Countable vs. Uncountable Nouns
A parent asked for an explanation of countable and uncountable nouns.
Anything that is easy to see and count is a countable noun:
- one pencil, two pencils, three pencils, four pencils…..
- one elephant, two elephants, three elephants……
- one pizza, two pizzas…..
- one bird, two birds…..
Sometimes, instead of saying exactly how many there are of something, people will use different words:
- A few pencils
- A lot of elephants
- Some pizzas
- A couple of birds
A couple = 2-3
A few = 3-4
Some = 4-5
A lot = many
People will use these words when they don’t know exactly how many there are and don’t want to stop and count.
- I have some coins in my pocket.
- There are a few mosquitoes in here.
- I have some gifts for you.
- There are a lot of computers in the shop.
Anything that would be very difficult to count is an uncountable noun:
- one air? No.
- one rice? No.
- one milk? No.
These would be hard to count. So people use other words to describe how much of something there is:
- A lot
- A little bit
- There is a lot of air.
- I have some rice.
- Do you want some milk?
- There is a little bit of water.
These words don’t tell us exactly how much there is, but they give us an idea about how much there is.
I hope this explanation helps.