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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Grammar, Punctuation, and Sentences

Count and Non-Count Nouns

Countable nouns are people, places, and things that can be counted.

two cats, five fingers

 

Non-count nouns usually cannot be counted and lack a plural form. They do not require an indefinite article (a/an). Also, they take a singular verb.

Knowledge is power.

Cheese is delicious.

 

The main issue writers will encounter with count vs. non-countable nouns is adjective use, specifically when using the following:

“Many” vs. “Much”

Use “many” for count nouns and “much” for non-count nouns.

I ate too many cookies.

I drank too much milk.

 

“A Few” vs. “A Little”

Use “a few” for count nouns and “a little” for non-count nouns.

I printed a few copies.

I used a little ink.