Countable and Uncountable Nouns for English Language Learners

This is the second of two courses designed to be simple to learn English for Chinese students.

This article explains countable and uncountable nouns.

What are Countable and Uncountable Nouns

we have looked at plural nouns  (student => students), but some nouns are not ‘countable’ (1 student, 2 students, …,, ), so nouns are countable nouns or uncountable nouns. For example: “apple” “rice” “bread”

  • apples is countable – I bought two apples.
  • two rice, two bread, these are uncountable – correct use might be “I need some rice for the recipe.”, and “Can you buy a loaf of bread?”

Countable Nouns

  • I bought three bananas.
  • He has two pizzas for the party.
  • The children ate five cookies after school.
  • We picked six oranges from the tree.
  • There are eight tomatoes in the basket.

Uncountable Nouns

  • I need some flour for baking.
  • She enjoys drinking tea in the morning.
  • Can you pass me a little salt, please?
  • We bought a bottle of water at the store.
  • The recipe calls for a cup of sugar.
  • He prefers coffee with a splash of milk.

Countable and Uncountable Foods

countable and uncountable nouns


Uncountable Foods with Quantifiers

  • A bag of flour
  • A bottle of oil
  • A bowl of rice
  • A bowl of soup
  • A bowl of cereal
  • A cup of coffee
  • A cup of tea
  • A glass of milk
  • A glass of water
  • A jar of honey
  • A jar of jam
  • A jar of mustard
  • A piece of cheese
  • A piece of fruit
  • A piece of meat
  • A pinch of salt
  • A plate of pasta
  • A plate of seafood
  • A slice of bread
  • A slice of butter
  • A spoonful of sugar

Exercise #1

Read this passage

Lisa went to the grocery store to buy some items for her weekend.

She picked up a carton of eggs, a loaf of bread, a bag of rice, and a bottle of milk.

Lisa also wanted to make a salad, so she got some tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers.

In the fruit section, she grabbed a bunch of bananas and a watermelon. For a sweet treat, Lisa bought a bar of chocolate.

At the checkout, she realized she forgot to get sugar for her coffee, so she quickly added a packet to her purchases.”

Mark each of the following foods or drinks as C – countable, or U for uncountable.

  1. eggs
  2. bread
  3. rice
  4. milk
  5. salad
  6. tomatoes
  7. lettuce
  8. cucumbers
  9. watermelon
  10. chocolate
  11. sugar
  12. coffee

Exercise #2

Read the following sentences and identify the countable or uncountable nouns. Write “C” for countable and “U” for uncountable

there can be more than one answer in a sentence

  1. She bought two dresses for the party.
  2. Can you pass me some salt, please?
  3. My brother reads three books every month.
  4. I need a piece of advice on my project.
  5. They have three dogs and some milk in the refrigerator.
  6. I prefer tea over coffee in the morning.
  7. He ate a hamburger and drank a glass of juice for lunch.
  8. There are many birds in the sky.
  9. The children played with toys in the garden.
  10. Please bring me a cup of tea with sugar.

Exercise #3

Read the following sentences and identify the countable nouns by underlining them and the uncountable nouns by circling them.

  1. She bought three new shirts and a bottle of perfume at the mall.
  2. Can you pass me a couple of oranges and some fresh juice?
  3. My sister painted two beautiful paintings for the art exhibition.
  4. We enjoyed a delicious meal with a plate of spaghetti and a bowl of soup.
  5. The students in the class wrote three essays and shared some interesting information.
  6. He received many gifts for his birthday, including a box of chocolates and a jar of cookies.


If you want to learn more about nouns visit the nouns page, or visit the parts of speech page.

Return to the The APC 2 course page – improve your English