Countable and Uncountable nouns | Nieuws

JILL CHILD

Freelance English Language Trainer

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Open University UK

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What are countable and uncountable nouns? Some common nouns to watch out for in English!

What are countable and uncountable nouns?


In English (and also Dutch and German) not all nouns are countable.

Countable:

You can put ‘a’ or ‘an’ in front

You can put a number in front

She eats an egg for breakfast every day.

I have a car but my neighbour has 3 cars.

 
Uncountable:

Uncountable nouns are not counted in English. This usually has to do with the way English speakers think of these nouns. We often picture these nouns as a single concept or one big thing which is hard to divide. Some of these words are countable in other languages, but they ARE NOT countable in English. Generally, we do not use plural forms of these words; however some of these words do end in "s", so don't get confused.

You can’t put ‘a’ or ‘an’ in front

You can’t put a number in front

My dog drinks beer.

Please open the attachment for more information.

Can I give you some advice?

 

In my experience the main problems come with nouns that are uncountable in English but countable in Dutch and German.

These are the ones to watch for:

Information

Equipment

Advice

Training

Transport

​Damage

Furniture




This shows all countability errors in the Cambridge Learner Corpus.
The size of each circle represents the number of times the error is made with that word.

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