Countable Nouns and Uncountable Nouns

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  • Topic: Grammatical number, Measure word, Collective noun
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Countable and Uncountable Nouns
* Nouns can be countable or uncountable.
* Countable nouns are the names of separate objects, people, etc. which we can count; they have singular and plural forms. e.g., one book two booksa mansome men
* Uncountable nouns are the names of things which we do not see as separate, and which we cannot count; they do not have plural forms. e.g., milkriceweather
* Countable Nouns can take singular or plural verbs
This book is expensive.These books are expensive.
That man lives next door.Those men live next door.
* Uncountable nouns always take singular verbs.
Milk is good for you.
The weather was very good yesterday.
* Before countable nouns, we can use a/an and numbers.
e.g., a manone booktwo books
* We do not use normally use a/an or a number directly before uncountable nouns. e.g., we do not say a weather, two weather, etc.
But we sometimes use a/an and numbers with e.g., coffee, tea, beer, etc. when we order these things by the cup or glass in a restaurant. e.g., Excuse me. Could we have two coffees and a tea, please? (two cups of coffee and a cup of tea) * We use a before consonant sounds e.g. a book, a man

* We use an before vowel sounds e.g. an apple, an egg

Uncountable| Countable|
Accommodation| A place to live/stay|
Advice| A piece of advice|
Bread| A loaf/slice/piece (of bread) a (bread) roll|
Furniture| A piece of furniture|
Information| A piece of information|
Luggage| A piece of luggage; a suitcase/ bag|
Money| A note/coin; a sum (of money)|
News| A piece of news|
Traffic| A car/bus etc.|
Travel| A journey/trip|
Work| A job; piece of work|

Exercise
1. I’d like some (information/informations) about hotels in London. 2. Sue is the woman with blonde (hair/hairs) who lives opposite. 3. Did you have a good (travel/journey) from Switzerland? 4. I’ve got a problem and I’d like some (advice/advices). 5. Don’t forget to buy (a bread/some bread) when you go shopping. 6. I’d like to find out what’s on TV this evening. Have you got (a paper/some paper)? 7. There (is/are) usually a lot of (traffic/traffics) in the city this time of the day. 8. He’s trying to find a (work/job) at the moment, but there (isn’t/aren’t) much (work/works) available. 9. (Is/Are) good (accommodation/accommodations) difficult to find in the city center?

Articles: a/an and the
Use of a/an
* We use a/an before singular countable nouns.
a studenta bookan idea
* We do not use a/an before plural countable nouns.
E.g., we cannot say a students or an ideas.
* We do not normally use a/an before uncountable nouns.
E.g., we cannot say a water or a music.
* We do not use singular countable nouns alone, without a/an, the, my, this, etc. I am a student. (Not I am student.)
* We use a/an when the listener or reader does not know exactly which person or thing we mean. There is a book on the table. (We do not know which book.)
He met a girl last night. She works in a bank. (We don’t know which girl, or which bank.) * We use a/an when we say someone or something is.
I’m an architect.He’s a vegetarian.It was a good film. Use of the
* We use the with singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns, and uncountable nouns. the manthe shoesthe water
* We use the when the listener or reader knows exactly which person or thing we mean: * We use the to talk about people and things that we have already mentioned. I met a girl and a boy. I didn’t like the boy much, but the girl was very nice. My father bought a shirt and some shoes. The shoes were quite expensive. * We use the when we say which people or things we mean.

Who is the man over there talking to sue?
* We use the when it is clear from the situation which people or things we mean. ‘Where’s Simon?’‘He’s in the bathroom.’ (= the bathroom in this house) Are you hot? I’ll open the window. (= the widow in...
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