According to the Oxford dictionary, the word noise can be considered countable or non-countable when it means "a sound, especially when it is loud, unpleasant or disturbing". But it doesn't provide any more insights as to when it is countable or non-countable. Although there are some example sentences, it is very difficult to figure it out from them.

So I'm not sure whether noise is in its correct form in the sentences below.

The wooden queen-size bed always produces noise when we lie down on it. We had not noticed this issue until we moved in. Despite I am very careful when I turn my body from one side to another, it is still rather noisy and my wife always complains of the annoying noises.

It's quite difficult to distinguish it from its meaning as it is the same. What is the insight?

  • It doesn't make much sense for the dictionary to say a word is countable and uncountable without saying in which context is uncountable. If noises is used as Jim says, then I would not consider noise uncountable.
    – apaderno
    Apr 28, 2013 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


A bunch of individual noises (a cow mooing, a dog barking, a bird singing) when occurring at the same time, can be considered collectively to be just noise.

I would only talk about noises when you mean to make a distinction between them either in time or by source.

You were making a lot of noises in your sleep last night.

This means at multiple times during the night you made some noise.

You were making a lot of noise in your sleep last night.

This would more likely be interpreted as you making noise in a more continuous way throughout the night.

I can't think with all this noise.

Here noise means the sum of all noises being heard. (The lawnmower, the traffic, the dog, the television, the neighbors, etc.)

I would rewrite your sentences:

The queen-size wooden bed always makes noise when we lie down on it. We had not noticed this issue until we moved in. Even when I am very careful as I turn over in bed, the noise still annoys my wife and she always complains about it.

  • Thanks. Is it uncountable in the example "a lot of noise" or the last one(sum)?
    – canoe
    Apr 28, 2013 at 0:51
  • Yes, I'd call that a non-count noun; It's behaves like "a lot of milk" or "a lot of money"
    – Jim
    Apr 28, 2013 at 6:18

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