Count nouns can
be counted. E.g. coins, jobs, etc. Noncount nouns
can't. E.g. money, work, etc. Whether
a noun is count or noncount affects the articles and adjectives used with
it, as well as subject/verb agreement.
A singular count noun must be preceded by an article (a, an, the),
a possessive adjective (the company's, Mark's, etc.) or a possessive pronoun
(my, your, her, his, its, our, their).
A plural count noun
is often, but not always, preceded by the definite article (the).
Noncount nouns do not have plural forms. They take the singular forms
of verbs and have to be counted with quantifiers
(a lot of, much, etc.) A or an can't be used with noncount
nouns. However, they can be used with phrases like a piece of ...,
a bottle of ..., etc.
There are several
types of noncount nouns:
ideas - power, wealth, truth
study - architecture, science, history
- water, gasoline, alcohol
- working, traveling, managing
- English, German, Japanese
- silver, ice, steel
occurrences - sunlight, fog, gravity
with individual particles - salt, sugar, dust
sports - soccer, tennis, football
made up of similar things - traffic, food, paper
Some nouns can be
count and noncount. When this is possible the meanings of the words
are different. For example:
"a large letter" or "the official seat of government of a country"
"capital" also means "money or wealth used in trade" (non-count)
"interest" means "a thing you like to do or participate in" (count)
"interest" also means "money paid for the use of money" (non-count)
There are a number
of different quantifiers.
and every are only used with singular count nouns.
are only used with plural count nouns: many, both, several, a number
of, two, three, etc.
much and a great deal of are used with noncount nouns.
Not any, no,
some, a lot of, lots of, plenty, most and all can be used
with count and noncount nouns.
Here are some
examples of noncount nouns.
gas / gasoline