Countable Noun & Uncountable Noun

There are two types of nouns: Countable Nouns and Uncountable Nouns


Countable noun is a noun that can be counted.

For instance, ‘book is a countable noun because it can be counted. We can say: one book, two books, or three books.

Examples: chair, pen, cup, room, dog, car, bottle, car, table, book, bag.

A countable noun can exist in both form: singular form and plural form.

For singular nouns, article ‘a / an’ is used. If a singular noun starts with a consonant letter (or vowel sounding like consonant), article ‘a’ will be used before it. e.g. a book, a pen, a university.

If a singular noun starts with a vowel letter (or consonant sounding like vowel), article ‘an’ will be used before it. e.g. an apple, an onion, an hour.

The plural of a noun is made according to the following rules:

  1. A plural of a noun is formed by adding –s or –es to it. e.g. pen – pens, book – books, box – boxes.  If a noun ends with ‘y’, the ending ‘y’ is changed into ‘i’ and –es is added for making its plural. e.g. lady–ladies, country–countries.
  2. A few plurals are formed differently. e.g. child–children, wife–wives, man–men, basis–bases, toot–teeth, foot–feet, datum–data.
  3. A few nouns remains same in plural and singular form. e.g. swine–swine, deer–deer, sheep–sheep.


A noun that cannot be counted is called an uncountable noun.              

For instance, ‘water’ is an uncountable noun because it cannot be counted. It cannot be said: one water, two waters, or three waters. Such nouns that cannot be counted in numbers are known as uncountable nouns.

Examples: rain, honey, milk, bread, furniture, wheat, information, news, honesty, pleasure, warmth, excitement, love, weather.

Article ‘a /an’ is mostly not used before an uncountable noun, except in some special cases. The article ‘the’ can be used before an uncountable noun if refers to a specific thing.

He is drinking a water.                    (Wrong)
He is drinking water.                        (Correct)
Money gives you a power.             (Wrong)
Money gives you power.                (Correct)

The word such as, ‘some, more, too much’ can be used to modify the amount of an uncountable noun.
Please give me some water.
Add some milk to the tea.
They had no information about the criminal.

Though uncountable noun refers to things in its collectivity, it is mostly treated is as a singular in a sentence.

The sea water are polluted.     (Wrong)              
The sea water is polluted.        (Correct)
The information are helpful.    (Wrong)
The Information is helpful.       (Correct)

   Changing an Uncountable noun into a countable noun

Some of the uncountable nouns can be changed into countable form by adding a measuring unit to it. For instance, ‘water’ is an uncountable noun but it can be used as countable by saying: one glass of water, two glass of water. Similarly, ‘tea’ can be used as one cup of tea, or two cups of tea.

Here are some ways of converting uncountable into countable:

Uncountable      -to-       Countable
Wheat               -to-     a grain of wheat                                       
Bread                -to-     a piece of bread
Milk                    -to-      a glass of milk
Information   -to- a piece of information