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Count and Non-Count Nouns (with Articles and Adjectives) Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue.

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Presentation on theme: "Count and Non-Count Nouns (with Articles and Adjectives) Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue."— Presentation transcript:

1 Count and Non-Count Nouns (with Articles and Adjectives) Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue University Online Writing Lab

2 Countable Nouns Countable nouns refer to things that we can count. Such nouns can take either singular or plural form. Concrete nouns may be countable. There are a dozen flowers in the vase. He ate an apple for a snack. Collective nouns are countable. She attended three classes today. London is home to several orchestras. Some proper nouns are countable. There are many Greeks living in New York. The Vanderbilts would throw lavish parties at their Newport summer mansion.

3 Uncountable Nouns Uncountable nouns refer to things that we cannot count. Such nouns take only singular form. Abstract nouns are uncountable. The price of freedom is constant vigilance. Her writing shows maturity and intelligence. Some concrete nouns are uncountable (when understood in their undivided sense). The price of oil has stabilized recently. May I borrow some rice? While uncountable nouns do not generally take a plural form, sometimes they may be pluralized when used in a countable sense. The difference between the uncountable and countable meanings of nouns that are used in either sense can be seen in the following chart:

4 Countable Sense Art is often called an imitation of life. Life is precious. He likes to eat pizza. Religion has been a powerful force in history. She has beautiful skin. Dr. Moulton is an expert in ancient Greek sculpture. We use only recycled paper in our office. Uncountable Sense I read a book about the folk arts of Sweden. A cat has nine lives. How many pizzas should we order? Many religions are practiced in the United States. The hull of a kayak is made of animal skins. We have several sculptures in our home. Where are those important papers?

5 Using Articles with Countable and Uncountable Nouns A countable noun always takes either the indefinite (a, an) or definite (the) article when it is singular. When plural, it takes the definite article if it refers to a definite, specific group and no article if it is used in a general sense. The guest of honor arrived late. You are welcome as a guest in our home. The guests at your party yesterday made a lot of noise. Guests are welcome here anytime. Uncountable nouns never take the indefinite article (a or an), but they do take singular verbs. The is sometimes used with uncountable nouns in the same way it is used with plural countable nouns, that is, to refer to a specific object, group, or idea. Information is a precious commodity in our computerized world. The information in your files is correct. Sugar has become more expensive recently. Please pass me the sugar.

6 Categories of Uncountable Nouns AbstractMaterialGenericNon-Plurals with - s advice help information knowledge trouble work enjoyment fun recreation relaxation meat rice bread cake coffee ice cream water oil grass hair fruit wildlife equipment machinery furniture mail luggage jewelry clothing money mathematics economics physics civics ethics mumps measles news tennis (other games)

7 Quantity Adjectives with Countable and Uncountable Nouns Both words modify either countable or uncountable nouns. There are some cookies in the jar. (countable) There is some water on the floor. (uncountable) Did you eat any food? (uncountable) Do you serve any vegetarian dishes? (countable) Some, Any Much modifies only uncountable nouns. How much money will we need? They ate so much cake that they started to feel sick. Much effort will be required to solve this problem. Many modifies only countable nouns. How many children do you have? They had so many books that they had to stack them in the hall. Many Americans travel to Europe each year. Much, Any

8 These words are informal substitutes for much and many. Lots of effort will be required to solve this problem. (uncountable) A lot of Americans travel to Europe each year. (countable) A lot of, Lots of Little and quite a little modify only uncountable nouns. We had a little ice cream after dinner. They offered little help for my problem. (meaning "only a small amount") They offered quite a little help for my problem. (meaning "a large amount") (See quite a bit of, below.) Few and quite a few modify only countable nouns. A few doctors from the hospital play on the softball team. Few restaurants in this town offer vegetarian dishes. (meaning "only a small number") Quite a few restaurants in this town offer vegetarian dishes. (meaning "a large number") Little, Quite a little, Few, Quite a few

9 These informal phrases usually precede uncountable nouns. Quite a bit of has the same meaning as quite a little and is used more commonly. There's a little bit of pepper in the soup. (meaning "a small amount") There's quite a bit of pepper in the soup. (meaning "a large amount") A little bit of, Quite a bit of This word modifies both countable and uncountable nouns. I don't have enough potatoes to make the soup. We have enough money to buy a car. Enough This term modifies both countable and uncountable nouns. There are plenty of mountains in Switzerland. She has plenty of money in the bank. Plenty of This word modifies both countable and uncountable nouns. There were no squirrels in the park today. We have no time left to finish the project. No

10 Count and Noncount Nouns Exercises Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue University Online Writing Lab

11 Count and Noncount Nouns Exercise 1 Are the following nouns count or noncount? Put an N next to the noncount nouns and a C next to the count nouns. If the noun can be either noncount or count depending on the context, put a D next to it. world textbook acid smoking poetry applause thought banana conduct progress biology essay crystal shopping

12 Exercise 2 Put an X next to the words in the following list that can be used as either count or noncount nouns, depending on the context. defense beauty garbage experience baggage rain rug nature bag emotion Exercise 3 Fill in the blank with the form of the noun in parentheses that is appropriate to the grammatical context of the sentence and the meaning of the passage as a whole. Diabetes: Beyond the Basics Because diabetes can cause devastating _________ (damage, damages) to virtually all body ________ (system, systems), people with diabetes should not underrate the seriousness of their disease. Learning to live with a chronic ________ (illness, illnesses) such as diabetes must be an ongoing process. The Hospital's Center for Family Life Education is sponsoring a five-part educational series on diabetes. The series will begin on April 30 and continue through May 29. The _________ (program, programs) will be held in the second floor classroom of the Education Center from 7-9 p.m. The diabetes series is free and open to the public and will be of specific _________ (interest, interests) to people who have diabetes and their families and friends.

13 Exercise 4 On the basis of the rules for using articles discussed in the OWL file "Count and Noncount Nouns," which combinations of words below are permitted and which ones aren't? Put an X next to the incorrect combinations. a table these person this furniture that assignment a boy the poetry a difficulty a research this eggs those argument Exercise 5 Fill in the blanks with the appropriate article if one is needed. The Computer Jungle Though you can make ____ decision on purely economic grounds, buying ____ computer is often more like joining ____ religious cult. Buy ____ Apple, for example, and almost by default you join Apple chairman Steve Jobs in his crusade against IBM. Every machine has its "users' groups" and ____ band of loyal enthusiasts who tout its merits. That makes it all ____ more difficult for ____ uninitiated to decide what machine to buy. Students have ____ huge advantage, however. The computer companies are so eager for students' business (it builds "brand loyalty") that many offer huge discounts. In the past six months, IBM, Apple, and others have brought out new computers, and ____ fierce competition has forced prices down. Also, time is on your side: next year at ____ time you'll have even more choice and more computing power and features for ____ same price. On ____ other hand, this will probably be true for many years. So for those who need or want ____ computer now, it's a great time to buy one.

14 Answers to Count and Noncount Noun Exercises Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.Purdue University Online Writing Lab

15 Count and Noncount Nouns Exercise 1 Are the following nouns count or noncount? Put an N next to the noncount nouns and a C next to the count nouns. If the noun can be either noncount or count depending on the context, put a D next to it. world C textbook C acid D smoking N poetry N applause N thought D banana C conduct N progress N biology N essay C crystal D shopping N

16 Exercise 2 Put an X next to the words in the following list that can be used as either count or noncount nouns, depending on the context. defense X beauty X garbage ___ experience X baggage ___ rain X rug ___ nature ___ bag ___ emotion X Exercise 3 Fill in the blank with the form of the noun in parentheses that is appropriate to the grammatical context of the sentence and the meaning of the passage as a whole. Diabetes: Beyond the Basics Because diabetes can cause devastating damage to virtually all body systems, people with diabetes should not underrate the seriousness of their disease. Learning to live with a chronic illness such as diabetes must be an ongoing process. The Hospital's Center for Family Life Education is sponsoring a five-part educational series on diabetes. The series will begin on April 30 and continue through May 29. The program will be held in the second floor classroom of the Education Center from 7-9 p.m. The diabetes series is free and open to the public and will be of specific interest to people who have diabetes and their families and friends.

17 Exercise 4 On the basis of the rules for using articles discussed in the OWL file "Count and Noncount Nouns," which combinations of words below are permitted and which ones aren't? Put an X next to the incorrect combinations. ____ a table X these person ____ this furniture ____ that assignment ____ a boy ____ the poetry ____ a difficulty X a research X this eggs X those argument Exercise 5 Fill in the blanks with the appropriate article if one is needed. The Computer Jungle Though you can make the decision on purely economic grounds, buying a computer is often more like joining a religious cult. Buy an Apple, for example, and almost by default you join Apple chairman Steve Jobs in his crusade against IBM. Every machine has its "users' groups" and a band of loyal enthusiasts who tout its merits. That makes it all the more difficult for the uninitiated to decide what machine to buy. Students have a huge advantage, however. The computer companies are so eager for students' business (it builds "brand loyalty") that many offer huge discounts. In the past six months, IBM, Apple, and others have brought out new computers, and the fierce competition has forced prices down. Also, time is on your side: next year at this time you'll have even more choice and more computing power and features for the same price. On the other hand, this will probably be true for many years. So for those who need or want a computer now, it's a great time to buy one.

18 The Use and Non-Use of Articles Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Graphics for this handout were produced by Michelle Hansard.Purdue University Online Writing LabMichelle Hansard

19 A and an signal that the noun modified is indefinite, referring to any member of a group. These indefinite articles are used with singular nouns when the noun is general; the corresponding indefinite quantity word some is used for plural general nouns. The rule is: * a + singular noun beginning with a consonant: a boy * an + singular noun beginning with a vowel: an elephant * a + singular noun beginning with a consonant sound: a user (sounds like 'yoo-zer,'i.e. begins with a consonant 'y' sound, so 'a' is used) * some + plural noun: some girls If the noun is modified by an adjective, the choice between a and an depends on the initial sound of the adjective that immediately follows the article: * a broken egg * an unusual problem * a European country (sounds like 'yer-o-pi-an,' i.e. begins with consonant 'y' sound) Note also that in English, the indefinite articles are used to indicate membership in a profession, nation, or religion. I am a teacher. Brian is an Irishman. Seiko is a practicing Buddhist. 1. Indefinite Articles: a and an Definition of articles English has two types of articles: definite (the) and indefinite (a, an.) The use of these articles depends mainly on whether you are referring to any member of a group, or to a specific member of a group:definiteindefinite

20 2. Definite Article: the The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is particular or specific. The signals that the noun is definite, that it refers to a particular member of a group. Compare the indefinite and definite articles in the following examples: Indefinite (a or an)Definite (the) Singulara dog (any dog) an apple (any apple) the dog (that specific dog) the apple (that specific apple) Pluralsome dogs (any dogs) some apples (any apples) the dogs (those specific dogs) the apples (those specific apples) The is not used with noncountable nouns referring to something in a general sense: [no article] Coffee is a popular drink. [no article] Japanese was his native language. [no article] Intelligence is difficult to quantify. The is used with noncountable nouns that are made more specific by a limiting modifying phrase or clause: The coffee in my cup is too hot to drink. The Japanese he speaks is often heard in the countryside. The intelligence of animals is variable but undeniable. The is also used when a noun refers to something unique: the White House the theory of relativity the 1999 federal budget Note: Geographical uses of the

21 Do not use the before: names of countries (Italy, Mexico, Bolivia) except the Netherlands and the US names of cities, towns, or states (Seoul, Manitoba, Miami) names of streets (Washington Blvd., Main St.) names of lakes and bays (Lake Titicaca, Lake Erie) except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes names of mountains (Mount Everest, Mount Fuji) except with ranges of mountains like the Andes or the Rockies or unusual names like the Matterhorn names of continents (Asia, Europe) names of islands (Easter Island, Maui, Key West) except with island chains like the Aleutians, the Hebrides, or the Canary Islands Do use the before: names of rivers, oceans and seas (the Nile, the Pacific) points on the globe (the Equator, the North Pole) geographical areas (the Middle East, the West) deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas (the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula)

22 Further Uses of Articles I stepped in a puddle. (How many puddles did you step in? Just one. Therefore, use a.) I drank a glass of milk. (Glasses of milk can be counted) I saw an apple tree. (Apple trees can be counted) In addition, use of a, an, and the also depends on whether the noun following the article possesses one of these paired qualities: Countable vs. noncountable First vs. subsequent mention General vs. specific 1. Countable vs. Noncountable A and an are used if the noun can be counted.counted

23 I dove into the water. (How many waters did you dive into? The question doesn't make any sense because water is noncountable. Therefore, use the.) I saw the milk spill. (How many milks? Milk cannot be counted) I admired the foliage. (How many foliages? Foliage cannot be counted) The must be used when the noun cannot be counted.cannot be counted 2. First vs. Subsequent Mention A, an, and the can all be used to indicate that a noun refers to the whole class to which individual countable nouns belong. This use of articles is called generic, from the Latin word meaning "class."countable nouns A tiger is a dangerous animal. (any individual tiger) The tiger is a dangerous animal. (all tigers: tiger as a generic category) The difference between the indefinite a and an and the generic a and an is that the former means any one member of a class while the latter means all of the members of a class. The omission of articles also expresses a generic (or general) meaning: * no article with a plural noun: Tigers are dangerous animals. (all tigers) * no article with a noncountable noun: Anger is a destructive emotion. (any kind of anger)

24 Omission of Articles While some nouns combine with one article or the other based on whether they are countable or noncountable, others simply never take either article. Some common types of nouns that don't take an article are: 1. Names of languages and nationalities a. Chinese b. English c. Spanish d. Russian 2. Names of sports a. volleyball b. hockey c. baseball 3. Names of academic subjects a. mathematics b. biology c. history d. computer science

25 Articles Exercise #1 Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue University Online Writing Lab Directions: Fill in the blank with the appropriate article, a, an, or the, or leave the space blank if no article is needed. 1. I want ____ apple from that basket. 2. ____ church on the corner is progressive. 3. Miss Lin speaks ____ Chinese. 4. I borrowed ____ pencil from your pile of pencils and pens. 5. One of the students said, "____ professor is late today." 6 Eli likes to play ____ volleyball. 7. I bought ____ umbrella to go out in the rain. 8. My daughter is learning to play ____ violin at her school. 9. Please give me ____ cake that is on the counter. 10. I lived on ____ Main Street when I first came to town. 11. Albany is the capital of ____ New York State. 12. My husband's family speaks ____ Polish. 13. ____ apple a day keeps the doctor away. 14. ____ ink in my pen is red. 15. Our neighbors have ____ cat and ____ dog.

26 Articles Exercise #1: Answer Key Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue University Online Writing Lab 1. I want an apple from that basket. 2. The church on the corner is progressive. 3. Miss Lin speaks Chinese. (no article needed) 4. I borrowed a pencil from your pile of pencils and pens. 5. One of the students said, "The professor is late today." 6. Eli likes to play volleyball. (no article needed) 7. I bought an umbrella to go out in the rain. 8. My daughter is learning to play the violin at her school. 9. Please give me the cake that is on the counter. 10. I lived on Main Street when I first came to town. (no article needed) 11. Albany is the capital of New York State. (no article needed) 12. My husband's family speaks Polish. (no article needed) 13. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. 14. The ink in my pen is red. 15. Our neighbors have a cat and a dog.

27 Articles Exercise #2 Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue University Online Writing Lab Directions: Write the following paragraphs, inserting a, an, and the where needed. 1. I have horse of my own. I call her Pretty Girl. She is intelligent animal, but she is not thoroughbred horse. I could never enter her in race, even if I wanted to. But I do not want to. She is companion, for my own pleasure. I took her swimming day or two ago. 2. Horse knows when he is going to race. How does he know? His breakfast was scanty. (He is angry about that.) He does not have saddle on his back. He is being led,not ridden, to grandstand. He is led under grandstand into unusual, special stall.Horse is nervous. Sometimes he does not know what to do when starting gate flies open and track is before him. If he does not begin to run instantly, other horses are already ahead of him. During race, when he sees another horse just ahead of him, he will try to pass him. Sometimes jockey holds him back to save his energy for last stretch. Eventually horse gets to run as fast as he can. Exercise boy, watching owner's favorite jockey riding horse he has exercised day after day, says nothing. Secretly, he is planning for day when he will be jockey himself, and his horse will be first to cross finish line. 3. Most people have fewer hours to give to time-consuming activities of clubs than they used to have, but most people in small town belong to club or two. One of clubs is likely to be social and benevolent organization, such as Rotary or Elks. Business people are likely to belong, also to either Kiwanis Club or Lions. Such business people's organizations may meet as often as once a week in one of private dining rooms of town's leading hotel for lunch. They have good lunch, hear good program,and continue their fundraising program for worthy organization, such as local hospital.

28 Articles Exercise #2 Answer Key: Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing LabPurdue University Online Writing Lab 1. I have a horse of my own. I call her Pretty Girl. She is an intelligent animal, but she is not a thoroughbred horse. I could never enter her in a race, even if I wanted to. But I do not want to. She is a companion, for my own pleasure. I took her swimming a day or two ago. 2. A horse knows when he is going to race. How does he know? His breakfast was scanty. (He is angry about that.) He does not have a saddle on his back. He is being led, not ridden, to the grandstand. He is led under the grandstand into an unusual, special stall. The horse is nervous. Sometimes he does not know what to do when the starting gate flies open and the track is before him. If he does not begin to run instantly, other horses are already ahead of him. During the race, when he sees another horse just ahead of him, he will try to pass him. Sometimes the jockey holds him back to save his energy for the last stretch. Eventually the horse gets to run as fast as he can. The exercise boy, watching the owner's favorite jockey riding the horse he has exercised day after day, says nothing. Secretly, he is planning for the day when he will be a jockey himself, and his horse will be the first to cross the finish line. 3. Most working people have fewer hours to give to time-consuming activities of clubs than they used to have, but most people in a small town belong to a club or two. One of the clubs is likely to be a social and benevolent organization, such as the Rotary or Elks. Business people are likely to belong, also to either the Kiwanis Club or the Lions. Such business people's organizations may meet as often as once a week in one of the private dining rooms of the town's leading hotel for lunch. They have a good lunch, hear a good program, and continue their fundraising program for a worthy organization, such as a local hospital.


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