Nouns that Can Be Countable and Uncountable

Some nouns in English can be both countable and uncountable, depending on the situation.


  • iron

(iron = material)

Iron is hard.

 (iron = electrical appliance)

The iron is hot.

  • glass

(glass = material)

Bottles are made of glass.

 (glass = container)

I drank a glass of milk.

  • time

(time = length of an activity)

How much time do you need to eat lunch?

(time = number of instances)

How many times do you go to Mexico in one year?

  • paper

(paper = material)

I need some paper to draw on.

(paper = a report or essay)

I wrote a paper for our literature class.

(paper = a newspaper)

I bought a paper this morning.

  • light

(light = energy form)

 I opened the door to let in some light.

(light = lamps / light bulbs)

Please turn off the lights.

  • work

(work = an activity)

I have some work to do tomorrow.

(work = a product)

That painting is a work of art.

  • chicken

(chicken = food)

 I had some chicken for dinner.

(chicken = kind of animal)

There are three chickens in the farm.

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