Nouns! They can be so simple: representations of a person, place, thing, or idea. But they can also be so confusing! Why do we say that we have two dogs, but not two sugars? Why not two breads, but two pizzas? Today we are looking at an overview of Count and Non-Count Nouns and then paying close attention to English words that seem to naturally fall into one of these two categories . . . but belong in the other.
It seems so simple: Count Nouns are nouns that you can count easily.apples bananas walnuts chairs desks computers cars roads clouds
. . . the list goes on and on!
Non-Count Nouns, on the other hand, cannot be counted so easily. Why? Because most Non-Count Nouns refer to things that are not easily countable. Most often, these are things you cannot touch (we say they are “abstract”), like:beauty happiness success experience anger confusion music honesty
Other Non-Count Nouns can be touched, but can’t be counted so easily, like:butter bread water sand coffee sugar
We can obviously measure each of these things (“I have one cup of butter and two cups of coffee”) but can we count them? Not so easily! Unless you have hours in the day to count grains of sand . . . 🙂
Commonly Confused Non-Count Nouns
This is all seems pretty simple so far, right? Unfortunately, there are some words in the English language that are not so easily categorized. These words seem to belong in the Count Nouns category, but are actually Non-Count Nouns. Learning them will greatly improve your English skills.accommodation
bread chaos clothing dirt
equipment food fruit
garbage grammar homework
research scenery trash
travel vocabulary weather
Each of these words is Non-Count, and cannot have an “s” added to the end. For example, if you have five suitcases, then you have a lot of luggage. You have a lot of homework (not “homeworks). And you receive a lot of mail, not “mails.”
As you can see, to say that you have more than one of the listed Non-Count words, you must add “a lot of.” To say that you have an average amount, you use the word “some.” To say that you do not have a lot of the word, you say “little.”
- The neighbors have a lot of trash.
- I have done some research in my job.
- I have had little work lately.
Best of luck learning these words! Such a simple thing like learning this list and correctly using these words will truly improve your English skills.