Nouns that Can Be Countable or Uncountable: Useful List & Examples

Nouns that Can Be Countable or Uncountable! Learn how to identify nouns that can be countable or uncountable (i.e. advice, information, food, money, evidence…) with useful list and examples.

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.

Nouns that are Count and Noncount

Some nouns can be used as both countable or uncountable, usually with a difference in meaning.


  • iron = material (They tried to change iron into gold.)
  • iron = electrical appliance (I scorched my dress with the iron.)


  • glass = material (Glass can be recycled from old bottles.)
  • glass = container (Champagne was fizzing in the glass.)


  • time = length of an activity (How much time did it take you to sing? )
  • time = number of instances (Mary had seen the film many times.)


  • paper = material (This book is made of paper.)
  • paper = a report or essay (He wrote a paper on grammar.)
  • paper = a newspaper (I read about it in the paper.)


  • light = energy form (I closed my eyes against the bright light.)
  • light = lamps / light bulbs (I switched on the light in the bedroom.)


  • work = an activity (Stop talking and get on with your work.)
  • work = a product (This is the work of Shakespeare.)


  • chicken = food (I had chicken for dinner.)
  • chicken = kind of animal (They keep chickens in the back yard.)


  • hair = hair in general (She had thick brown hair.)
  • hair = individual strands of hair (He had a few grey hairs on his temples.)


  • room = space (Is there enough room for me?)
  • room = place (They had to sit in the waiting room for an hour.)

Coffee, Water, Beer, Tea, Soda

  • coffee, … = drink (I like tea better than coffee.)
  • coffee, … = number of drinks (Two strong black coffees, please.)


  • meat = food (I gave up eating meat a few months ago.)
  • meat = type of meat (I hate eating red meats like beef and lamb.)


  • fruit = food (The fruit was too sour to eat.)
  • fruit = kind of fruit (She sells fruits at a market stall.)


  • experience = knowledge or skill (My lack of practical experience was a disadvantage.)
  • experience = an incident that affects you (It was her first experience of living alone.)


  • fire = element (Most animals are afraid of fire.)
  • fire = a burning pile (Firemen put out fires.)


  • memory = the ability to remember (I have a very good visual memory.)
  • memory = specific memories of past events (He’s trying to block out memories of the accident.)

Nouns that Can Be Countable or Uncountable | Pictures

List of Nouns that are Count and Noncount | Image 1

Nouns that Can Be Countable or Uncountable

Nouns that Can Be Countable or Uncountable | Image 2

Nouns that Can Be Countable or Uncountable | Image 3

Examples of Nouns that Can Be Countable or Uncountable |  Video

Nouns that are Count and Noncount

NOUNS: Useful Grammar Rules, List & Examples

English Nouns

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In your post, you said when ‘memory’ is used as ‘the ability to remember’, it’s uncountable. Why do we use an article ‘a’ before it then?
Example: 1. I have A very good visual memory.
2. I have A terrible memory.

Why do we use ‘a’ here then? Shouldn’t it be like ‘I have very good visual memory’ since it’s uncountable?

Thanks in advance.


In this case ‘memory’ is using to describe one type of it. There are many different kind of ‘memories’. In this case it’s been used as a countable noun. I hope this explanation helps!


Thanks for your explanation. Now it’s clear. #CYN