Uncountable nouns like air, water, and information are commonly used within the English language and of course, there are rules involved with their use. It is important that you understand how to correctly use an uncountable noun so that your sentences are properly formed and sound fluid.
In this article, we are going to be looking further into the subject of uncountable nouns and how they work. Learn an extensive list of over 200 common uncountable nouns presented in alphabetical order with us now!
What is an Uncountable Noun?
Non-count Nouns List A – D
Countable nouns are common nouns that can take a plural, can combine with numerals or counting quantifiers, and can take an indefinite article such as a or an. Examples of count nouns are book, orange, cat, animal, man…
- The outside of an orange is bitter, but the inside is sweet.
- A cat was basking on the window sill.
Uncountable Nouns are substances, concepts, materials, information… that we cannot divide into separate elements. They can’t be counted.
For example, we cannot count “water“. We can count “a glass of water” or “a bottle of water” or “1 litre of water“, but we cannot count “water” itself.
- I immerse my clothes in the water.
- Could I have a glass of water, please?
However, in daily life, as language adapts to the use of its users, uncountable nouns can be used in plural forms to take on a different meaning. In this case, water can become waters, as in “I’d like three waters, please”, to indicate that the speaker wants three servings/glasses of water.
Uncountable nouns can be further divided into several categories:
- Materials and substances: water, rice, cement, gold, milk
- Ideas and experiences: advice, information, progress, news, luck, fun, work
- Abstract concepts: creativity, courage, honesty, knowledge
- Collective nouns: equipment, furniture, luggage
Uncountable Nouns List A – Z
Below you can find a list of the most common non-count nouns in English. Some nouns are both countable and uncountable. They have been put in bold.
Uncountable Nouns List: A – D
Uncountable Nouns List: E – H
Uncountable Nouns List: I – O
- Ice cream
Uncountable Nouns List: P – Z
Common Mistakes with Uncountable Nouns
Uncountable nouns do not have a plural form, so it is essential to avoid using them with plural verbs or adding an “s” at the end. Some common uncountable nouns include: accommodation, information, advice, behavior, languages, furniture, health, and knowledge. Instead of writing “two luggages,” it is better to say “two pieces of luggage.”
Misuse of Articles
Using the wrong articles with uncountable nouns can lead to mistakes. For instance, avoid using “a” or “an” before uncountable nouns. Instead, use “some” when referring to an unspecified quantity of the uncountable noun. For example, instead of saying “I’ll give you an advice,” say “I’ll give you some advice.”
Confusion with Countable Nouns
Certain nouns can be both countable and uncountable nouns, potentially causing confusion. For example, the word “coffee” refers to the uncountable substance, more precisely expressing the idea with “some coffee.” However, “coffee” can also be countable in the context of referring to a cup of coffee: “I’d like a coffee, please.” Be cautious with these types of nouns and carefully consider if they should be used as countable or uncountable nouns based on the context.
Ways to Make Uncountable Nouns Countable
There are several ways to express a measurable quantity for uncountable nouns. While uncountable nouns cannot be converted directly into countable nouns, there are techniques to make them quantifiable.
Using measurement units: To quantify uncountable nouns, use suitable units of measurement. For example, water, milk, and oil can be measured in liters or cups:
- 2 liters of water
- 1 cup of milk
- 500 milliliters of oil
Using containers or packaging: Use relevant containers or packages to count uncountable items such as sugar, rice, or pasta:
- 1 bag of sugar
- 3 boxes of rice
- 2 packages of pasta
Using expressions of quantity: Apply expressions of quantity to make uncountable nouns countable. For instance, implement terms like ‘a bit of,’ ‘a piece of’ or ‘a slice of’:
- a bit of information
- a piece of advice
- a slice of bread
Nouns That Can be Both Countable and Uncountable
Some nouns in English can function as both countable and uncountable, depending on the context in which they are used.
Hair is a prime example of a noun that can be both countable and uncountable. When referring to individual strands, hair is countable:
- I found three hairs on my sweater.
In contrast, when referring to hair in general, it is considered uncountable:
- She has long, brown hair.
Another example is the noun room. When talking about specific places in a structure, such as a house or an apartment, the noun is countable:
- Their house has six rooms, including a living room, a kitchen, and four bedrooms.
However, when addressing the idea of space, the noun becomes uncountable:
- There is not enough room in the closet for all their clothes.
A third example of a noun that can be both countable and uncountable is light. When referring to individual sources of light, like lamps or light bulbs, it is countable:
- There are five lights in the office.
On the other hand, when discussing light as an abstract concept or as a presence in the environment, it is uncountable:
- The sunlight filled the room with natural light.
Some other words that are both countable and uncountable:
- Paper can be used as an uncountable noun to refer to the material in general, such as “I need to buy more paper for the printer,” or as a countable noun to refer to a specific sheet or document, such as “She handed in three papers for the project.”
- Bread is typically an uncountable noun, but can be used as a countable noun when referring to different types of bread, such as “She bought three different breads at the bakery: whole wheat, rye, and sourdough.”
- Water is usually an uncountable noun, but can be made countable by adding a unit of measurement, such as “a glass of water” or “two bottles of water.” When referring to varieties of water, such as those from different sources, the plural form can be used, such as “We tasted the waters from three different springs.”
- Fire can be used as an uncountable noun to refer to the natural phenomenon of combustion that produces heat and light, such as “The fire was raging out of control,” or as a countable noun to refer to a specific instance or occurrence of fire, such as “There were three small fires in the forest yesterday.”
- Memory can be used as an uncountable noun to refer to the mental capacity to store and recall information, such as “My memory is not as good as it used to be,” or as a countable noun to refer to a specific instance or piece of information that has been stored in one’s mind, such as “She has fond memories of her childhood.”
List of Uncountable Nouns | Pictures
List of Non-count Nouns E – H
Non-count Nouns List I – O
Examples of Non-count Nouns P – S
Non-count Nouns List S – Z
NOUNS: Useful Grammar Rules, List & Examples
- Types of Nouns in English
- Collective Nouns List
- Possessive Nouns
- Countable & Uncountable Nouns
- List of Concrete Nouns
- Abstract Nouns List
- Regular Plural Nouns
- Irregular Plural Nouns
- Gender of Nouns
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