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Nouns that are Count and Noncount

Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, usually with a different meaning for each. This page lists the most common such nouns. Click on each noun for more information, including countable and uncountable meanings, example sentences and a quick test.

You can also choose one of the following fun quizzes to test your understanding. Each quiz has ten questions.

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

See also noun countability grammar

Contributor: Matt Errey