Countable And Uncountable Nouns


Follow the rules…or, don’t…

Basically, a person, place, or thing that is expressed in the plural form with an “s” is a countable noun. So, even if you don’t know what a “blognarg” is, if someone asks for all your blognargs…you can safely believe whatever they are, they’re countable. It refers to items that can be counted.

If, on the other hand, the items are impossible to count, they cannot be expressed in plural form. Things like liquids (milk), or abstract ideas (courage) are uncountable and always considered to be singular.

I’m not here to discuss the ins and outs of “much”, “many”, “a few”, “a lot”, or “some”. Additionally, there is a point to be made about nouns that are both countable and not countable, depending on the context of the sentence (e.g. light, room, time).

But using “a”/“an” with an uncountable noun has become more common, and while it probably means old-school English teachers are slowly being driven insane, it’s another reminder that focusing too much on the rules of English isn’t always a good idea.

Don’t learners want to sound cool; like native speakers? Well, the next time you’re in a coffee shop, feel free to order “a coffee”. In a bar? Ask for “a beer”. Going to the convenience store? Could you get me “a cola”? All of these are liquids and therefore uncountable. None of these should have “a” in front of them. However, the rules have changed and you don’t have to use “cup”, “glass”, or “can” if you don’t want to. The next time you’re watching a movie or TV show in English, see if they follow the rules.

The point is, again: English has a lot of rules and many of them are forgotten, avoided, or are increasingly ignored. Take chances, maybe you’ll start a new twist on an old rule. Just don’t let fear of breaking a rule or being “wrong” be the reason you don’t say anything at all. Communication is the key and I bet you’ll get that coffee…mission accomplished.





ですから、たとえあなたが 「blognarg 」を知らなくても、誰かがあなたのblognargsをすべて尋ねてきたら…それが何であれ、数えられるものだと信じて間違いないでしょう。



私はここで、「much」「many」「a few」「a lot」「some」の一部始終を議論するつもりはありません。さらに、文脈によって数えられる名詞になったりと数えられない名詞になったりするものがあることについても指摘しておかなければなりません(例:光、部屋、時間)。



今度、コーヒーショップに行ったら、「a coffee」と注文してください。

バーでは、「a beer」で。

コンビニに行きますか? では「a cola」をお願いします。