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Count Nouns vs. Non-Count Nouns

Count nouns

Can be counted as one or more.

  • pen, computer, bottle, spoon, desk, cup, television, chair, shoe, finger, flower, camera, stick, balloon, book, table, comb, etc.
Take an s to form the plural.

  • pens, computers, bottles, spoons, desks, cups, televisions, chairs, shoes, fingers, flowers, cameras, sticks, balloons, books, tables, combs, etc.
Work with expressions such as (a few, few, many, some, every, each, these, and the number of).

  • a few pens, a few computers, many bottles, some spoons, every desk, each cup, these televisions, the number of chairs, a few shoes, a few fingers, many flowers, some cameras, every stick, each balloon, these books, the number of tables, many combs, etc.
Work with appropriate articles (a, an, or the).

  • a pen, the computer, a bottle, the spoon, a desk, the cup, a television, the chair, a shoe, the finger, a flower, the camera, a stick, the balloon, a book, the table, a comb, etc.
Do NOT work with much (for example, you would never say much pens or much computers).

Non-count nouns

Cannot be counted. They usually express a group or a type.

  • water, wood, ice, air, oxygen, English, Spanish, traffic, furniture, milk, wine, sugar, rice, meat, flour, soccer, sunshine, etc.
Generally cannot be pluralized.

Work both with and without an article (a, an, or the), depending on the context of the sentence.

  • Sugar is sweet.
  • The sunshine is beautiful.
  • I drink milk.
  • He eats rice.
  • We watch soccer together.
  • The wood is burning.
Work with expressions such as (some, any, enough, this, that, and much).

  • We ate some rice and milk.
  • I hope to see some sunshine today.
  • This meat is good.
  • She does not speak much Spanish.
  • Do you see any traffic on the road?
  • That wine is very old.
Do NOT work with expressions such as (these, those, every, each, either, or neither).

[Quiz 2.1]

Choose all of the non-count nouns in the following list:

wine, student, pen, water, wind, milk, computer, furniture, cup, rice, box, watch, potato, wood

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