English Count Nouns have two forms: singular and plural.

They can be used with numbers and quantifying expressions such as "many", "several", and "few".


One potato  Two potatoes  Several potatoes  Few potatoes

When used as subjects in present tense sentences, count nouns require the "-s" form of the verb in the singular and the base form of the verb in the plural.


 The dog sleeps.

 The dogs sleep.

The bear has large claws.

EnglishNon-count Nouns have only one form.

When used as subjects in present tense sentences, non-count nouns require the "-s" form of the verb.


Juice contains many vitamins.

Honesty is the best policy.

Some nouns can be either Count or Non-count.


Job experience is essential.

Milk contains calcium.

Some experiences can be funny.

Two milks, please. (informal)

Both Count and Non-count Nouns can be quantified.

That is, they can be used with expressions which divide them into parts or groups which can be counted.



For example:

Two apples  Two bags of apples

One biscuit  A box of biscuits.

Milk  Two cartons of milk.

Sugar  A cup of sugar.

Sometimes a Non-count Noun is used to indicate a "group" of items, whereas individual items within the group are countable.


For example:


                       Non-count                                                                         Count

Money                                                pounds, pence, fivers, tens, twenties, coins

Time                                                              years, months, days, hours, minutes

Clothing                                                      dresses, trousers, shirts,socks, shoes

Furniture                                                                tables, chairs, sofa, stool, lamp

Luggage                                                    suitcases, briefcases, bags, rucksacks

Weight                                           Pounds, ounces, ton(nes), (kilo)grams, grams

Liquids                                                                         Pints, quarts, gallons, litres



Here are some phrases and sentences using Count and Non-count Nouns in context.



Non-count Nouns                                                   Count Nouns

I'd like to buy some ____________.                     I'd like to buy some _______________s.

 How much do you need?          How many do you need?

Let's see. Five ____s* should be enough.                Let's see. Five (of them) should be enough.

 All right. Five____s of ________.   All right. Five __________s.

Anything else?           Anything else?

No, that will be all for today.           No, that will be all for today

*Use MEASURE WORDS  with Non-count Nouns. For example:

Three bottles of milk. Two cans of cider. A pound of ground beef. Half a dozen eggs.


MEASURE WORDS can also be used for Count Nouns. For example:

Four boxes of biscuits. A package of DVDs. Six pounds of apples. [Or : Six apples] A Dozen nuts




Singular and Non-count Nouns in the third person, require the "-s" form of VERBS in the PRESENT TENSE.

[Care should be taken as these may be a source of confusion.]

The examples below illustrate how they are used:


The girl loves painting.

My dog likes to eat slippers.

Charlie lives next door to Brian.

Milk contains vitamins.

Jennifer has two hobbies.

CJ comes from Holland.


Singular Count Nouns require an article ("the", "a", "an") unless -

they are 'PROPER' NOUNS:


Mr. Jones went to America;


they are preceded by a POSSESSIVE:


My mother loves my father;


they are preceded by this, that, each, every, either, neither, or one:


Each man contributed one quarter of his wealth;

WRONG: Apples are on table. This requires an ARTICLE:


The apples are on the table


Plural nouns and singular non-count nouns do not require an article in the "generic" sense:


Water is important for plants.


However, they require articles ("the", "some") in most other cases:


Please put some wine in the glasses.

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