Countable and uncountable nouns in English

1. Countable nouns

Most of the nouns are countable. You can combine them with numbers, e.g one, two or three. Here is an example:

  • one pencil
  • two pencils
  • three pencils
  • four ...

2. Uncountable nouns

These nouns cannot be combined with numbers.

  • water
  • butter
  • coal
  • money
  • salt
  • iron

If you want to express a quantity, you have to use a special phrase e.g. a glass of water.


Some nouns can be either countable or uncountable. We recommend to use a good dictionary to find out whether a noun is countable or uncountable or both.

Here is an example:

hair – hairs

  • You've got some hairs on your T-shirt. (There might be 5 or 6 of them.)
  • Your hair looks lovely. (Here you think of the hairstyle.)