I have bought some new shoes. But I did not get why we used 'a' with shirt? Is 'I have bought some new shoes but I did not get any shirt. ' wrong?
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 08/05/2020 - 07:18

In reply to by Navreet Bhardwaj


Hello Navreet Bhardwaj,

We use any with uncountable nouns (e.g. sugar, time, water) or with countable plural nouns (chairs, people, shirts). Thus, we could say '...but I did not get any shirts'.

However, if we have a singular countable noun (chair, person, shirt) then we cannot use any. We need to use either the indefinite article (a) or the definite article. (the). Thus, any shirt is not correct.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by H_L on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 19:45

Hello, In the first grammar test number 8, can we say "There isn't any toothpaste." "any" is for count and uncount nouns and for negative and interrogative sentences, right? Also, in the second grammar test number 7, can we say "I've bought some new shoes but I didn't get any shirt."? If not, can you explain why? Thank you so much.

Submitted by Cannon Sensei on Thu, 23/04/2020 - 01:17

On question 7 in Grammar Test 1, is "We have a lot of chairs but we don't have 'many' tables." incorrect?

Hello Cannon Sensei

You're right -- 'many' is also a possible answer for the second gap. I'll change the exercise so that it accepts that answer as well as 'any'.

Thanks for pointing this out to us.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team