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 Countable and uncountable nouns

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MesazhTitulli: Countable and uncountable nouns   Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:36 pm

Nouns can be either countable or uncountable. Countable nouns (or count nouns) are those that refer to something that can be counted. They have both singular and plural forms (e.g. cat/cats; woman/women; country/countries). In the singular, they can be preceded by a or an. Most nouns come into this category.

A smaller number of nouns do not typically refer to things that can be counted and so they do not regularly have a plural form: these are known as uncountable nouns (or mass nouns). Examples include: rain, flour, earth, wine, or wood. Uncountable nouns can't be preceded by a or an. Many abstract nouns are typically uncountable, e.g. happiness, truth, darkness, humour.

Some uncountable nouns can be used in the plural as well, depending on the meaning or context of the word. Take a look at these sentences:

Would you like some coffee? uncountable because it's referring to the drink in general
He ordered a coffee. countable, because it's referring to a cup of coffee
There's no truth in the rumours. uncountable, because it refers to the quality or state of being true
The fundamental truths about human nature. countable, because it's referring to facts or beliefs that are true


In the Oxford Dictionary of English and the New Oxford American Dictionary, nouns that are chiefly uncountable are described as ‘mass nouns’. This type of noun entry may also include an example sentence showing a countable use of the type described above. For example:

beer noun [mass noun] an alcoholic drink made from yeast-fermented malt flavoured with hops: a pint of beer | [count noun] he ordered a beer.
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MesazhTitulli: Re: Countable and uncountable nouns   Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:12 pm

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Countable and uncountable nouns
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