About Me

My Photo
Har Wai Li
kampar, ipoh, Malaysia
Personal Information Full Name: Har Wai Li Web Site / Blog: waili3000.blogspot.com Work Information: teacher Email harwaii@yahoo.com waili3000@yahoo.com My no matrik: D20102044845
View my complete profile

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Nouns - Countables and uncountables

Singular and plural
There are countable and uncountable nouns in English.

Countable nouns:

Most of the nouns are countable. You can combine them with numbers, e.g one, two or three. Here is an example:
one pencil
two pencils
three pencils

Uncountable nouns:

These nouns can't be combined with numbers. Here is an example:
If you want to express a quantity, you have to use a special phrase e.g. a glass of water.
Some nouns can be either countable or uncountable. We recommend to use a good dictionary. Here is an example, too. hair - hairs
You've got some hairs on your T-shirt. (There might be 5 or 6 of them.)
Your hair looks lovely. (Here you think of the hairstyle.)

Foreign plurals

Singular and plural
These nouns have irregular plural forms. They often make their plurals according to the rules of the language they were taken from (e.g. Latin or Greek). Sometimes there is more than one plural form possible or these forms have different meanings. Always use a good dictionary when using foreign plurals. Here are some examples.
singular plural
analysis analyses
appendix appendixes/appendices
axis axes
basis bases
cactus cactuses/cacti
criterion criteria
datum data
diagnosis diagnoses
index indexes/indices
medium mediums/media
oasis oases
octopus octopuses/octopi
phenomenon phenomena
syllabus syllabuses/syllabi
thesis theses

Nouns - Gender

In English he or she is used for people and it for things. But there are some exeptions.
male (masculine) female (feminine)
brother sister
nephew niece
boyfriend girlfriend
actor actress
waiter waitress
There are nouns which have the same form for masculine and feminine, e.g. cousin, doctor, singer, student, teacher.
An extra word identifies the gender - boyfriend/girlfriend.
The ending -ess indicates a female person - waiter/waitress.
1) Animals
If you know the gender of an animal, you can use he/she for it.
Where is the cat? She is in the garden.
2) Ships, cars, countries
For ships, cars and countries (when referred to by name) the feminine form is sometimes used, but this is rather obsolete. There is a tendency to use it instead of she.

The Titanic was a great ship, but she hit an iceberg and sank.

Plural in English

Singular and plural
singular plural
a car two cars
a cassette two cassettes
a lamp two lamps
a hat two hats
a cup two cups
Add -es after sibilants:
singular plural
a box two boxes
a sandwich two sandwiches
a suitcase two suitcases
a rose two roses
a garage two garages

Substitute y after consonant with -ies:
singular plural
a city two cities
a lady two ladies
Add -s after vowel + y:
singular plural
a boy two boys
a day two days
There are two forms of the plural of the word penny:
pennies -> You refer to the coins.
pence -> You refer to the price (how much sth. is).

Nouns on -f or -fe:
add -s substitute with -ves
singular plural singular plural
a roof two roofs a thief two thieves
a cliff two cliffs a wife two wives
a sheriff two sheriffs a shelf two shelves
There are two forms possible:
scarf - scarfs/scarves
hoof - hoofs/hooves
Add -s for words ending in -ff.
Always use a dictionary if you are not sure.

Nouns on -o form the plural by adding -s or -es.
add -s substitute with -ves
singular plural singular plural
a disco two discos a tomato two tomatoes
a piano two pianos a potato two potatoes
a photo two photos a hero two heroes
Some nouns can have two plural forms:
buffalo - buffalos/buffaloes
mosquito - mosquitos/mosquitoes
tornado - tornados/tornadoes
There is no rule when to use -s or -es. We often add -s with technical words.

Irregular plural forms:
singular plural
a man two men
a woman two women
a child two children
a mouse two mice
a tooth two teeth
a goose two geese
a foot two feet
an ox two oxen

Proper names (or nouns) in English

Proper names (or nouns) are capitalized in English. Here are some examples:
days of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
months: January, February, March
names of companies: Amazon, Coca Cola, Google
countries, towns: England, Canada, San Francisco
sights: The Grand Canyon, The Empire State Buildung, The Underground
books, films, prizes: the Bible, the Oscar, the Nobel Prize
names of people: Tim Smith, Jennie Baker, Theodore Roosevelt
famous people: Aristotle, Napoleon, Shakespeare.

Singular nouns in English

Singular and plural
In English there are nouns which are used only in the singular.

noun sentence
furniture She bought new furniture last week.
fruit Would you like some fruit?
hair* Your hair looks lovely.
* see countable and uncountable nouns
more nouns: luggage, jewellry

noun sentence
news Good evening. Here is the news.
physics Physics is our first lesson on Monday morning.
progress Progress was made in developing new technologies.
The United States The United States is a country with 50 federal states.
more nouns: athletics, billards, crossroads, darts, economics, gymnastics, maths, mumps, politics, series

noun sentence
homework My Maths homework was not easy.
information For further information on the hotel, phone us at ....
knowledge His knowledge of English is excellent.
more nouns: advice, damage, work.

Singular or plural for groups of people

Singular and plural
Which phrase is correct - the class was or the class were? Is the word class a singular noun or a plural noun? This question cannot be answered with Yes or No. Use the singular if you see the class as a group of students. Use the plural if you see the class as single students.
In British English the plural is used more often than in American English.

sentence explanation
The family is on holiday. I see the family as a group.
The family are packing their suitcases. I see the single members of the family packing their suitcases.

sentence explanation
Class 9 was terribly loud today. I see class 9 as a group.
Class 9 were terribly loud today. I see the single members of class 9. Everybody was loud. I could also say: The kids in class 9 were terribly loud.
There are more words which can be singular or plural nouns:
army, band, choir, club, crew, company, firm, gang, government, orchestra, party, staff, team.

's - Apostrophe, genitive -s

English: German:
Ronny's brother Ronnys Bruder and
Ronny's Bruder (since spelling reform)


Add 's:
Mandy's brother John plays football.
My teacher's name is ...


Add the apostrophe ' to regular plural forms:
The girls' room is very nice.
The Smiths' car is black.
Add 's to irregular plural forms:
The children's books are over there.
Men's clothes are on the third floor.
If there are multiple nouns, add an 's only to the last noun:
Peter and John's mother is a teacher.

Genitive -s or of-phrase

genitive-s of-phrase
mostly for people mostly for things
Ronny's brother the name of the school
If things have a connection to people we use the s-genitive (possessive) as well.
Germany's economy or the ecomony of Germany
In time expressions we also use 's.
a three week's holiday.