You are here

Uncount nouns

Level: beginner

Some nouns in English are uncount nouns. We do not use uncount nouns in the plural and we do not use them with the indefinite article a/an:

We ate a lot of food. (NOT foods)
We bought some new furniture. (NOT furnitures)
That's useful information. (NOT a useful information)

We can use some quantifiers with uncount nouns:

He gave me some useful advice.
They gave us a lot of information.

Uncount nouns often refer to:

Substances: food, water, wine, salt, bread, iron
Human feelings or qualities: anger, cruelty, happiness, honesty, pride
Activities: help, sleep, travel, work
Abstract ideas: beauty, death, fun, life

Common uncount nouns

Some common nouns in English like information are uncount nouns even though they have plurals in other languages:

advice accommodation baggage equipment
furniture homework knowledge luggage
machinery money news traffic

Let me give you some advice.
How much luggage have you got?

Common uncount nouns 1


If we want to make these things countable, we use expressions like:

a piece of ... a bit of ... an item of ...
pieces of ...  bits of ... items of ... 

Let me give you a piece of advice.
That's a useful piece of equipment.
We bought a few bits of furniture for the new apartment.
She had six separate items of luggage.

However, accommodation, money and traffic cannot be made countable in this way. We need to use other expressions:

I've lived in three flats/apartments. (NOT bits of accommodation)
Smith received three large sums of money. (NOT pieces of money)
We got stuck in two traffic jams. (NOT pieces of traffic)

Common uncount nouns 2


Common uncount nouns 3




what is the definition of uncount noun and count noun,and how can we know that it's a uncount and count noun.

Hello Ridg Wick,

A count noun is one which can be plural. For example, we can say one chair (singular) but also two chairs, three chairs, a thousand chairs etc (all plural).

An uncount noun has no plural form. We can only talk about quantity, not number. For example, we can say some milk, some more milk, a lot of milk, a glass of milk, a litre of milk etc, and all of these have a singular noun. We do not say milks.



The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening!

In the above example 'We bought a few bits of furniture for the new apartment.', would the meaning of the sentence remain the same if 'a bit of' was used at the place of 'a few bits of'?


'Furniture' is an uncountable noun and it is possible to talk about it with or without a quantity (an item). Thus, all of these are possible:

I don't have many pieces of furniture at home.

I have a few bits of furniture at home.

I don't have much furniture at home.

I have a bit of furniture at home.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir,
Thanks for your reply!

Could you please answer these questions?

(1) Is the following correct?
count nouns occur with the indefinite article a but not with the complex quantifier a lot of: a diamond, *a lot of diamond. Mass nouns do the opposite: a lot of gold, *a gold."
(Ronald W. Langacker, "Linguistic Manifestations of the Space-Time (Dis)Analogy." Space and Time in Languages and Cultures: Language, Culture, and Cognition, ed. by Luna Filipović and Katarzyna M. Jaszczolt. John Benjamins, 2012)

(a) Is it- "It will cost you two hundred dollars/pounds" Or "two hundred dollar/pound"?
(b) Is it- "It weighs twenty pound." Or "twenty pounds"?
(c) Is it - "He is six foot two inch" Or "six feet two inches" ?

Kind Regards,

Hi Abhishek Singh,

Count nouns can be used with a lot of in the plural, but not in the singular form:

a diamond - a lot of diamonds

Mass nouns are not used with the indefinite article. However, some mass nouns can also be count nouns, depending on the context:

a lot of sugar [mass noun]

I like two sugars in my coffee [count noun]


The plural form of currencies is used in all examples, though certain dialects may use non-standard forms.

For height, we use the plural form of 'inch', or omit it entirely:

He's six foot two inches tall.

He's six foot two inches.

He's six foot two.

Again, some dialects may vary. It is also possible to use 'feet' here, though 'foot' is more commmon.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I am a bit confused about the following sentence:
'Our belief is that diversity and inclusion creates a positive workforce environment, but building a diverse workforce is also the smart business thing to do.'

Why does a singular verb instead of a plural verb follow 'diversity and inclusion'? I thought 'diversity and inclusion' is a combination of two nouns which should be followed by a plural form. Is there a general rule that whenever two nouns (whether countable or uncountable) are linked together by 'and', they should be followed by a plural verb?

Thanks a lot!

Hi learningenglishhard,

I would say that the verb in that sentence should be plural: '...diversity and inclusion create...'

I don't know the source for the sentence you quoted, but remember that even the most careful writers can make mistakes, especially when a text is edited and changed over time. For example, the text might once have said '...a focus on diversity and inclusion creates...', and then been edited to remove 'a focus on', leaving an ungrammatical verb.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello ! I'am a bit confused about the uncount noun ''money''.
Is it correct or wrong to say: few money or a lot of money ?
Thank you in advance.

Hi Abfalter Cristian,

'a lot of money' is the correct option here. The opposite is 'little money'. In both cases, 'money' is an uncount noun.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team