Countable vs Uncountable Nouns
Countable and uncountable nouns have always been a puzzling topic for English learners whose native tongue is not English as the difference between them is a little difficult to grasp. This is because the nouns are categorised as countable or uncountable in English according to the way the native speakers think. This is an important point to remember because some words that are categorized as uncountable nouns in English can be countable in other languages, perhaps even in your own mother tongue. So, if you start thinking about countable and uncountable nouns in English as you have seen in other languages that will not work.
What are Countable Nouns?
Countable nouns as the name itself indicates refer to nouns that can be counted. Words like ‘books’, ‘houses’, ‘car’ and the like are countable since they can be counted at a given point of time. Observe the sentences given below:
There are 20 books in the shelf.
You can find about 12 houses in the street.
A good number of cars can be seen on the road.
In all the three sentences given above, you can see that the nouns, namely, ‘books’, ‘houses’ and ‘cars’ are used as countable ones in the sense that the speaker has counted them and mentioned. In the third sentence, the speaker deliberately did not count the number of cars on the road. However, it is evident that the nouns that refer to objects that we can count are known as countable nouns. Though countable, there are some nouns that do not have an ‘s’ in the plural form. Some examples are ‘fish’ and ‘people.’
What are Uncountable Nouns?
On the other hand, uncountable nouns are nouns that cannot be counted. This is basically the difference between countable and uncountable nouns. Moreover, the usage of uncountable nouns suggests the uncountable nature of these nouns. Examples of uncountable nouns are ‘milk’, ‘money’, ‘water’, ‘hair’ and the like as in the sentences given below:
Bring some milk.
He gave some money to his friend.
Pour some water for the plants.
He sports gray hair.
You can see that in all the sentences given above the words, milk, money, water and hair are used as uncountable nouns in the sense that they cannot be counted. It is interesting to note that the word ‘hair’, an uncountable noun does not take an ‘s’ in its plural. Actually, some uncountable nouns do not have a plural form since they are considered a whole concept. You do not say electricities, sunshines, rices.
What is the difference between Countable and Uncountable Nouns?
• Countable nouns are nouns that can be counted.
• On the other hand, uncountable nouns are nouns that cannot be counted. This is basically the difference between countable and uncountable nouns.
• There are countable as well as uncountable nouns that do not have an ‘s’ in their plural form.
• Some uncountable nouns do not have a plural form. For example, electricity, sunshine and rice.
These are the differences between countable and uncountable nouns.