One! One Blog Post!
Monday, August 22, 2011 Grammar and Mechanics
By Jessica Barron, Writing Consultant
I never much cared for The Count on Sesame Street. He was not as furry as Snuffleupagus, and his dark lair was a bit frightening for me to comfortably learn numbers. I chose a career path that would lead me into words and writing, and never did I think that the lessons of The Count would be needed in that field. That was, of course, until I learned of count and noncount nouns.
The quick definition of a count noun is a word that can be divided into or counted in units, like one apple or seven puppies. These nouns have both singular and plural forms, and these two forms make it relatively easy for a writer to spot any noun/pronoun agreement or subject/verb agreement issues. However, where a writer can easily change a plural pronoun to a singular one to align with a subject, it can be more difficult to spot any noncount nouns that are used improperly.
Noncount nouns are not categorized as singular or plural; instead, they exist in the singular form. An example of a noncount noun that Walden students often use is evidence. Rather than make this subject plural, like The Count yelling “Two! Two evidences!” during his segment, the writer would refer to the singular form or precede the term with a unit of measurement:
Jones collected evidence that was based on previous research.
Smith found two pieces of evidence to use in the study.
Other noncount nouns that you might encounter during scholarship are fields of study, like education, or groups of similar items, like faculty. Review our Grammar page for more examples of noncount nouns and how to use them in context.
Also, if you’re wondering how another Sesame Street character, Cookie Monster, relates to grammar rules, see this previous grammar post.