Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Count Noun

Definition: 

A count noun is a noun whose possible referents are thought of as separate entities.

It thus has the ability:

  • to take a plural form
  • to occur with distinctive determiners (such as a/an, many), and

  • to occur with cardinal numerals.

It does not have the ability, however, to occur with a determiner such as much.

Discussion: 

Some nouns permit treatment as either count or mass nouns.

For example, in English, salad may be treated as either a count or mass noun, as evidenced by the acceptability of the following expressions:

  • Many salads
  • Much salad
Examples: 

(English)

The word farmer is an example of a count noun, as evidenced by the acceptability of the following expressions:

  • Farmer
  • Farmers
  • A farmer
  • Many farmers
  • Two farmers

However, the expression much farmer is not acceptable.