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: 4.1 (151 votes)

Submitted by Fajar Wibisana on Mon, 13/07/2020 - 08:09

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.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Claudia on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 19:36

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.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Marcos on Fri, 03/07/2020 - 14:31

Hello Sir, I'd like to know in the question 2 of grammar test 1. Can I also use the indefinite article "a" before chicken for it being a countable noun?

Hello Marcos,

It is grammatically possible to say a chicken here, but some chicken is much more common when we are referring to food rather than thinking of the animal.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Alaa El Baddini on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 04:13

The number of advice (is / are) Is there anything that's called "the number of advice"?!

Hello Alaa El Baddini,

Advice is an uncountable noun and we don't use it with number of.

You can say pieces of advice, and then a number of pieces of advice is possible.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by englishuser on Mon, 15/06/2020 - 19:23

Are fruit/nut and fruits/nuts - both uncountable nouns? Why can’t the below sentences be correct ? Is it just the rules or more than that ? What is meant by positive sentence? You can have any juice. You can have some juice. Thanks