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 noun a chair   Ø  chairs
one chair two chairs
some chairs
Noncount noun


    Ø  furniture Ø 
Some furniture Ø


  • 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

Clothing Homework Grammar Corn
Equipment Housework Slang Dirt
Food Work Vocabulary Flour
Fruit Advice Arabic Hair
Furniture Information Chinese Pepper
Jewelry History English Rice
Mail Literature German Salt
Money Music Indonesian Sand
Scenery Poetry Spanish Sugar
Stuff Traffic Etc.

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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