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Adjectives with Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Summary:

This resource provides basic guidelines of adjective and adverb use.

Contributors:Paul Lynch, Chris Berry
Last Edited: 2010-04-17 05:54:23

The Basic Rules: Adjectives

A countable noun is one that can be expressed in plural form, usually with an "s." For example, "cat--cats," "season--seasons," "student--students."

An uncountable noun is one that usually cannot be expressed in a plural form. For example, "milk," "water," "air," "money," "food." Usually, you can't say, "He had many moneys."

Most of the time, this doesn't matter with adjectives. For example, you can say, "The cat was gray" or "The air was gray." However, the difference between a countable and uncountable noun does matter with certain adjectives, such as the following:

Some/Any:

Both "some" and "any" can modify countable and uncountable nouns.

Much/Many:

"Much" modifies only uncountable nouns.

"Many" modifies only countable nouns.

Little/Few:

"Little" modifies only uncountable nouns.

"Few" modifies only countable nouns.

A lot of/lots of:

"A lot of" and "lots of" are informal substitutes for much and many. They are used with uncountable nouns when they mean "much" and with countable nouns when they mean "many."

A little bit of:

"A little bit of" is informal and always precedes an uncountable noun.

Plenty of:

"Plenty of" modifies both countable and uncountable nouns.

Enough:

Enough modifies both countable and uncountable nouns.

No

No modifies both countable and uncountable nouns.

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