The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Grammar Handbook: Mass and Count Nouns

Every noun can also be distinguished as count or mass.

Count Nouns

Count nouns are nouns that can be quantified or counted with a number.

A few examples:

Tests for Count Nouns:

Mass Nouns

Mass nouns are uncountable by a number. Mass nouns are quantified by a word that signifies amount.

A few examples:

Remember that a number can not be used to quantify a mass noun. Incorrect: four woods, one rice, three courages.

To measure or classify mass nouns, use "of" after a measurement: a foot of wood, a pound of rice, an ounce of courage, a bar of chocolate, a piece of music, a bag of money

Tests for Mass Nouns: