Learn About Uncountable Nouns
Uncountable nouns are the nouns that cannot be counted or measured by a number and cannot be made plural.
Usually the words 'some', 'much', or 'a lot of' come before uncountable nouns. Some people call uncountable nouns "mass nouns" or "noncount nouns".
Examples of uncountable nouns:
|1. The water seems to be crystal blue.||–||Water is undefined, it cannot be counted.|
|2. The cupcakes were made with love.||–||Love cannot be measured or counted.|
|3. John spilled the milk.||–||Milk cannot be measured by how many.|
|4. We like listening to the saxophone music.||–||Music is uncountable since it cannot be measured.|
Categories of Uncountable Nouns
There are different types of uncountable nouns and each belong to a different category.
The table below shows the categories (on left) and the uncountable nouns that belong to each.
|Groups of Objects||homework||information||news|
|Activities & Sports||ballet||football||hockey||research|
|Fields of Study||anthropology||astronomy||engineering||photography|
Read the example sentences below. Here, each uncountable noun is underlined.1. The teacher always gives a lot of homework.
- Homework is a group of objects. We are not counting separate homework assignments.
- Time is an abstract word. We are not counting hours or minutes.
- Football is a sport. We are not counting individual footballs or football players.
- Engineering is a field of study. We are not counting people who study engineering.
Nouns : Countable and Uncountable
Some nouns can be countable or uncountable. Be sure to pay attention to how these types of nouns are used in a sentence.
If you can count the person, place, or thing and make it plural, it is a countable noun.
If you cannot count the person, place, or thing and you cannot make it plural, it is an uncountable noun.
Read the example sentences below to see how the same noun can be used as a countable noun and as an uncountable noun.
|Countable Nouns||Uncountable nouns|
Determining Nouns as Countable or Uncountable
Countable nouns tell how many, while uncountable nouns tell how much. When you encounter a noun and you are unsure whether it is countable or uncountable, ask yourself how many there are of the noun in the sentence.
Read the examples below to determine whether the nouns are countable or uncountable.
1. The recipe calls for sugar.
How much sugar does the recipe needs? The noun is uncountable because the quantity is undefined.
2. He can juggle five balls at once!
How many balls he can juggle? The noun is countable because it is defined by the quantity, five.