What Are Non-countable (Noncount) Nouns? (with Examples)
Non-countable (Noncount) NounsA non-countable noun (or mass noun as it's also known) is a noun without a plural form.
Non-countable nouns refer to things that cannot be counted.
Examples of Non-Countable NounsHere are some examples of non-countable nouns:
|Non-countable Noun||An Attempt At Making It Plural|
Non-countable nouns are singular.
Examples of Non-countable (Noncount) NounsNon-countable nouns usually fall into one of the following categories:
|Concept||bravery, honesty, information, intelligence, patience|
|Activity||homework, playing, reading, sleeping|
|Food||bread, butter, cheese, fish, milk|
|Gas||air, helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, smoke|
|Liquid||coffee, petrol, water, wine, beer|
|Material||chalk, cloth, concrete, lumber, wood, metal|
|Item Category||clothing, furniture, luggage, mail, money, software|
|Natural Phenomenon||gravity, heat, humidity, rain, snow, sunshine, thunder|
|Particles||dust, flour, rice, salt, sugar|
Non-countable Nouns Contrast with Countable NounsNon-countable nouns contrast with countable nouns, which can be pluralized. Here are some examples of countable nouns:
- apple, bear, cup, dog, ear, flower, giant, house, island (Note that these all have plural forms, e.g., apples, bears, cups.)
Read more about the term plural.
Read more about forming plurals.
Some Nouns Can Be Countable or Non-countableGenerally, non-countable nouns cannot be pluralized. However, some can be pluralized when talking about categories of that noun. This is most common with non-countable nouns in the food and liquid categories. For example:
- France is famous for its cheeses. (Categories of cheese)
- There are many fine wines from Chile. (Categories of wine)
Why Should I Care about Non-countable Nouns?Here are two noteworthy issues associated with non-countable nouns.
(Issue 1) Making Non-countable Nouns PluralThere are two methods to pluralize a concept expressed by a non-countable noun:
Method 1: Precede it with a [countable noun] + "of."
- five loaves of bread (Loaves is the countable noun.)
- five blocks of cheese (Blocks is the countable noun.)
- five bread loaves
- five cheese blocks
(Issue 2) Using the Right Quantifier with a Non-Countable NounUse "amount of" with a non-countable noun. The terms "quantity of" and "number of" are used with countable nouns. For example:
- Amount of sunshine
- Quantity of wood
Read more issues associated with countable and non-countable nouns on the countable nouns page.