Countable Nouns refer to the things which are separated and can be counted using numbers.
Instead, Uncountable is the category of nouns referring to things we consider as a “mass” and not as separate objects, for example, liquids and other materials with no defined boundaries.
Each category mentioned above takes different Quantitative Determiners, also known as “quantifiers“.
Below you can read the main Quantitative Determiners:
- Both = One and the other of a pair of things;
- Many = Big amount of separated objects;
- (A) few = Little amount of something.
- Some = Undefined but considerable amount of something;
- Much = Big amount of a mass;
- (A) little = Small amount of something.
[Few vs A few, Little vs A little]
- Both of them are going on holiday.
- Not many people visit London every winter.
- Were there only a few people at work?
- Some people like football and basketball.
- We do not have much time.
- How little sugar is left?
We use Both, Many and (a) Few for Countable Nouns.
We use Some, Much and (a) Little with Uncountable Nouns.
Different Quantitative Determiners are used with different nouns.
- Countable nouns (nouns which can be counted easily and using numbers) can take the determiners Both, Many and (a) Few;
- Uncountable nouns (nouns which cannot be counted easily and are considered as a “mass”) can take the following determiners: Some, Much and (a) Little.
— Countable: “Can you buy a few coffees at the bar?” (= some cups of coffee).
— Uncountable: “Can you buy some coffee at the supermarket?” (= some coffee in powder).
We can see the difference thanks to the noun “coffee” which can be both countable and uncountable, with a difference in meaning.
NOTE: Quantitative Determiners are not interchangeable (when you can choose either or at any time), Countable and Uncountable use specific determiners and must use them.
Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.