The following exercises are designed to test your knowledge of countable and uncountable nouns and plurals. The ability to count a noun will change the verb conjugation and the type of quantifier you use for it (for example, fewer/less). The first exercise tests the use of verbs, whilst the second test quantifiers. Find more similar exercises here.
Countable and uncountable nouns exercise 1: Verbs
Choose an appropriate verb (and tense) to complete the sentences. Answers are below with explanations.
- There _______ dozens of pigs in the road.
There are dozens of pigs in the road. – Pigs are countable, and a plural, so we need are.
- There _______ lots of pork on the table.
There is lots of pork on the table. – Pork is uncountable, so is treated as singular.
- This tomato _______ ripe.
- Now my pyjamas _______ stains on them!
- Those cups of tea _______ very hot. Because the tea _______ boiling.
- Can I _______ some cake?
- The glasses _______ full of whisky.
- That pair of glasses _______ broken.
- They _______ questioning him now, but the police _______ no evidence.
- The crowd _______ dispersing.
- Janette and Paul _______ been together for fourteen years.
- Our reserves of grain _______ running out. But the grain _______ Our reserves of grain _______ running out. But the grain _______ still good.
- My scissors _______ getting blunt.
- Your pizza _______ cold, you should reheat it.
Countable and uncountable nouns exercise 2: Quantifiers
Choose an appropriate quantifier to complete the sentences. The spaces can include single words or multiple words (for example many / lots of). Answers are below with explanations.
- Do you have _______ sugar?
Do you have any/some sugar? – Sugar is uncountable, so it uses a quantifier. Any/some might be used for countable or uncountable nouns, but would be incorrect for a countable singular noun.
- Do you have _______ car?
Do you have a car? – Car is countable and needs an indefinite article.
- Can I have _______ water?
- Please give me _______ ticket.
- How _______ burgers would you like? And how _______ sauce?
- People seem to care _______ about appearance now.
- It’s busy because there are _______ dogs in the park.
- We needed _______ potatoes for dinner.
- They didn’t have _______ cheese left, but there weren’t _______ cheeses to choose from to begin with.
- Clifford had too _______ cake, he’ll be sick.
- You need to invite _______ people, or the party will be too crowded.
- If this bill passes, I hope there will be _______ litter on the streets.
- The supermarket has _______ bread, but not _______ milk.
- Please pass me _______ paper, I seem to have run out.
- I went to the shop to get _______ carton of milk.
Answers for Exercise 1
- This tomato is ripe. – Singular, countable noun.
- Now my pyjamas have stains on them! – An uncountable plural noun (though it may refer to a single item). See here for more details.
- Those cups of tea are very hot. Because the tea is boiling. – In the first sentence tea is made countable because we use a countable unit, ‘cups of’. In the second sentence tea is uncountable.
- Can I have some cake? – I takes the first person singular.
- The glasses are full of whisky. – Glasses referring to drinks containers are countable, there are many glasses here.
- That pair of glasses is broken. – ‘Pair of’ makes the subject singular.
- They are questioning him, but the police have no evidence. – They is a plural, and the police is an uncountable plural.
- The crowd is dispersing. – Crowd is countable, here it is singular (it could be was in the past).
- Janette and Paul have been together for fourteen years. – Janette and Paul together represent a plural.
- Our reserves of grain are running out. But the grain is still good. – The first sentence the subject is ‘reserves’, a countable plural. In the second sentence the subject is ‘grain’, which is uncountable.
- My scissors are getting blunt. – The word scissors is an uncountable plural.
- Your pizza is cold, you should reheat it. – A countable singular.
Answers for exercise 2
- Can I have some water? – Water is uncountable.
- Please give me a ticket. – Ticket is countable so needs an indefinite article here.
- How many burgers would you like? And how much sauce? – Burgers are countable, but sauce is not.
- People seem to care less about appearance now. – Care is uncountable so needs less.
- It’s busy because there are so many dogs in the park. – Dogs are countable, so need many, not much.
- We needed some potatoes for dinner. – Potatoes are a countable plural, if it was a singular we could say ‘a potato’.
- They didn’t have any cheese left, but there weren’t many cheeses to choose from to begin with. – Cheese in the first sentence is countable, but in the second sentence we are talking about different types of cheese, so it becomes countable.
- Clifford had too much cake, he’ll be sick. – Cake is uncountable so needs much.
- You need to invite fewer people, or the party will be too crowded. – People is countable, so needs fewer and not less.
- If this bill passes, I hope there will be less litter on the streets. – Litter is uncountable, like rubbish or garbage, so requires less instead of fewer.
- The supermarket has some bread, but not much milk. – Bread is uncountable, so we need some/any/lots of – not many. Milk is uncountable, so needs much.
- Please pass me some paper, I seem to have run out. – As paper is uncountable, you require some not a.
- I went to the shop to get a carton of milk. – The object is a ‘carton of’, not ‘milk’, so it is countable and needs a.