Count and Non-Count Nouns

A count noun is one that can be counted.

  • book—one book, two books, three books,…
  • student—one student, two students, three students, …
  • person—one person, two persons, three persons, …

A noun-count is one that cannot be counted.

  • milk—you cannot say one milk, two milks, …

It is possible, however, to count some noun-count nouns if the substance is placed in a countable container.

  • glass of milk—one glass of milk, two glasses of milk, …

some determiners can be used only with count or non-count nouns, while others can be used with either. Memorized the words in the following chart.

With COUNT NOUNS

With NON-COUNT NOUNS

a(n), the, some, any

the, some, any

this, that, these, those

this, that

none, one, two, three, …

none

many

much (usually in negatives or questions)

a lot of

a lot of

a {(large | great)} number of

a large amount of

(a) few

(a) little

fewer … than

less … than

more … than

more … than

It is very important to know if a noun is count or noun-count. Be sure that you know the plurals of irregular count nouns. The following list contains some irregular count nouns that you should know.

      person-people          child-children               tooth-teeth

      foot-feet                   mouse-mice                 man-men

                                                                          woman-women

The following list contains some non-count or non-count nouns that you should know.

        sand         soap               physics           mathematics

        news        mumps           air                   politics

        measles    information    meat               homework

        food          economics     advertising      money

*Note: Although advertising is a non-count noun, advertisement is a count noun. If you wish to speak of one particular advertisement, you must use this word.

  • There are too many advertisements during television shows.
  • There is too much advertising during television shows.

Some non-count nouns, such as food, meat, money, and sand, may be used as count nouns in order to indicate different types.

  • This is one of the foods that my doctor has forbidden me to eat. (indicates a particular type of food)
  • He studies meats. (for example, beef, pork, lamb, etc.)

The word time can be either countable or non-countable depending on the context. When it means an occasion, it is countable. When it means a number of hours, days, years, etc., it is non-countable.

  • We have spent too much time on this work. (non-count)
  • She has been late for class six times this semester. (count)

To decide if a noun that you are not sure of is countable or non-countable, decide if you can say: one _________ or a ___________. For example, you can say “one book”, so it is a count noun. You cannot say “one money”, so it is not a count noun. Also of course, by the very nature of non-count nouns, a non-count noun never be plural. Remember that, while some of the nouns in the list of noun-count nouns appear to be plural because they end in –s, they are actually not plural.

Iklan

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