Mastering Vietnamese Nouns: #1 Easy Beginner’s Guide

Vietnamese Nouns Ling App

Are you ready to take your Vietnamese grammar skills to the next level? Well, buckle up because we’re about to embark on an exciting journey through the world of Vietnamese nouns!

Whether you’re a beginner just starting or an intermediate learner looking to polish your grammar, this guide is here to help you master the art of Vietnamese nouns. From the basics of noun classification to the nuances of noun measure words, we’ve got you covered with fun examples you’ll enjoy learning from.

So grab your notebooks and prepare to become a Vietnamese noun ninja!

Understanding Vietnamese Nouns

One of the most important things to understand when learning the Vietnamese language is its noun system.

Vietnamese nouns are called “danh từ.” And they are pretty different from those in English. But mastering them is key to being able to communicate effectively.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the key features of Vietnamese nouns that will help you communicate effectively.

No Articles Or Plural Forms

Unlike in English, there are no articles like “a” or “the” in Vietnamese. Additionally, there is no distinction between singular and plural nouns. Instead, context determines whether a noun is singular or plural. For example, the word “cái” can mean “a” or “the,” depending on the context in which it is used.

Gender-Free Nouns

In Vietnamese, there are no masculine or feminine forms of nouns, meaning gender doesn’t affect how you use nouns. The learning process is so much easier this way, right?

Particle Modification

Vietnamese nouns don’t have grammatical cases like those in many other languages. Instead, words are modified with particles to indicate their role in a sentence. For example, the particle “đã” is used to indicate that a noun is the subject of a sentence, while “đến” is used to indicate that a noun is an object.


One of the unique features of Vietnamese nouns is the use of classifiers. Classifiers are words that are used to indicate the type or shape of an object. For example, the classifier “cái” is used for flat or thin objects, while “con” is used for animals.

Vietnamese Nouns Ling App animals girl holding chicken

Classifications Of Vietnamese Nouns

The Vietnamese language has its own unique grammar rules that can sometimes be a bit tricky to navigate. When learning Vietnamese, one of the first things you’ll need to know is how to identify the different types of nouns. 

You will need to learn two main types of nouns in Vietnamese: countable and uncountable. 

Let’s get started!

Countable Nouns

Countable nouns are pretty straightforward. As the name suggests, they are nouns that can be counted or quantified. These include people, animals, and objects, that can be separated into individual units. In Vietnamese, countable nouns are called “danh từ đếm được.”

When using countable nouns in Vietnamese, you must pay attention to the classifier that follows the noun. This is because, in the Vietnamese language, we use different classifiers for objects, such as long, thin, or flat.

For example, if you wanted to say “two books” in Vietnamese, the correct translation would say “hai quyển sách” with “quyển” being the classifier for books.

Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable nouns, on the other hand, are nouns that cannot be counted or quantified. In Vietnamese, uncountable nouns are called “danh từ không đếm được”.

When using uncountable nouns in Vietnamese, you won’t use a classifier like with countable nouns. Instead, you’ll need to use one measure word to indicate the amount of the uncountable noun you’re talking about. For example, if you wanted to say “a cup of water” in Vietnamese, you would say “một cốc nước” with “cốc” being the measure word for cups.

Knowing the difference between countable and uncountable nouns is crucial for effective communication in Vietnamese.

Here are key points to keep in mind:

Countable Nouns:

  • Can be counted or quantified
  • Refers to individual units
  • Uses classifiers in Vietnamese to specify the type of object

Uncountable Nouns:

  • Cannot be counted or quantified
  • Refers to substances, liquids, and abstract concepts
  • Uses measure words in Vietnamese to specify the amount of the noun
Vietnamese Nouns Ling App countable nouns kid holding pencil

Vietnamese Measure Words

Have you ever wondered why every countable noun in Vietnamese needs a measure word? Well, the answer is that nouns without their trusty measure words carry an indefinite meaning.

For instance, the noun “sách” alone doesn’t refer to a specific book but to a general notion of books. It’s like how the plural form “books” does for English speakers. However, adding the measure word “quyển” to the mix magically transforms that abstract meaning into a specific, countable instance of a book. Think of it as a way to concretize that abstract notion and give it a tangible form.

To help you get started, here are the most common measure words and the types of objects they are used with:


“Con” is a measure word used for small animals, such as “con chó” (a dog), “con mèo” (a cat), and “con chuột” (a mouse).


“Cái” is one of the most versatile measure words in Vietnamese. It can be used for most inanimate objects, including “cái bàn” (a table), “cái ghế” (a chair), and “cái áo” (a shirt).


“Chiếc” is a measure word used for vehicles and other objects with a specific shape, such as “chiếc xe hơi” (a car), “chiếc tàu” (a boat), and “chiếc cặp” (a backpack).


“Cốc” is a measure word used for cups or glasses, such as “cốc nước” (a glass of water) or “cốc trà” (a cup of tea).


“Hạt” is a measure word used for small, round objects, such as “hạt gạo” (a grain of rice), “hạt đậu” (a bean), and “hạt tiêu” (a peppercorn).


“Tờ” is a measure word used for thin, flat objects, such as “tờ giấy” (a sheet of paper), “tờ báo” (a newspaper), and “tờ rơi” (a leaflet).


“Quyển” is a measure word used for books, notebooks, and other bound objects, such as “quyển sách” (a book), “quyển vở” (a notebook), and “quyển tiền” (a checkbook).


“Cây” is used for long, stick-like objects like pens or pencils, such as cây bút (pen) or cây viết (pencil).

Remember that using the correct measure word in Vietnamese is crucial for effective communication, so make sure to study and practice using them in your conversations. With some practice, you’ll soon be able to use measure words like a pro!

Vietnamese Nouns Ling App uncountable nouns girl thinking

Articles And Demonstratives For Vietnamese Nouns

Let’s explore the unique articles and demonstratives used for Vietnamese nouns. In English, we use articles like “a,” “an,” and “the” to indicate the specificity of a noun. However, in Vietnamese, things work a little differently.

Unlike in English, Vietnamese does not use articles to indicate the specificity of a noun. This means that when you see a noun in Vietnamese, you won’t see “a,” “an,” or “the” in front of it. Instead, the specificity is often implied by the context of the sentence. No Articles? No Problem!


There is a definite article in Vietnamese, which is “cái.” This article is used to indicate a specific, known noun. For example, “cái nhà” means “the house,” whereas “cái” indicates that the noun being referred to is a specific house that the listener is familiar with.


On the other hand, the indefinite article in Vietnamese is “một,” which indicates an unspecified or general noun. For example, “một cái nhà” means “a house,” whereas “một” indicates that the noun being referred to is not specific or known.

Demonstratives To The Rescue

While Vietnamese doesn’t use articles like English does, it does have demonstratives to help indicate the specificity of a noun.

Demonstratives are words that point to a specific noun or group of nouns. In Vietnamese, there are two main types of demonstratives: này (this) and đó (that).

Này indicates something close to the speaker, while đó is used to indicate something farther away. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • This cat is sleeping. Con mèo này đang ngủ.
  • That cat is playing. Con mèo đó đang chơi.

In both of these sentences, the noun “cat” is modified by a demonstrative. By using này and đó, the speaker indicates which cat they are talking about.

Vietnamese Nouns Ling App countable nouns sleeping cat

Mastering Vietnamese Nouns

Learning Vietnamese nouns may seem daunting at first, but with practice and patience, it can become second nature. By understanding the nuances of the language’s noun system, you’ll be well on your way to mastering Vietnamese grammar and communicating effectively with native speakers.

Whether planning a trip to Vietnam or simply wanting to expand your language skills, mastering Vietnamese nouns is an important step on your language-learning journey. If you want to learn more about the Vietnamese language, check out the Ling app!

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