Countable and Uncountable Nouns a complete study

Countable and uncountable nouns

Anything that can be counted is called Countable Noun. Anything that can not be counted, is an Uncountable Noun. In this article, you will learn Countable and Uncountable nouns in detail.

Examples of nouns

Read the following conversation between Jhon and Krish. Now they are on their way to shop for daily needs.

Krish:  What are you going to buy today, Jhon?

John: I have to buy rice, sugar, dal, ghee, mustard, cheese, an umbrella and some apples.

 John: What are you going to buy Amar?

Krish: I have to buy a pen, a pencil, a book, some paper, a cup, butter, milk, bananas and some vegetables.

The bold words in the above conversation are nouns.


Now pick out the Nouns from the following sentences:

  1. My friends have done their homework.
  2. The weather is windy.
  3. The girl is singing a song.
  4. Gita’s father is a doctor.
  5. Can you hear that music?
  6. A vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat and fish.
  7. Satish is looking for a job.
  8. These chairs are made of wood.
  9. I bought a paper to read.
  10. Students go to school.
  11. A dog is an animal.
  12. There are some eggs in the fridge.
  13. Shanti is a nurse.
  14. The sun is a star.

                Let’s examine how nouns function in the following sentences:

 Examples of Subject and Object.

  1. The farmer grows crops.
  2. Students prepare lesions.

 The italicized words are doers or subjects.

What the subjects do are given in bold letters. They are called objects.

Examples of Complements.

  1. Arati’s mother is a teacher.
  2. Ashok’s father is a doctor.

-s possessive words in italics go with nouns mother and father which are subjects and the nouns in bold letters show their profession. They are called complements.

Examples of Preposition

  1. We work for food.
  2. They are in the class.

Here the nouns ‘food’ and ‘class’ are used after the prepositions ‘for’ and ‘in’

Examples of Apposition

  1. Ashok, my friend, is playing in the field.
  2. The news, that his brother has come,  is true.

Here the phrase ‘my friend’ and the expression ‘that his brother has come‘ give further details about Ashok and the news. We say they stand in apposition to ‘Ashok’ and ‘the news’ respectively.

Examples of Countable and Uncountable Nouns.

Now, study the dialogue given below.

Priyanka and Riya are two students. They are in the college garden. It is a Saturday morning.

PriyankaLook at the eastern sky, Riya. How beautiful, the scenery is!
RiyaIt’s really splendid. See how the birds are flying in the sky. They are flying in flocks in different directions to gather food.
PriyankaIt gives a lot of joy indeed. The grass in the lawn is green. The weather is fine. Here there is accommodation for one hundred persons. The furniture in the lawn is new. However, we obtain permission to loiter here.
RiyaWe have to obey the rules otherwise the work of the gardeners will be difficult. Well Priyanka, did you get the scholarship?
PriyankaThe result has not come out yet. However, I have given almost all the information required. The questions on science were to classify food such as fruit, bread, butter, cheese, oil, dal, meat, egg, and milk.
RiyaWeren’t there other questions?
PriyankaYes, there were questions on essay, letter, and General Knowledge.

Let us classify the italicized Nouns under two heads (i) Countable Nouns(c.) (ii) Uncountable Nouns(U).

List of Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable Nouns:

(i) college, (ii) garden, (iii) morning, (iv) flocks, (v) apple, (vi) lawn, (vii) person, (viii) rules, (ix) scholarship, (x) result (xi) question, (xii) egg, (xiii) essay, (xiv) letter, (xv) direction.

Uncountable Nouns:

(i) sky, (ii) food, (iii) grass (iv) weather, (v) accommodation (vi) furniture, (vii) work, (viii) information, (ix) fruit (x) bread, (xi) dal, (xii) meat, (xiii) milk, (xiv) knowledge.

Countable Nouns have singular as well as the plural numbers forms. We can say pencils, cups, bananas, potatoes etc are countable nouns because they can be counted.

Uncountable Nouns, on the other hand, don’t have the plural number form. Usually, they can’t be counted. We can’t say a sugar or sugars, a butter or butters, a sand, a water etc. because they are uncountable nouns.Both countable and uncountable nouns

There are some nouns which can be both countable and uncountable with a difference in meaning.

We hear a noise (a particular noise)There’s too much noise here. (many noises)
Dr. Das has bought a paper to read. ( a newspaper )I need some paper to write a letter. (a piece of paper)
There’s a hair in my curry. ( a single hair)Sunita has thick curly hair. ( all the hair on her head)
Ajay, you can stay here. There’s a spare room. (a room in the house)You can’t stay here. There’s no room (space).
I had some experiences while travelling abroad (incidents that happened).The company offered me a job because I had a lot of experience.



Say whether the nouns below are countable or uncountable.

  1. Pen
  2. Dal
  3. Gold
  4. Book
  5. Woman
  6. Bamboo
  7. Postage
  8. Grass
  9. Prose
  10. Money
  11. Wealth
  12. Health
  13. Bus
  14. Sand
  15. Water
  16. Road
  17. Box
  18. Bag
  19. Market
  20. Horse
  21. Shop
  22.  Hill
  23. Mountabin
  24. Lake
  25. Galsses
  26. Chair
  27. Umbrella
  28. Orange
  29. Hair
  30. Fan.

Use of singular countable Nouns

Countable Nouns can often be singular as well as plural;


  1. A pupil goes to school.
  2. This/That pen is mine.
  3. My/Your /His bag is on the table.
  4. Mr Das is a teacher.
  5. The planets go round the sun.

Hence the articles (i0 a/an or the (ii0 the demonstrative this /that and the possessives your/my/his etc can be used before Singular Countable Nouns.

Study the examples:

  1. Your younger brother needs a/the/this/that/my pen.
  2. A singular Countable Noun cannot usually be used in a sentence without a/an/the/this/that/my type words etc. but we can say Man is mortal.
  3. We cann’t normally use a/an with uncountable nouns. We can use some, any, little , a little with Uncountable Nouns. But we can also make them Countable Nouns in the following way.

Mark the examples :

  1. A kilo of sugar,
  2. a drop of water,
  3. a glass of milk,
  4. A cup of tea,
  5. blade of grass,
  6. a slice of bread.


Fill in the blanks using a/an , the or some wherever necessary.

_________ old man and _________ Old woman were sitting on _________ veranda of their house. The old woman was worried about ________ old man’s bad health. She sent for _________

Doctor to treat _________ sick old man. _________

Doctor was called in and he examined _________ old man and asked _________ old woman to take care of _________ old man. She should give him _________ medicine prescribed. However, _________ doctor advised _________ old woman not to pick up _________ quarrel with _________ old man because his blood pressure was high.


  1. The pupils are learning English.
  2. These people live in the city.
  3. All living beings are mortal.
  4. Only few people were present at the meeting.
  5. I like mangoes.

The italicized words are Plural Countable Nouns.  We get the plural form by adding ‘s’ ‘es’  to Singular Countable Nouns.

People, police , cattel, public are  Countable Nouns.  They look singular in form but they always take plural verbs.

  1. The police are on duty.
  2. People in villages live in peace.
  3.  The cattle are grazing in the field.
  4. The public demand justice.

Study the following examples:

  1. Ajay’s trousers are too long.
  2. Mr Behera’s glasses are shiny.

Some instruments or clothes which have two parts are usually plural nouns and they take plural verbs.

Some words ending in ‘s’ or ‘ies’ may be  singular  or  plural. They are means, series,

e. g.  (i) They are looking for a means of living.

(ii) The means of transport has/have been very popular.

(iii) There are two television series.

Read the following sentences:

(i) The committee has decided the matter. (the members are taken as a whole)

The committees have differed in their opinion. (the members are considered separately)

(ii) The family is happy. (The members are taken as a whole)

The family are happy. (the members are considered individually/ separately)

Hence, there are some wor4ds like family, government, committee, class, which take a singular verb when we think of the group as a whole. We use a plural verb if we think of the group as a number of individual members.

(i)  a lot of people are present at the meeting.

(ii) A few boys are playing in the field.

Some, many, a lot of, a few, three etc are amount words.  They can be used before Plural Countable Nouns.

These girls are tall.

Those girls are short.

These and those are used before Plural countable Nouns ‘girls”

(i) Ashok’s brother s are teachers.

 (ii) My books are new.

(iii) Arati’s pens write well.

The possessive words are used before Plural Countable Nouns.

Sheep and deer are both singular and plural.

(i) The sheep is/are grazing.

(ii) The deer is/are grazing.

Uncountable nouns

(i)  What beautiful scenery!

(ii) It’s no-doubt good advice.

(iii) They had a lot of luggage to carry.

                The italicized words are uncountable Nouns. The following nouns are uncountable:

Accommodation, behavior, bread, coffee, damage, employment, equipment, furniture, grass, information, juice, luck, machinery, news, postage, permission, progress, stomachache, scenery, traffic, tea, toothache, travel, trouble, weather, waste, work.

Hence we can’t make them plural by adding‘s’ or ‘es’, nor can we use a/an before them.

Consider the following examples:

  1. There’s a little water in the glass.
  2. There isn’t any sugar in the jar.
  3. Alok needs some paper.
  4. They have a lot of wealth.
  5. She has put too much salt in the dal.

         Here the italicized words and phrases are used before uncountable nouns. We can use some, any, a lot of, before countable and uncountable nouns.

But we can’t use much or a little before countable nouns and many or a few before uncountable nouns.

Some uncountable nouns end in ‘ics’  or ‘ s’ but they are not plural. Hence they take singular verbs.

 e.g. athletics, gymnastics, news, physics, electronics, economics, politics etc.

Study the examples:

(i) Physics is a branch of science.

(ii) Mathematics is my favorite subject.

(iii) When is the news on the radio?

Let’s make a list of words and phrases used before countable and uncountable nouns.

Words and phrases:

 Some/any/no/ a lot of / plenty of are used before countable and uncountable nouns.

 Much/little/ a little go before uncountable nouns.

Many/few/a few are used before countable nouns.


Rewrite the sentences choosing the correct alternatives given in the sentences.

  1. The police/Police man is on duty.
  2. Athletics/Athletic is/are a compulsory subject in health education.
  3. All the luggages/luggage is/are on the platform.
  4. The trouser/trousers is/are my day-to=day necessity.
  5. The furniture/furnitures is/are made of wood.
  6. We need all the information/ information in this matter.
  7. All the traffic/traffics go/goes along this route.
  8. Measle/Measles is/are a common disease with little children.

Countable Nouns normally take Singular and Plural Number Forms.

(i) Boy-boys, bamboo-bamboos, cuckoo-cuckoos, studio-studios, radio-radios, kilo-kilos, photo-photos, piano-pianos etc.

Match-matches, batach-batches, watch-watches, glass-glasses, bench-benches, box-boxes,

Nouns ending in ‘s’, ‘ch’, and ‘x’ (whre ch is not prounced as /k/ add ‘es’ to have the plural form)

(iii) monarch-monarchs, stomach-stomachs, portico-porticos

Here ‘ch’ is pronounced as /k/. Hence only the ‘s’ is added to get the plural noun.

(iv) fly-flies, lady-ladies, spay-spies, company-companies

When nouns end in ‘y’ with a consonant letter ( any letter other than a, e, I, o, u) before it.

Their plurals are usually formed by changing ‘y’ into ‘ies’.

(but) day-days, monkey-monkeys, valley-valleys

If ‘y’ sis preceed by a vowel, ‘y’ is not changed into ‘ies’, they take ‘s’ to form the plural number.

(v) mosquito-mosquitoes, buffalo-buffaloses, potato-potatoes, hero-heroes, tomato-tomatoes, Nouns ending in ‘o’ with a consonant going before them form plurals by adding ‘es’.

(vi) half-halves, life-lives, loaf-loaves, thief-thieves, knife-knives, wife-wives, leaf, leaves, shelf-shelves.

Words ending in f or fe form their plurals by changing the ‘f’ or ‘fe’ into ‘ves’ But roof-roofs, chief-chiefs, scarf-scarfs, proof-proofs, gulf-gulfs, hoof-hoofs add ‘s’ to get the plural forms.

(vii) man-men, foot-feet, goose-geese, tooth-teeth

The nouns form plurals by changing the inside vowels.

Now learn the following:

(viii) child-children, ox-oxen.

(ix) radius-radii, oasis-oases, (pronounced as “Oasiz”) analysis-analyses, crisis-crises

Some nouns have the same form in the singual as well as in the plural number.

(x) deer-deer, sheep-sheep, swine-swine etc.

Mark the plural form of the following.

(xi) Commander in chief-commanders in chief, mother –in-law mothers-in-law, sister-in-law Sisters-in-law.

(xii)  Step mother-step mothers, maid servant-maid servants but man servant-men servants, woman doctor,-women doctors etc.


Write the plural or the singular form of the nouns given in the box.

Cousin, thesis, woman, doctor, calves, syllabus, whale, sheep, goose, brother-in-law, duck, datum, formula, oasis.

Formation of compound words:

Sometimes we use noun + noun to mean one thing/person/idea etc.

A cricket –ball = a ball used to play cricket.

An office-clerk = a clerk who works in an office.

A bank-manger, language-problem, table-tennis, study-habits, horse-hoof, a vegetable-garden, land temperature, health-hazards.

We often us-‘ing’ words with another noun to mean a particular thing.

 A washing machine= a machine used for washing.

A frying pan = a pan used for frying

A swimming pool = a pool used for swimming

A dining table = a table used to dine from.

A walking stick = a stick used for walking.

When two nouns are used together, we write as one word or two words. We may also use a hyphen: they city-center, a book –shop, a headache, a tooth-paste, an apple-tree.

Mark the differences between:

A milk glass = (perhaps the glass is empty)

A glass of milk: a glass with mil in it.

A shopping bag (perhaps empty)

A bag of shopping (a bag full of shopping)

We can say

a ten-rupee note, a twenty-foot-cord, a three-hour-journey, a fourteen-year-old girl, a four-page-essay (but not four pages essay).

 Genitive/possessive/Form of Nouns

 (i) Arati’s books are on the table.

(ii) The children’s park is attractive.

(iii) Shanti is in her mother-in-law’s house.

We usually use ‘s’ for people or animals. E.g. the girl’s book (the book of a girl), the cow’s mil, the horse’s tail.

(i0 Where is Mr mohapatra’s house?

The hose that belongs to Mr Mohaptra.

(ii) Which is Sasmita’s bag?

The bag that belongs to Sasmita.

After plural nouns ending in ‘s’ we use the ‘apostrophe only.

e.g. (i) Sita goes to a girls’ school.

(ii) Santosh lives in a boys’ school.

(The institutions are meant for many boys and girls.)

 Plural Nouns Which don’t end in ‘s’ take ‘s’

 For example: children’s park, women’s college, men’s club

 We can sometimes use apostrophe’s for more than one noun.

Sita and Ram’s wedding.

Asima and Ava’s father.

We often use ‘of”  things and ideas; the cover of the book, the owner of the house, the handle of the bicycle.

We use apostophe’s  for the expressions given below.

a week’s holiday, a month’s leave, a day’s casual leave, today’s news paper, tomorrow’s programme, ten minitues’ walk, a summer’s day.

We can use ‘s or of for organizations or a group of people e.g the governemtn’s decision or the decision of the government, the Board’s decision, or the decision of the Board, the world’s population or the population of the world ‘s’ can be used after abbreviated terms, e.g the CM’s (Chief Minister’s) secretary, the MP’s permission, the VIP’s discussion

 Use of the possessive case and of + Noun for possession e.g. the heating system of the train, the ship’s light , the train’s heating system.

‘s or s’  can be used for ships and boats e.g. The ship’s horn, the boats’ race  for + noun + sake e.g.   for heaven’s sake, for goodness’ sake.

A few expressions: a stone’s throw, journey’s end.

Sometimes we use both ‘s and  of .  It is called the use of the double genitive or double possessive e.g. a friend of yours/mine/his/hers/theirs,

I am going to the wedding of a friend of my brother’s.

It’s a wise plan of Sarat’s

We use my/yours/his/her/its/our/their before own. My own house/his own office

We can use own to say that you do something by ourselves.

Usha often washes her own clothes.

I would like to have a garden to grow our own vegetables.

  On; my/your/his/her/its/our/their: own=by: myself/yourself(singular), himself/herself/itself (singualr) /ourselves/yourselves/yourselves/themselves(plural).

I like living on my own/by myself.

Learner drivers are not allowed to drive on their own/by themselves.


Use the words or expressions given in brackets. Use ‘S, S’, Of or both to complete the sentences and use other words if required. oNe has been done for you. Example:

  1. Have you read …………….. (newspaper/today) Ans: Have you read today’s newspaper?
  2. We often go …………….. (park/the children/ in the afternoon)
  3. I am shocked …………….. (to see/ my car/ window/broken)
  4. Most politicians …………….. (appreciate/government plan for the unemployed)
  5. Someone has broken …………….. (a leg /table)
  6. We visited …………….. (house/uncle/ last Sunday)
  7. She has enjoyed …………….. (week/holiday)
  8. We want …………….. (India / success/ in every sphere)
  9. We find …………….. ( the door/ the house / open)
  10. Sabita …………….. (is/ a friend/ my sister)


Make sentences using the following along with‘s, s’, of or double genitive.

The first one has been done for you.


(i)   The company/depends/ success/ on the management and the staff.

Ans: The company’s success depends on the management and the staff.

(ii)  A sister / Soma/ goes to a women college.

(iii) The girls school/ closed/ remains/for tomorrow/fuction

(iv) It is/leela/ a book/ (means one of Leela’s books)

(v) Never / should/ the cat tail / you / pull.

(vi) The colour / the bird/ beak/ is red/

(vii) India / population / is a problem/ ours.

(viii) A student / has applied / for three days leave.

(ix) Mrs. Pattanaik and Mr. Pattanaik building/ deep red in colour / is / and it is near / Dr. Moharana/ House.

(x) My sister/ bed room/ spacious and well ventilated / is


Complete the sentences using the words given in brackets.

(baggage, furniture, permission, information, behaviour, paper, postage, advice, progress, accommodation, scenery, hair, weather, athletics) The first one has been done for you.


  1. If you want to leave the office early, you have to ask for _______________.

Ans: If you want to leave the office early you have to ask for permission.

  1. This lesson gives a lot of _________ on Nouns.
  2. They don’t have any _________ not even a chair or a table.
  3. A  student needs some _________ to write an answer.
  4. Harish carried his won _________ to the train.
  5. Letters without _________ shouldn’t be posted.
  6. We should obey parents’ _________
  7. The students of this school are making good _________
  8. There isn’t much _________ in this hostel.
  9. The natural _________ of this place is charming.
  10. The _________ is often foggy here.
  11. Where did you have your _________ cut?
  12. There’s heavy rush for _________ in this part of the city.
  13. A person is judged through his _________


Change the following uncountable Nouns given in italics into Countable Nouns to complete the sentences. You may use the other necessary words considering the sense. The first one has been done for you.


  1.  Iron is a useful metal. Ans: A piece of iron can make an arrow deadly.
  2. Advice is more valuable than wealth. Ans: A good person always welcomes a ………………….
  3. She has no furniture in her room. Ans: She has a ………………in her room.
  4. We eat bread at night. Ans: Sabita eats four ……………… night.
  5. The police got some information about the theft. Ans: The police got a …………………………about theft.
  6. We have our luggage on platform No.2. Ans: We have three ……………………….on plat form No.2


Change the italicized nouns into noun modifiers and use them in blank spaces:

  1. The stick is five feet long. It is a five …………………….. stick.
  2. We have money worth one hundred rupees. It is a hundred …………………… note.
  3. The committee consists of ten members. It is a ten …………………… committee.
  4. The girl is ten years old. She is a …………………… girl.


Rewrite the sentences changing the italicized words from singular to plural. Make a necessary changes, if required. The first one has been done for you.


  1. A pen is necessary for writing an article. Ans: Pens are necessary for writing articles.
  2. A doctor is a person who treats a patient.
  3. A man in a large city often spends much more than a man in the county.
  4. An umbrella is necessary to protect a person from the sun and the rain.
  5. A house in the country is more free from pollution than that in a city.
  6. A reliable servant is preferable to a selfish relative.
  7. A motor cycle is always less expensive than a motor car.
  8. A wicked man is often more dangerous than a snake.
  9. A sailor is a person who works in a ship.
  10. A cow is a domestic animal.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top