可數名詞與不可數名詞

在英文中,名詞是可數還是不可數,都會決定前面該用哪個限定詞,也會決定後面的動詞型態,因此務必要區分名詞是可數還是不可數。

可數名詞

可數名詞可以用數字來計算。這種名詞有單數和複數形;單數形的限定詞可以用 a 或 an。如果要詢問某個可數名詞的數量有多少,可以用「How many?」來問,再搭配可數名詞的複數形。

單數 複數
one dog two dogs
one horse two horses
one man two men
one idea two ideas
one shop two shops
例句
  • She has three dogs.
  • I own a house.
  • I would like two books please.
  • How many friends do you have?

不可數名詞

不可數名詞無法用數字來計算。這類名詞可能是抽象的概念,或者太小、非固態的物體(液體、粉狀物、氣體等)。不可數名詞會使用動詞單數形,通常沒有複數形。

舉例
  • tea
  • sugar
  • water
  • air
  • rice
  • knowledge
  • beauty
  • anger
  • fear
  • love
  • money
  • research
  • safety
  • evidence

我們不能在不可數名詞前面加 a 或 an,如要表達它的數量,就得用 some、a lot of、much、a bit of、a great deal of 之類的量詞來表達,要更確切的話還可以用 a cup of、a bag of、1kg of、1L of、a handful of、a pinch of、an hour of、a day of 等量詞或測量單位。如果想詢問數量,可以用「How much...?」來問。

例句
  • There has been a lot of research into the causes of this disease.
  • He gave me a great deal of advice before my interview.
  • Can you give me some information about uncountable nouns?
  • He did not have much sugar left.
  • Measure 1 cup of water, 300g of flour, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • How much rice do you want?

微妙之處

有些名詞在別的語言中可數,但在英語中卻不可數,因此得遵循不可數名詞的規則。這類名詞最常見的有:
accommodation, advice, baggage, behavior, bread, furniture, information, luggage, news, progress, traffic, travel, trouble, weather, work

例句
  • I would like to give you some advice.
  • How much bread should I bring?
  • I didn't make much progress today.
  • This looks like a lot of trouble to me.
  • We did an hour of work yesterday.

要特別留意的是 hair 這個名詞,在英語中一般是不可數的,因此通常不會用複數形,只有在特指單根頭髮時才會是可數名詞。

例句
  • She has long blond hair.
  • The child's hair was curly.
  • I washed my hair yesterday.
  • My father is getting a few grey hairs now.(指的是一根根的頭髮)
  • I found a hair in my soup!(指的是單根的頭髮)