Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable Nouns

Countable Nouns are nouns that can be counted.

Examples: book, cars, man, table, dog, eggs, pen, buses, ladies, chairs, cat, mango, ruler, helicopter, cupboard, person, monkeys, sausage, etc.

Quantifiers such as 'a', 'an', 'any', 'some', 'a few', 'several', 'a lot of', 'plenty of' and 'a small / large number of' are used with countable nouns.

Examples: a man, an orphan, any people, some houses, a few children, a lot of sheep, a small / large number of ants, etc.


I saw a man on the beach.

Matthew is an orphan.

There aren't any people in the hall.

There are some houses along both sides of the road.

A few children are playing at the playground.

The farmer has several cows on his farm.

A lot of sheep are grazing in the field.

Charlotte grows plenty of flowers in her garden.

There are a large number of ants on the branches.




Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable Nouns are are nouns that cannot be counted.

Examples: water, oil, gas, powder, sugar, salt, milk, tea, coffee, wood, iron, steel, time, money, ink, butter, paper, jam, etc.

Quantifiers like 'any', 'much', 'a little', 'some', 'a lot of', 'plenty of', 'a great / good deal of' and a small / large amount of' are used with uncountable nouns.

Examples: any water, any coffee, much sand, some jam, a little time, plenty of paper, a lot of money, a small amount of salt, etc.


I am thirsty because I did not drink much water.

Could you please add a little salt to the soup?

There aren't any people in the hall.

Tiffany spread some peanut butter on a piece of toast.

We need a lot of time to complete this project.

There is plenty of food on the table. Just help yourself to it.

The well-off man spent a great deal of money to build the castle.

Mrs. Bowie drinks a small amount of wine daily for good health.


Note: 'Any', 'some', 'a lot of' and 'plenty of' are used with both countable and uncountable nouns.

'Some' is used mainly in positive sentences while 'any' is used with uncountable or plural nouns in negative sentences and questions.

Examples:

I have some books to read. (positive sentence)

There is some orange juice in the jug. (positive sentence)

Nancy does not have any money on her. (negative sentence)

I did not see any boats on the river. (negative sentence)

Have the children any toys to play with? (question)

Did the maid prepare any lemonade for us? (question)


Exercises

A. Choose the correct answers.

1. I need ( a few, a little ) more eggs to make a cake.

2. Jack ate ( several, some ) bread and drank a glass of milk for breakfast.

3. How ( much, many ) money do you have?

4. Newborn babies need ( a great deal of, a large number of ) sleep.

5. Mrs. Brown plants ( a lot of, a large amount of ) vegetables in her backyard.

6. On the way to the hospital, the accident victim lost ( a large amount of, a large number of ) blood and passed out.

7. Not ( many, much ) oil is left in the bottle.

8. Are there ( any, some ) messages for me?

9. ( A little, Several ) cars were parked by the roadside.

10. The kids saw ( much, many ) starfish on the beach.


B. Choose the correct answers.

1. Mandy has been watching TV for ( a little, a few ) hours.

2. Alex enjoys collecting coins. He has collected ( a great deal of, a large number of ) coins.

3. Please give me ( some , a little ) time to think about it.

4. ( Many, Much ) buildings were destroyed in the earthquake.

5. I need ( much, a little ) oil to fry a few eggs.

6. Do you have ( some, any ) drinks in your backpack?

7. Jonathan went camping with ( several, a little ) friends last week.

8. We had (many, a lot of ) fun in the amusement park.

9. ( A small amount of, A few ) pages are missing from this book.

10. There aren’t ( any, some ) payphones in this village.


Answers

A.

1. a few

2. some

3. much

4. a great deal of

5. a lot of

6. a large amount of

7. much

8. any

9. Several

10. many


B.

1. a few

2. a large number of

3. some

4. Many

5. a little

6. any

7. several

8. a lot of

9. A few

10. any