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)

Hello englishuser,

Fruit and nut can be used as uncountable or countable nouns.

We use fruit in an uncountable sense when we are talking about a quantity of fruit which is not easily counted. This could be many pieces of fruit, for example, or one piece of a larger item. Thus we might say this to a guest: Would you like some fruit?

We use fruits as a countable noun to usually mean types of fruit. Thus, we might say this: I can buy many different fruits at my local market.

Nuts is generally used as a countable noun.


A positive or affirmative sentence is one which is not a question or a negative:

She lives in Paris. - positive/affirmative

Does she live in Paris? - question/interrogative

She doesn't live in Paris. - negative


You can have some juice is a correct sentence. It is an offer with the meaning If you want juice then it's OK.

You can have any juice is not correct as an offer as we would not use any in an affirmative sentence of this kind.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Dilnoza Sulaymonova on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 11:48

hello everybody

Submitted by Navreet Bhardwaj on Wed, 13/05/2020 - 18:41

Hello Sir, Please tell me why 'a' is used with coffee in this sentence? "I stopped on the way home to get a coffee." Thank you
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 06:47

In reply to by Navreet Bhardwaj


Hello Navreet Bhardwaj,

We can say a coffee when we mean a cup of coffee.

A teaa beer and a whiskey all work in a similar way. With water and milk, however, we need to say a cup of... or a glass of.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir, I want to learn about tenses. Can you please link me to that page on your website. I searched tenses on BC website; I found some other stuff that was amazing but I did not get tenses. Sorry to bother you. Thank you :)
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Fri, 15/05/2020 - 13:22

In reply to by Navreet Bhardwaj


Hello Navreet Bhardwaj

You can find what you're looking for in the Verbs section of our English Grammar reference. If you look at the menu in the box on the right, you'll see lots of different options.

We're happy to help you find what you're looking for on LearnEnglish. Enjoy!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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"