Unlike  countable nounsuncountable nouns are substances, concepts etc that we cannot divide into separate elements. We cannot "count" them. For example, we cannot count "milk". We can count "bottles of milk" or "litres of milk", but we cannot count "milk" itself. Here are some more uncountable nouns:

  • music, art, love, happiness
  • advice, information, news
  • furniture, luggage
  • rice, sugar, butter, water
  • electricity, gas, power
  • money, currency

We usually treat uncountable nouns as singular. We use a singular verb. For example:

  • This news is  very important.
  • Your luggage looks heavy.

We do not usually use the indefinite article a/an  with uncountable nouns. We cannot say "an information" or "a music". But we can say a "something" of:

  • a piece of news
  • a bottle of water
  • a grain of rice

We can use some and any  with uncountable nouns:

  • I've got some money.
  • Have you got any rice?

We can use a little and much  with uncountable nouns:

  • I've got a little money.
  • I haven't got much rice.
Uncountable nouns are also called "mass nouns".

Here are some more examples of countable and uncountable nouns:


When you learn a new word, it's a good idea to learn whether it's countable or uncountable.

Partitive Structure with Uncountable Nouns

To count or quantify an uncountable noun we use a unit of measurement - a measure word. For example, we cannot usually say “two breads” because “bread” is uncountable. So, if we want to specify a quantity of bread we use a measure word such as “loaf” or “slice” in a structure like “two loaves of bread” or “two slices of bread”. We call this structure a partitive structure.

partitive structure:quantitymeasure wordofuncountable noun

We can use the same uncountable noun in different partitive expressions with different meanings. For example, a loaf of bread and  a slice of bread are partitive expressions with different meanings. A loaf  of bread is what we call a whole unit of bread that we buy from a baker. A slice  of bread is what we call a smaller unit of bread after  it has been cut from a loaf. 

Here are some more examples:

  • Don't forget to buy a bag of rice when you go shopping.
  • Can I have one cup of coffee and  two cups of tea.
  • The police found some items of clothing scattered around the floor.
  • I need a truck that will take at least three pieces of furniture.
  • You'd think a tablespoon of honey would be more than enough.
The word "partitive" indicates that only "part" of a whole is being referred to. The partitive structure using a measure word is common with uncountable nouns, but it can also be used with countable nouns, for example: a series of accidents , two boxes of matches , a can of worms.

Nouns that can be Countable and Uncountable

Sometimes, the same noun can be countable and  uncountable, often with a change of meaning.

Countable Uncountable
The US dollar and pound sterling are important currencies.currencyThe expression gained wider currency after 2001.
There are two hairs in my coffee!hairI don't have much hair.
There are two lights in our bedroom.lightClose the curtain. There's too much light!
Shhhhh! I thought I heard a noise.
There are so many different noises in the city.
noiseIt's difficult to work when there is so much noise.
Have you got a paper to read? (newspaper)
Hand me those student papers.
paperI want to draw a picture. Have you got some paper?
Our house has seven rooms.roomIs there room for me to sit here?
We had a great time at the party.
How many times have I told you no?
timeHave you got time for a cup of coffee?
Macbeth  is one of Shakespeare's greatest works.workI have no money. I need work!
Drinks (coffee, water, orange juice) are usually uncountable. But if we are thinking of a cup or a glass, we can say (in a restaurant, for example):
Two teas and one coffee please.

sources : Original Link