ReadingESL stories and readings in English for ESL learners


 

Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable nouns are nouns (things) that we can't count in English. 

For example we can count trees, (one tree, two trees) but we can't count rain.  We do NOT say one rain, two rains.

There are many nouns in English that are uncountable. 

We 'count' these nouns in one of three ways:

 

1. liquids

  a litre of milk

a glass of milk 
    a tube of toothpaste 
a litre of gas

a tank of gas

some gas
  bottles of beer

cans of pop   a cup of coffee

two cups of coffee
a glass of water

a pitcher of water

a jug of water

Ice is also uncountable.
  a box of juice
a carton of juice
a bottle of juice
a litre of juice
a glass of juice
three bottles of wine

three glasses of wine
  also
blood
honey
oil
tea
 
 
a tube of red paint

a dab of paint
  two cans of paint

two quarts of paint

 

2. many foods

a bowl of cereal   three cobs of corn
three ears of corn


There are many kernels of corn on a cob.


two bulbs of garlic

five cloves of garlic
  a head of lettuce
a bowl of ice cream

a container of ice cream
  pasta

noodles
a bunch of celery

four stalks of celery
  peanut butter
(also butter)
a loaf of bread

two loaves of bread

a slice of bread
    chocolate

a piece of chocolate 

a bar of chocolate
 

a bag of rice

many grains of rice 
   

a bunch of broccoli 
  a sprig of parsley

+ most
herbs and spices
basil
cinnamon
mint
rosemary
sage
and more

 
  also

cauliflower
cheese
meat
soup
 

 

3. weather & other natural phenomena

a lot of snow  
'Lightning' by ergates, taken from flickr
bolts of lightning

flashes of lightning

(also thunder)
drops of rain

a lot of rain
  fog
rays of sunlight

sunshine
 
photo by Erica Crandall
darkness

photo by Erica Crandall
wind   heat
  electricity

power 
  also

cold
frost
gravity
hail 
mist
 

 

4. gases

a tank of propane   oxygen

carbon dioxide
air

The balloons are full of air.
  steam

 

5. collections of things

a bag of garbage
a pile of garbage
    five pieces of luggage
many kinds of fruit   money

currency
a load of laundry

a pile of laundry

a lot of laundry
  mail
furniture      jewelry

or jewellery
  graffiti      clothing 

pieces of clothing

articles of clothing
      also

equipment
machinery  
 

 

6. very small solids

a blade of grass

  a handful of sand
a spoonful of sugar

a little bit of sugar

some sugar
  a bag of flour

a cup of flour

250 ml of flour
strands of hair     salt

a box of salt

a pinch of salt
      also
dust 
 

 

7. materials

wood

lumber

pieces of wood
  glass

panes of glass

pieces of glass
a pile of gravel   concrete

cement
steel   plastic

copper
(all metals are uncountable)

plumbing
asphalt   a pile of paper

a lot of paper

many pieces of paper
  cloth 

a bolt of cloth
    toilet paper 

a roll of toilet paper
soap 

a bar of soap
     

 

8. abstract ideas or qualities

death   time
happiness   love

information

news

data

knowledge
  education

wisdom
strength    
photo from Emma Fox
courage 
  research      art
 
      also
anger
beauty
fear
music
literature 
luck
fun 
wealth  
and many more
 

 

9. all sports and school subjects 

sports - hockey, baseball, tennis, etc.

subjects - mathematics, English, science, etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mcfc