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What is a Count Noun? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 Count Nouns
  • 0:33 What Are Count Nouns?
  • 1:47 Words Used to Describe…
  • 3:17 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

Count nouns are people, places, or things that we can count. In this lesson, we'll look at the definition of count nouns as well as some examples to help us begin to classify nouns as count or non-count.

Count Nouns

Look around your bedroom and name some things you or your parents have had to purchase: your bed, dresser, socks, books, etc. All of these things are count nouns, or nouns that you can count. You can count the number of books on your bookshelf or shoes in your closet. You can count the walls around your bedroom and the blankets on your bed.

In this lesson, we'll look more closely at count nouns and view some more examples to help us understand what they are.

What Are Count Nouns?

The simple rule to defining a count noun is this: If you can make a noun plural, which means that we have more than one of something, or if you can add a number in front of the noun, you have a count noun. Let's look at some examples:

  • Katya ate five doughnuts.

In this sentence, we were able to add a number in front of the noun (doughnut) and made it plural by adding an 's.' Thus, 'doughnut' is a count noun.

  • There are fifty candles on her cake.

Because we are able to put a number in front of 'candles' and are able to make 'candle' plural, it is a count noun.

The opposite of a count noun is a non-count noun, or a group noun. Non-count nouns cannot be counted - you cannot add a number in front of them, and they cannot be made plural. 'Water,' 'excitement,' 'anger,' and 'weather' are all non-count nouns. You can't have 'two excitements' or 'three angers.' You also can't use the word 'weathers.'

  • 'Book,' 'dog,' 'chair,' and 'banana' are all examples of count nouns. (You can count them and make each of them plural.)
  • 'Information,' 'happiness,' 'music,' 'wool,' and 'air' are all non-count nouns. (You can't count them or make them plural.)

Words Used to Describe Quantity

There are certain words to describe quantity that can be used with count nouns and others that can be used with non-count nouns. While some of the non-count quantity words can also be used with count nouns, the opposite is not true. Count noun quantity words cannot be used by non-count nouns.

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