I was always told that the use of many/few/fewer is for countable nouns and the use of much/little/less is for uncountable nouns. But what happens if I want to use other words to specify quantity? Can I use every other word for countable and uncountable nouns indiscriminately? If that's not the case, is there any resource where I can see which words are for countables and which for uncountables?

Examples of what I mean by ‘other words’: a lot of, Thesaurus:abundant, Thesaurus:excessive, Thesaurus:moderate, Thesaurus:lack, Thesaurus:fewness.

  • I'm not submitting this as an actual answer as I'm unsure, but for the sake of discussion: I would assume "fewness", having a root of "few", would also apply only to countable nouns. The rest can certainly be used with both countable and uncountable nouns, though some require additional words for both: "moderate amount of" and "lack of" in particular. "Lack" is a noun meaning "absence" or verb meaning "to be without", not an adjective; and "moderate" on its own is a measure of degree, not amount nor number. Aug 3, 2023 at 20:40
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    The resource you are looking for is a dictionary. It will tell you if an adjective of quantity is for countable or non-count nouns.
    – Astralbee
    Aug 3, 2023 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


Unless you know that an adjective or determiner is specific to countable or uncountable nouns, you can assume that it may be used for both. Specfically, you can say

We have abundant strawberries! (countable)

We have abundant cheese! (uncountable)

The use of much/many and little/few is part of "school grammar". That is the grammar rules that you learn at school rather than the grammar rules you acquire intuitively. As such it is the kind of grammar rule that native speakers break all the time!

Dictionaries will warn you about such issues. See, for example, the Wiktionary page for "few". If no warning appears, and the meaning of the word (as confirmed by the dictionary) doesn't mean "a large number", then you may assume that the word can be used for both countable and uncountable nouns.

I would consider this part of semantic consistency, rather than a grammar rule.

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