What are Count, Non-Count Nouns? Definition, Examples of Count, Non-Count Nouns

Count noun definition: A count noun is a noun that has a plural form.

Non-count noun definition: A non-count noun is a noun that does not have a plural form.

What is the Difference Between Count and Non-count Nouns?

What is a count noun? A count noun is a person, place, or thing that can have a singular or plural form. Most nouns have a singular and a plural form. Typically, by adding “s” to a noun, the plural form is made. A count noun can be counted.

  • girl/girls
  • town/towns
  • banana/bananas

Noncount nouns and mass nounWhat is a non-count noun? A non-count noun is a person, place, or thing that do not have a plural form. In a sense, a non-count noun cannot be counted.

  • courage
  • weather
  • frustration

Examples of Count Nouns

Noncount nouns list or non count nounCount noun meaning: Count nouns, sometimes called countable nouns, have both singular and plural forms. Typically, a noun is made plural by adding an “s” to the end of the word. For example,

  • friend/friends
  • museum/museums
  • rock/rocks
  • office/offices
  • Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., a top engineering and design firm with more than 230 offices around the world, is planning to move some of its corporate operations to Dallas. –Daily News

However, some exceptions exist to this general rule. For example,

  • child/children
  • city/cities
  • daisy/daisies

Generally, if a word ends in “y,” making it plural involves dropping the “y” and adding “ies.” However, some irregular plural nouns exist, like “children” above.

Examples of Non-count Nouns

countable and uncountable nounsNon-count noun meaning: Non-count nouns, sometimes called uncountable nouns, do not have a plural form and they generally fit into particular categories.

A good example of a non-count noun is something that we pay attention to almost every day of our lives: the weather. There is no plural form of weather.

  • The change in weather, he added, should allow firefighters to start applying a “death grip” on the blaze over the coming days. –The New York Times

We have put together a non-count noun list below. Non-count nouns generally fall into these categories.

Abstractions

  • information
  • bravery
  • independence

Activities

  • running
  • music
  • work

Food

  • turkey
  • lasagna
  • butter

Gases

  • steam
  • oxygen
  • smoke

Groups of Similar Items

  • furniture
  • equipment
  • luggage

Liquids

  • milk
  • gasoline
  • water

Natural Event

  • sunlight
  • lightning
  • hail

Materials

  • cement
  • cotton
  • leather

Particles or Grain

  • dirt
  • salt
  • corn

How to Make Non-count Nouns Plural?

Non-count nouns do not have plural forms. However, non-count nouns can be referred to as “more than one” using the following guidelines.

By placing a count noun in front of the non-count and adding the preposition “of”, “more than one” non-count noun is formed.

Guideline:

  • count noun + of + non-count noun

Examples:

  • box of corn
  • bolts of cloth
  • gallons of water

Each of these examples assumes that “more than one” of each non-count noun exits.

Additionally, “more than one” non-count noun is explained by making a non-count noun an adjective before a count noun.

  • fabric piles
  • oil barrels
  • butter cubes

How to Quantify Count, Non-count Nouns

Count noun examples and count noncount nounQuantifiers explain “how much” of something exits. Quantifiers are placed directly before a noun.

Count nouns and non-count nouns may use different quantifiers.

Examples of Some Quantifiers:

  • few (count only)
    • a few books
  • several (count only)
    • several chairs
  • more (both)
    • more pillows
    • more rain
  • enough (both)
    • enough desks
    • enough water
  • more (both)
    • more mirrors
    • more furniture
  • a lot (of) (both)
    • a lot of tables
    • a lot of flour
  • less (non-count only)
    • less information
    • less television
  • (too) much (non-count only)
    • too much sugar
    • too much thunder

Summary: What are Count and Noncount Nouns?

Define count noun: the definition of a count noun is a noun that can form a plural or occur with an indefinite article.

Define non-count noun: the definition of a non-count noun is a noun that cannot be modified by the indefinite article and does not occur in the plural.

For more grammar terms, visit our complete grammar dictionary.