English Lesson: Time; Countable & Uncountable!

Michael Confusing Words, Grammar Leave a Comment

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I have a little free time today, so I am going to head into Manhattan and visit the Metropolitan Museum. The MET is very big, and if you want to see everything, you’ll need a lot of time. I love this museum and I have been there many times. The last time I went there was over the summer. It was nice and cool!

Today I want to talk about the word time. As we said last week, there are two kinds of nouns in English, countable and uncountable. Nouns like pen, book, and banana are countable because we can count pens, books, and bananas using numbers. Nouns like water, love, and sand are not countable. The noun time has both a countable and an uncountable form.

Time #1  – “Clock Time”  –  Uncountable.

Time is represented on a clock. There are numbers on a clock, and we can look at time passing. A clock shows us hours and minutes, and we can count these. However, when the word time is used in this way, we cannot count it and there is no plural form. We can count elements of time, such as hours, minutes, days, weeks months, and years, but we cannot count the word time itself. The examples below show this use of time:

  • My trip to Boston took five hours. Not, My trip to Boston took five times.
  • It took an extra thirty minutes to get home yesterday.
  • I have a little free time today.
  • If you want to see everything, you’ll need a lot of time.
  • I don’t have too much time these days.

Time #2  – “Experience Time” – Countable.

Time can be countable when we use the word to mean experience. Just as you can count experiences, you can count the times you have done something. The examples below show this use of time:

  • I have been there many times.
  • The last time I went there was over the summer.
  • Yalcin has been sailing with me a few times.
  • We have met two times before.

So when time means experience, then we can count it. Otherwise, time is uncountable. I hope you had a nice time (experience) here today. If you have more time (clock time), please check my other lessons!
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