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Nouns that Are Countable and Uncountable

Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, usually with different meanings for each. These pages list the most common ones, together with example sentences and quick quiz to check understanding.

Click on a word for example sentences and quiz.

accommodation

uncountable: a place to live in or stay at
countable: an agreement between opposing people or organisations

aid

uncountable: money or help given to those who need it
countable: something that helps you to do something

air

uncountable: the mixture of gases surrounding the earth
countable: (old-fashioned) a tune or a melody

art

uncountable: paintings, sculpture, drawings, etc.
countable: an activity that needs special training or knowledge

ballet

uncountable: a style of dancing that tells a story
countable: a particular work of classical dance

beauty

uncountable: the quality that makes someone or something beautiful
countable: a beautiful woman, or an excellent thing

beer

uncountable: an alcoholic drink made with malt and hops
countable: a glass of beer

blood

uncountable: the red liquid inside our bodies
countable: (old-fashioned) a rich man who likes to show off

bread

uncountable: a common food that's made from wheat or other grains
countable: a particular variety or type of bread

business

uncountable: the activity of making, buying or selling things for money
countable: a particular company or other commercial organisation

cheese

uncountable: a solid dairy food
countable: a particular kind or variety of cheese

cinema

uncountable: the making and marketing of films and movies
countable: a place in which films are shown on a big screen ("movie theater" is more common in American English)

coffee

uncountable: a drink made with ground, roasted seeds
countable: one cup of coffee

currency

uncountable: the banknotes and coins used in a country
countable: the monetary unit of a particular country

danger

uncountable: the possibility of something very bad happening
countable: a person or thing that can harm or kill

delight

uncountable: a feeling of great happiness
countable: something or someone that makes us happy

depression

uncountable: a feeling of great sadness that can require medical treatment to cure
countable: a period of little economic activity when many people lose their jobs

dessert

uncountable: sweet food eaten at the end of a meal
countable: a particular type or category of dessert

distribution

uncountable: the transportation and delivery of goods to shops and buyers
countable: the geographic range of a species, a language, a disease, etc.

employment

uncountable: the giving of work to someone, or the state of having work
countable: an exchange of labour for payment, usually under contract

enjoyment

uncountable: the pleasure you get from something
countable: an activity or experience that gives pleasure

entertainment

uncountable: films, concerts, sports, TV shows, etc. that an audience can enjoy
countable: a particular performance or activity that people enjoy

failure

uncountable: lack of success in doing something
countable: a person or thing that is not successful

faith

uncountable: strong belief in someone or something
countable: a particular religion

food

uncountable: things that people or animals eat
countable: a particular type or category of food

freedom

uncountable: the state of being free to do what you want
countable: the right to do what you want to do

fruit

uncountable: food that contains seeds, like apples, oranges, pears, etc.
countable: a particular kind or category of fruit

fuel

uncountable: something that's burned for heat or power, like wood, oil, gas, etc.
countable: a particular kind of fuel

gas

uncountable: any substance like air that's neither solid nor liquid
countable: a particular type of gas

glass

uncountable: the material used to make windows, bottles, fishbowls, etc.
countable: a drinking vessel made of glass

gold

uncountable: a valuable metal that's used to make jewellery
countable: a gold medal, or a colour that's similar to gold

gossip

uncountable: stories about other people's private lives, often untrue or exaggerated
countable: a person who likes telling and hearing gossip

grammar

uncountable: the rules of a language
countable: a book that describes the rules of a language

grass

uncountable: a common plant that's eaten by horses, cows, sheep, etc.
countable: any particular type of grass

ground

uncountable: the surface of the Earth
countable: an area of land used for a particular purpose

hair

uncountable: the mass of fibres on your head
countable: a single strand of hair

heat

uncountable: the quality of being hot
countable: a qualifying race or game at the start of a competition

height

uncountable: how high something is, or how tall someone is
countable: a high place or position

ice cream

uncountable: a sweet frozen food made from milk
countable: a small amount of ice cream on a stick, in a cone, or in a small container

injustice

uncountable: unfair treatment or mistaken legal judgement
countable: a particular action, judgement or situation that's unfair

intelligence

uncountable: the ability to understand and think about complex ideas
countable: a particular type or class of intelligence

iron

uncountable: a strong, hard metal
countable: a household appliance for smoothing out wrinkles in clothes

irony

uncountable: humour in which someone says the opposite of what they really mean
countable: an event or situation that involves a contradiction of some sort

jam

uncountable: sweet food that's made from fruit and usually spread on bread or toast
countable: many vehicles stuck together in traffic, or a difficult situation

jealousy

uncountable: unhappiness felt when you think someone you like wants somebody else, or when someone else has something you want
countable: an action or comment that shows jealousy

joy

uncountable: a feeling of great happiness
countable: something that makes you feel very happy

juice

uncountable: liquid that's squeezed from fruit or vegetables
countable: one glass of juice, or a particular kind of juice

kindness

uncountable: the quality of being kind to people or animals
countable: a kind act

land

uncountable: the earth's surface, or part of this surface
countable: a country or region

love

uncountable: a strong affection for someone
countable: a person, thing or activity that you love

marble

uncountable: a type of stone often used in buildings
countable: a small glass ball used for playing games

meat

uncountable: animal or bird flesh eaten as food
countable: a particular type of meat

metal

uncountable: a solid material that can be mined, like iron, tin, gold, etc.
countable: a particular kind or category of metal

nature

uncountable: all living things and the habitats that sustain them
countable: the basic character of a person or an animal, or a basic feature of something

noise

uncountable: loud or unpleasant sound
countable: a particular sound

oil

uncountable: a thick liquid, such as the dark liquid from underground that's used to make fuel, or a thick liquid that's used for cooking food
countable: a particular type of oil

paper

uncountable: a material that's used for writing on, printing on, or wrapping things in
countable: a newspaper

passion

uncountable: very strong feeling or emotion
countable: a very strong interest in something or someone

power

uncountable: the ability to control people, places or things
countable: a country with a lot of political, economic or military power

pride

uncountable: positive emotion felt when you or someone you know achieves something special
countable: a group of lions

production

uncountable: the process of making or growing things
countable: a film, play, television or radio programme

pronunciation

uncountable: the sounds made when speaking a language or saying a word
countable: a particular way of pronouncing a word or a language

quality

uncountable: the standard of something, or how good it is
countable: a particular feature of someone or something

quantity

uncountable: the amount of something
countable: a particular amount of something or number of things

room

uncountable: the space needed for something
countable: a space inside a building with walls, a floor and a ceiling

salad

uncountable: raw vegetables like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, etc. mixed together
countable: one serving of salad, or a particular type of salad

satire

uncountable: humour used to criticize someone or something
countable: a movie, book, play, etc. that uses satirical humour

silence

uncountable: total quiet, or no sound at all
countable: a period of time when nobody's speaking

sleep

uncountable: a natural state of rest
countable: a particular period of sleep

smoke

uncountable: clouds that rise from fires, chimneys, etc.
countable: a cigarette, or the act of smoking

soil

uncountable: the top layer of earth in which plants can grow
countable: a particular type or category of soil

sorrow

uncountable: a feeling of great sadness
countable: an event that causes great sadness

space

uncountable: empty area, or the unused part of something
countable: a particular area that has nothing in it

speed

uncountable: how fast something or someone moves
countable: a particular speed

spelling

uncountable: the ordering of letters to form a word
countable: a particular way of spelling a word

sport

uncountable: physical activities in which players compete individually or in teams
countable: a particular kind of sport

strength

uncountable: physical power, or how strong someone or something is
countable: an important ability or feature

success

uncountable: the achievement of a goal
countable: a successful person, event or result

sugar

uncountable: sweet crystals added to drinks like tea and coffee
countable: one teaspoon of sugar, or a particular type of sugar

tea

uncountable: a drink made by adding boiling water to dried plant parts
countable: one cup of tea, or a particular type of tea

time

uncountable: duration as measured by clocks
countable: a particular occasion or time when something happened

toast

uncountable: sliced bread that's been heated and browned in a toaster
countable: the act of drinking to someone's happiness or success

trade

uncountable: the buying and selling of goods and services
countable: a type of skilled work, or a particular type of business

trust

uncountable: the belief that someone or something is honest or won't cheat you
countable: a legal arrangement or organization that manages someone's money or property

understanding

uncountable: comprehension of the facts about something, or comprehension of someone's situation or feelings
countable: an informal agreement

usage

uncountable: the way that words are used in spoken or written language
countable: a particular meaning or usage of a word

vision

uncountable: the sense of sight, or the ability to see
countable: an idea of what the future could be like

weight

uncountable: how heavy someone or something is
countable: a heavy object that's used to build muscle mass and strength

whisky

uncountable: a strong alcoholic drink
countable: one glass of whisky

width

uncountable: how wide something is
countable: a measured piece of cloth, or the width of a swimming pool

wine

uncountable: an alcoholic drink made from grapes, or a similar drink made from rice, elderberries, etc.
countable: a glass of wine, or a particular type of wine

wood

uncountable: the hard material in trees
countable: a particular type of wood

work

uncountable: a job done for money, or any productive activity
countable: something created by a writer, painter, musician, or other artist

youth

uncountable: the time in someone's life when they're young
countable: a young man

Selected and arranged by Matt Errey.

Countable/Uncountable Gapfill Games
Countable/Uncountable Sorting Games

The grammar of Countable and Uncountable Nouns.

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