COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE:

NOUNS THAT CAN BE BOTH

Nouns that are uncountable generally follow into one of several categories.

Below is a table that illustrates this:

category

examples

substances:

solids, liquids, gases, powders

air – ink – water – snow – smoke – butter – silk – toothpaste – iron – sugar – rice – flour

natural phenomena

light – energy – fire – heat – cold

abstract notions

beauty – liberty – capitalism – unemployment

feelings and emotions

envy – happiness – trust – curiosity

general activities

dancing – chess – meditation – yoga

sports

football – billiards – tennis – wrestling

fields of study

history – music – law – chemistry – art

diseases ( but: a cold and the flu)

diabetes – pneumonia – mumps – cancer

names of languages

French – Italian – Dutch – Finnish

The following video from Oxford English will explain uncountable nouns:

Some nouns can be either countable or uncountable. but the meaning will change in some way.

Here are some examples of nouns that are countable (a), uncountable (b), or both (c). If you click on the infographic, it will take you to the original website.

Venn diagram showing countable nouns, uncountable nouns, and nouns that are both

Image from: http://blog.tjtaylor.net/content/uploads/articles-countable-uncountable-venn.png

PRACTICE TIME!

Test how well you can use nouns with both forms by trying the quizzes below:

SPEAKSPEAK- COUNT UNCOUNT QUIZ

ESL-LOUNGE – COUNTABLE OR NOT QUIZ

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About Michele

Energetic and passionate English (EFL) teacher with more than ten years teaching experience.

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