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Published byDelilah Watson Modified over 8 years ago
countable and uncountable nouns
most nouns add -s to form the plural there are irregular nouns like man / men, knife / knives, life / lives, loaf / loaves, person / people, child / children, mouse / mice some nouns like sheep, fish, aircraft do not normally add plural –s some nouns are always plural and have no singular form: clothes (cloth is a material), belongings, congratulations, goods, stairs, surroundings, thanks
many nouns are uncountable, and do not have plural -s, or have a different meaning when countable or uncountable. Uncountable nouns normally use a singular verb. countabletreesuncountableelectricity countablewoods (small forests)uncountablewood (material)
many nouns have an uncountable general meaning, and a countable particular meaning which can have plural –s general Few people are in favour of war. Particular There have been several wars between the two countries.
most uncountable nouns are things which we clearly cannot count. We use zero article, or some. Gas, liquid, material airwaterironpaper Grains etc.ricesugarflourcoffee Abstract ideashealthtimefunpeace Feelingsangerpitycourageboredom Activitiestravelworkresearchbehaviour
Other common nouns which do not normally have plural -s, and use a singular verb: accommodation, advice, cash, clothing, equipment, experience, furniture, hair, information, knowledge, luggage, money, rubbish, scenery, traffic, weather, work
note changes of meaning when uncountable nouns are used as countables with a / an and can have plurals: The doctor had many years of experience. (knowledge of life) Helen had a bad experience at her last school. (something that happens to you) Many people here are looking for work. (jobs) This is a work of 1926. (a work of art: a painting etc) Can you buy a paper? (a newspaper) We had a good time last night. (when you do something) There’s a hair in my soup! (a single one)
Other countables with specific meaning: an iron an object used to make clothes smooth a coffee, a beer etc a cup or glass etc of a liquid
some uncountable nouns have a different countable word bread - a loaf money - a note, a coin travel - a journey, a trip luggage - a bag, a case work - a job accommodation - a room, a flat etc
many uncountable nouns have a scientific or technical use in countable form. Always use your dictionary to check which meaning is being used. Sugars are also classified by the number of carbons they contain.
singular nouns ending in -s plural Some nouns end in a plural-s but have no singular, and have a singular verb. the news mains electricity mathematics / physics / economics
a There are more than a thousand sheep / sheeps on this farm. b Please accept my thank / thanks for your beautiful present. c Helen is the only person / people I know with three cars. d There are two knife / knives in the top drawer. e Alan hurt his leg when he fell down the stair / stairs.
f Kate decided to change her style and bought new cloth / clothes. g Paul found his belonging / belongings outside in the street. h Would you like to try a chocolate mouse / mice? i World Airways has bought 20 new aircraft/ aircrafts· j We have already sent the good / goods you ordered.
Answers… a sheep b thanks c person d knives e stairs f clothes g belongings h mouse i aircraft j goods
a Martin had some very strange ___when he stayed in the old castle. A experience B experiences b I've always enjoyed __, which is why I have worked abroad a lot. A travel B journey c The teacher was upset at the children's __. A behaviour B behaviours d Some people think that if they don't eat __, they will lose weight. A bread B loaf e The computer printer has run out of __. A paper B papers f In this part of the country, it isn't easy to find a __. A work B job g Can you take my __upstairs, please? A luggage B luggages h Kate is earning a lot of __in her new job. A money B moneys
Answers… aB bA cA dA eA f B gA hA
Complete the sentence with a singular or a plural form of be. a The news __on Channel Five at nine o'clock. b These loaves __ really fresh. c I think that maths__ the most difficult subject. d The coffees you ordered__ on the table over there. e The works of Shakespeare__ still popular. f Everyone says that money__ hard to come by these days. g The people I know__ all on holiday at the moment. h The traffic__really terrible this evening.
Answers.. a is b are c is d are e are f is g are h is
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