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Countable and uncountable nouns - DOC

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					                 Countable and uncountable nouns / The use of the Indefinite Article a/an

                       Countable                                                              Uncountable
 I eat a banana every day.                                          I eat rice every day.
I like bananas.                                                     I like rice.
Countable nouns can be singular or plural. So we can use numbers    An uncountable noun has only one form (rice)
with countable nouns. “one banana, two bananas.”                    We cannot use numbers with uncountable nouns. We cannot say
                                                                    ”one rice”, etc.

Kate was singing a song.                                            Kate was listening to (some) music.
There’s a nice beach near here.                                     There’s sand in my shoes.
Do you have a ten-pound note?                                       Do you have any money?
It wasn’t your fault. It was an accident.                           It wasn’t your fault. It was bad luck.
There are no batteries in the radio.                                There is no electricity in this house.
We haven’t got enough cups.                                         We haven’t got enough water.

We can use a/an with countable nouns:                               We cannot normally use a/an with uncountable nouns. We do not
A beach, a student, an umbrella                                     say “a sand, a music”
                                                                    But we can use a … of
                                                                    For example. a bowl / a packet / a grain of rice.

We cannot use singular countable nouns alone. (without a/the/my     We can use uncountable nouns alone (without the/ my / some etc.
etc.)                                                               I eat rice every day.
I want a banana. NOT I want banana.                                 There’s blood on your shirt.
We can use plural countable nouns alone.
                                                                    Can you hear music?
I like bananas. (=bananas in general)


We can use some and any with plural countable nouns:                We can use some and any with uncountable nouns:
We sang some songs.                                                 We listened to some music.
Did you buy any apples?                                             Did you buy any apple juice?
We use many and few with plural countable nouns.                    We use much and little with uncountable nouns.
We didn’t take many photographs.                                    We didn’t do much shopping.
I have a few things to do.                                          I have a little work to do.
Do not use some when you are talking about things in
general.
I love bananas. She writes books.
Many nouns can be used as countable or uncountable nouns, usually with a difference in meaning:

Did you hear a noise just now? (a specific noise)         I can’t work here. There’s too much noise.
I bought a paper to read. (a newspaper)                    I need some paper to write on.
There’s a hair in my soup. (one singular hair)            You’ve got very long hair.
You can stay with us. There’s a spare room.               You can’t sit here. There isn’t room.
I had some interesting experiences while I was traveling. They offered me a job because I had a lot of experience.
(Things that happened to me)                               (not experiences)
Enjoy your trip. Have a good time!                        I can’t wait. I haven’t got time.

                                                                    NB! Coffee/tea/beer (drinks) are normally uncountable:
                                                                    I don’t like coffee very much.
                                                                    But we can say a coffee =a cup of coffee), two coffees..
                                                                    Two coffees and an orange juice, please.
The following nouns are usually uncountable: accommodation, behaviour, damage, luck, permission, traffic,
advice, bread, furniture, luggage, progress, weather, baggage, chaos, information, news, scenery, work.

Don’t use a/an with these nouns.
These nouns are not usually plural. (Let me know if you need more information. ) NOT informations
News is uncountable, not plural. (The news was very depressing)

Countable                                                Uncountable
I’m looking for a job.                                   I’m looking for work.
What a beautiful view!                                   What beautiful scenery!
It’s a nice day today.                                   It’s nice weather today.
We had a lot of bags and cases.                          We had a lot of baggage/luggage.
These chairs are mine.                                   This furniture is mine.
That’s a good suggestion.                                That’s good advice.

1. We use a/an ..to say what kind of thing or person       a) Uncountable nouns include:
something/somebody is:                                              1. many types of food: flour, yoghurt, butter,
                                                                        meat, ….
That’s a nice table. (singular)                                     2. liquids: coffee, lemonade, oil, petrol, wine,
Those are nice chairs. (plural, the noun is alone)                      water, ….
                                                                    3. materials: crystal, wood, plastic, silver,
A dog is an animal.          Dogs are animals.                          china, glass,….
I’m an optimist.             We are optimists.                      4. abstract nouns: knowledge, beauty, justice,
Tom’s father is a doctor.    My friends are students.                   help, freedom, education, love, …
Are you a good driver?        Are they good students?               5. others: research, luggage, baggage, hair,
Jill is a nice person.       Jill’s parents are nice                    weather, behaviour, advice, news,
                                              people.                   accommodation, information, fun,
What a lovely dress!         What awful shoes!                          equipment, litter, rubbish, furniture,
                                                                        crockery, cutlery, jewellery, machinery,
2. Remember to use a/an when you say what                               money,….
somebody’s job is.                                         b) We use the following nouns with uncountable nouns
Sandra is a nurse.                                         to show quantity:
Would you like to be an English teacher?                   a piece of cake; a glass/bottle of water; a rasher of bacon;
                                                           a packet of rice; a loaf of bread; a pot of yoghurt; a cup
3. We use a/an when we talk about something for the        of tea; a kilo of meat; a tube of toothpaste; a can of soda;
first time.                                                a carton of milk; a bowl of sugar, …
I had a sandwich and an apple.
The sandwich wasn’t very good, but the apple was nice.
We say:
once a week /three times a day /
How often you go to the cinema? About once a month.
How much are the potatoes? £1.50 a kilo.
Helen works eight hours a day, six days a week.

				
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