It’s important to understand the difference between count and noncount nouns. This is the simple version for beginners (part 1). Advanced learners might want the more complete Count and Noncount Nouns Part 2.
– three apples, four potatoes
– air, water
|Plural verbs|| Yes
– are cars, are people
– is coffee, is sugar
|A, An|| Yes
– a person, an orange
– rice, milk
– many things
– much money
Numbers in Front of Count
Count nouns can have numbers in front of them while noncount nouns cannot.
|two apples||two milk|
Plural Verbs for Count
Count nouns can have a plural form and will use a plural verb. Noncount only have a singular form and can only have a singular verb.
|There are four cookies.||There is milk.|
|There aren’t any bananas.||There isn’t any rice.|
No ‘A’ or ‘An’ for Noncount
Noncount nouns never have the indefinite article ‘a’ or ‘an’ (which mean ‘one’) directly in front of them. Count nouns, however, can have the indefinite article ‘a’ or ‘an’ (because ‘a’ and ‘an’ mean ‘one’).
|An apple||an air|
|A potato||A tank of air|
|A loaf of bread|
Count nouns use ‘many’ but noncount nouns use ‘much’.
|Are there many students?||Is there much money?|
|There aren’t many people.||There isn’t much air.|
This is the simple way to explain the difference between count and noncount nouns. If you want the full explanation, check out the Count and Noncount Nouns Part 2 lesson.