Learn how to identify nouns that can be countable or uncountable.
Countable nouns are individual objects, people, places, etc. which can be counted. (We use a/an or a number in front of countable nouns).
Uncountable nouns are materials, concepts, information, etc. which are not individual objects and can not be counted.
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Nouns that are Count and Noncount
Some nouns can be used as both countable or uncountable, usually with a difference in meaning.
- iron = material (Iron is hard.)
- iron = electrical appliance (The iron is hot.)
- glass = material (Bottles are made of glass.)
- glass = container (I drank a glass of milk.)
- time = length of an activity (How much time do you need to eat lunch?)
- time = number of instances (How many times do you go to Mexico in one year?)
- paper = material (I need some paper to draw on.)
- paper = a report or essay (I wrote a paper for our literature class.)
- paper = a newspaper (I bought a paper this morning.)
- light = energy form (I opened the door to let in some light.)
- light = lamps / light bulbs (Please turn off the lights.)
- work = an activity (I have some work to do tomorrow.)
- work = a product (That painting is a work of art.)
- chicken = food (I had some chicken for dinner.)
- chicken = kind of animal (There are three chickens in the farm.)