Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Do you have enough EXPERIENCE to talk about the EXPERIENCES that you have EXPERIENCED?

Many English learners have problems with countable and uncountable nouns.

Sometimes the noun 'experience' is countable and sometimes it's uncountable.

Here is a short explanation that may help you to decide when to use the countable or the uncountable noun.

The word experience is also a verb, but the information below just applies to the nouns.





Experience (noun - countable)

* something that you have done or that has happened to you
* something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through
* a particular event, action, incident or incidents that affects one or more persons.

- I had an unpleasant experience at the dentist's office.
- I enjoyed hearing about his experiences in Africa.
- It was interesting hearing about his experiences as a policeman.
- I did meet him once and it was an experience I shall never forget.
- Fighting in the war was an experience that would haunt him for the rest of his life.
- A tour of Australia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- I know from past experience that you can’t judge someone by their appearance.
- I had a really strange experience last week.


Experience (noun - uncountable/non-countable)

* the process of getting knowledge or skill or becoming familiar with something from doing, seeing, or feeling things.
* acquired knowledge from what you have done, or seen, or learnt.
* knowledge and skill that is gained through time spent doing a job or activity
* the length of time that you have spent doing something such as a particular job
* the process of doing and seeing things and of having things happen to you
* the knowledge and understanding that you get from life and from being in a lot of different situations

- You don’t need any experience to work here.
- We would like to find someone with more experience.
- She has business and teaching experience
- Some applicants have limited experience
- Some applicants have considerable/extensive experience
- The best way to learn is by experience.
- Do you have any experience working with kids? (Did you ever work with them?)
- The best way to learn is by experience. (… by doing things).
- I know from experience that Tony never keeps his promises. (Knowledge)
- I don’t think she has the experience for this job. (… Doesn’t have enough knowledge or skill)
- In my experience, people generally smile back if you smile at them. (Seeing/observing)
- The experience of pain (what pain feels like) varies from one person to another.
- Do you have any experience of working internationally? (Skill gained by doing something).
- The new job will provide you with invaluable experience.
- We need someone who has experience in marketing and sales.
- He has experience in repairing computers. (… gained by taking courses and/or doing work)


• "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes" [Oscar Wilde]
• “Experience is the best teacher”

Nov 30, 2015 3:31 PM
Comments · 2

Hi Laura... of course you are very welcome.


The two sentences are very similar and they both mean that because of the experiences you have had over a period of time you have learned something or some things... for example:

- I know from experience that there are many nice people on the italki website.
- In my experience, I have learned/seen/discovered that there are many nice people on the italki website.


I'm pleased to know that you now have a better understanding of the noun experience.

November 30, 2015

Thank you Richard. I had never thought about "the experience" as a countable/uncountable noun, I have been using it spontaneously, sometimes wrongly, I guess. So it is good to know the general rules to identify if it is countable or not.


For me, the most interesting thing are sentences, for instance:

- I know from experience that, ...

- In my experience, 

Would they mean the same? (the two sentences above)


I also like:

- Once-in-a-life time experience

- The best way to learn is by experience (doing things)


I write them down, willing to use them as soon as possible :)

November 30, 2015