Count and Noncount Nouns – Grammar & test


Count and Noncount Nouns

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Count and Noncount Nouns – Grammar & test

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  • Using A vs. An
  • (a)I have a pencil.
  • (b) I live in an apartment.
  • (c) Have a small apartment.
  • (d) I live in an old building.


  • A and an are used in front of a singular noun (e.g. pencil, apartment). They mean “one”.
  • If a singular noun is modified by an adjective (e.g. small, old), “a” or “an” comes in front of the adjective, as in (c) and (d).
  • A” is used in front of words that begin with a consonant (b, c, d, f, g, etc.); a boy, a bad day, a cat, a cute baby.
  • An” is used in front of words that begin with the vowels (a, e, i, and o); an apartment, an angry man, an elephant, an empty room, etc.


  • I have an umbrella.
  • I saw an ugly picture.
  • I attend a university.
  • I had a unique experience.
  • For words that begin with the letter “u”:
  • An” is used if the “u” is a vowel sound, as in an umbrella, an uncle, an unusual day.
  • A” is used if the “u” is a consonant sound, as in a university, a unit, a usual event.
  • He will arrive in an hour.
  • New Year’s Day is a holiday.
  • For words that being with the letter “h”:
  • An” is used if the “h” is silent: an hour, an honor, an honest person.
  • A” is used if the “h” is pronounced: a holiday, a hotel, a high point.


  • A count noun:
  • Can be counted with numbers: one chair, two chairs, ten chairs, etc.
  • Can be preceded by a/an in the singular: a chair.
  • Has a plural form of ending in –s or –es: chairs.
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 Count nouna chair  Ø  chairs
one chairtwo chairs
some chairs
Noncount noun


    Ø  furnitureØ 
Some furnitureØ


  • A noncount noun:
  • Cannot be counted with numbers.

Incorrect: one furniture  × 

  • Is NOT immediately preceded by a/an.

Incorrect: a furniture     ×

  • Does NOT have a plural form (no final –s)

Incorrect: furnitures      ×


  • Noncount nouns usually refer to a whole group of things that is made up of many individual parts, a whole category made up of different varieties.

For example: “furniture” is a noncount noun; it describes a whole category of things: chairs, tables, beds, etc.

Individual parts = the whole

Chairs – tables – beds – etc.    = furniture

  • Mail, fruit, and jewelry are other examples of noncount nouns that refer to a whole category made up of individual parts.
  • Letters, postcards, bills, etc. = mail
  • Apples, bananas. Oranges, etc. = fruit
  • Rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. = jewelry


Some common noncount nouns: whole groups made up of individual parts


More Noncount Nouns

  • Liquids:
  • Coffee
  • Soup
  • Milk
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Tea
  • Solids and semi-solids
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice
  • Meat
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Chalk
  • Glass
  • Gold
  • Iron
  • Paper
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Wood
  • Gases:
  • Air
  • Pollution
  • Smog
  • Smoke


  • Things that occur in nature:
  • Weather
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Darkness
  • Light
  • Sunshine
  • Thunder
  • Lightning


  • Abstractions:
  • Beauty
  • Courage
  • Fun
  • Experience
  • Fun
  • Generosity
  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Help
  • Honesty
  • Ignorance
  • Knowledge
  • Luck
  • Patience
  • Progress
  • Time
  • Violence

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