I was in a diner the other day with my friend Ken. After lunch the waiter asked if we wanted anything else, and we had the following conversation:
Waiter: Can I get you something else?
Michael: Yeah, can we have two coffees please?
Waiter: Sure thing.
Ken: Oh, and can we have two waters as well?
Waiter: Yes, of course
As you know, English has two kinds of nouns, countable and non-countable. Countable nouns are things we can count, such as pens, dogs, iPads, etc. Countable nouns have a plural form → 1 pen, 2 pens. 1 dog, 5 dogs.
Non-countable nouns are things we cannot count. Some examples are liquids, like water and coffee, furniture, and luggage. Remember, non-countable nouns do not have a plural form.
There is an exception to this rule. Have a look at the conversation above once more and then check the rest of the lesson:
Normally, coffee and water are not countable. When we want to count liquids, we count based on the container:
- Can I have two cups of coffee.
- I drank five bottles of water today.
There is once exception to this rule. When you are in a restaurant, coffee shop, etc., you can order drinks without the container as in the conversation above:
- Can we have two coffees please? “Two coffees” means two cups of coffee.
- Can we have two waters as well? “Two waters” means two glasses of water.
This way of speaking is used when you are ordering and talking to the waiter, waitress, or staff at a café, etc. The next time you are out to eat, why not try using these sentences. Thanks for studying with me today.