Is money a countable noun?

We had a little/few money left, so we decided to have a meal in a cheap restaurant so that it costs us a few rupees.

Here rupees is the currency of India.

I wonder few rupees make sense. But why we can't use few money here?

  • Dough isn't countable. Same as money. Sep 28, 2021 at 15:34

3 Answers 3


Whether money is a count or a noun-count noun depends on the context. Most of the time, it's a collective singular noun that never takes a plural. When talking about different sources of revenue, however, the plural form, monies, as can be seen in these links to examples of "the monies" in Google Books and to this Google Ngram showing that the plural form has been used for more than 200 years, but less so today than in the early 1800s.

Here's an example of the plural: "And the Monies mentioned in each such Debenture, with the Interest thereon, shall be charged upon and repayable and paid by the said Commissioners out of the Monies which shall come to their Hands under the final Award to be made by... (page 34)"

Your example sentence should be:

We had (only a) little money left, so we decided to have a meal in a cheap restaurant because that would cost us just a few rupees.


Indians don't speak pure English most of the time. They speak Hinglish or Marathi-English or other such variant, so they tend to use the original language's grammar constructs while speaking English.
I have experienced this first-hand as I am also Indian (coincidentally, my father's name is also Sudhir).

'We had few money left' is an example of Hindi-converted English (Hamare paas thode paise the). It's not a legal English sentence. The correct sentence would be 'We had some money left' or 'We had a little money left'.

Few rupees doesn't make sense either, as the meaning of 'few' in itself is taken as a negative, that is something like 'Few people have ever attempted this task'. 'A few rupees' would be better.

  • Which would be the best at the beginning of the sentence, little or a little? (Also, why is few bad for few rupees? Few means not many which is why it has a negative meaning. Didn't they want to eat in a cheap restaurant to it cost the not many rupees?). Otherwise, nice answer. Apr 13, 2016 at 8:47
  • @Araucaria The problem with 'little' or 'few' in English is that it doesn't mean 'small but not zero', it means 'zero'. This is difficult for non-natives to understand. The sentence with 'Few' in the last line is an example of that. 'We had little money left' is same as no money left(taken as so little money that it's negligible)
    – cst1992
    Apr 13, 2016 at 8:52
  • The correct sentence in the question should be 'We had a little money left, so we decided to have a meal in a cheap restaurant which cost us a few rupees'. Just 'few' is not appropriate, as money is a countable quantity. 'Not many' will be the same as 'a few' in meaning(yes, I know, English is unusual).
    – cst1992
    Apr 13, 2016 at 8:54
  • @cst1992 I don't think that right. It should be we had little money left. The reason is that it means "We did not have much money left ..." :-) Apr 13, 2016 at 8:57

Money is an uncountable noun, so use little/much with it.

Rupees are countable, so use few/many with them.

By the way, you can you a lot of and lots of with both "money" and "rupees".

  • 1
    I would say that money is countable if you're using it as a synonym of currency. "There are dozens of different monies stored in the vault." is perfectly valid, even if perhaps not as commonly used.
    – corsiKa
    Oct 1, 2014 at 22:40
  • @corsiKa I've never seen it used that way. If it contained Dollars, Pounds and Lilliputian Nanoshekels I'd say "kinds/types of money" or just "currencies".
    – user24381
    Sep 18, 2015 at 18:03
  • @blokedown - There's a good post about the word monies here, which says, "The word is used in some special circumstances and isn't often used in casual speech. It is a word that would be used by investors, bankers, accountants, etc. to refer to different kinds of money." Some quotes from finance articles seem to back that assertion, such as, "Argentina had fifteen different monies in circulation," found in a paper by George T. McCandless, entitled Argentina: Monetary Policy by Default.
    – J.R.
    Sep 18, 2015 at 21:03

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