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How much ....? = uncountable nouns For example: How much coffee do you drink? How many ....? = countable nouns For example: How many cups of coffee do you drink? How much? How many? Countable Nouns In We use how many with plural questions: countable nouns:"How many newspapers do you read every day?" Uncountable Nouns We use how much with uncountable nouns:"How much paper is in the printer?" "How much money have you "How many Euros have you got?" got?"

Revise It - How much and How many in Lesson 36

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Some, Any Countable Uncountable people. money. cups. traffic. books. paper. There are some newspapers. There is some time. chairs. coffee. shoes. food. Euros.

Countable We can use some in positive Statements: sentences with plural countable nouns:Positive: I read some books.

Uncountable We can use some in positive sentences with uncountable nouns:I would like some coffee.

Countable There aren't any people. cups. books.

Uncountable There isn't any money. traffic. paper.

newspapers. chairs. shoes. Euros.

time. coffee. food.

We can use any in negative Statement: sentences with plural countable nouns:Negative: I don't read any books.

We can use any in negative sentences with uncountable nouns:I don't want any coffee.

Countable Uncountable people? money? cups? traffic? books? paper? Are(n't) there any newspapers? Is(n't) there any time? chairs? coffee? shoes? food? Euros?

We can use any in questions with plural countable nouns:Positive Q: Are there any books? Negative Aren't there any books? Q: Questions:

We can use any in questions with plural uncountable nouns:Do you need any coffee? Don't you need any coffee?

!Note!

When you expect the answer to be "Yes." to an offer or polite request, you can ask a question using some. Countable Uncountable Can I have some books, please? Would you like some coffee? Question: A few, A little people cups books newspapers There is a little chairs shoes Euros money traffic paper time coffee food

There are a few

Countable Statements: Positive: "I meet a few people every day." "I only have a few Euros." Many, Much people cups books newspapers chairs shoes

Uncountable "There is a little paper in the printer." "I only have a little money."

There aren't many

There isn't much

money traffic paper time coffee food

Countable Statements: Negative: I don't read many books. Questions: Positive Q: Are there many books? Negative Aren't there many books? Q:

Uncountable I don't drink much coffee. Do you need much coffee? Don't you need much coffee?

Uncountable Nouns

A lot of food is made up of uncountable nouns, to make them countable you need to put them in another form. For example:"A ...... of ......".="A piece of fruit." Here is a list of some of the uncountable nouns in this quarter's vocabulary and some ways to make them countable. asparagus beef bread broccoli butter corn fruit garlic honey jam lamb pepper pork rice salt spaghetti sugar A bunch of asparagus. A slice of beef. A slice of bread. A piece of broccoli. A pat of butter. An ear of corn. A piece of fruit. A bulb of garlic. A pot of honey. A jar of jam. A leg of lamb. A pot of pepper. A joint of pork. A grain of rice. A pinch of salt. A strand of spaghetti. A cube of sugar.

Count and NonCount Nouns (with Articles and Adjectives) Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Try our exercises (with answers) at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/es/eslcount2EX1.html and http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/es/eslcount2EX2.html

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. 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: Uncountable 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. Countable 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.

Dr. Moulton is an expert in ancient Greek sculpture. We use only recycled paper in our office.

We have several sculptures in our home. Where are those important papers?

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

For more on using articles with countable and uncountable nouns, see our document on that topic.

Quantity Adjectives with Countable and Uncountable Nouns Some, Any 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) Much, Many 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. A lot of, Lots of 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) Little, Quite a little, Few, Quite a few 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") A little bit of, Quite a bit of 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") Enough 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.

Plenty of This term modifies both countable and uncountable nouns. There are plenty of mountains in Switzerland. She has plenty of money in the bank. No 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. Count and NonCount Nouns (with Plurals, Articles, and Quantity Words) Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

Section 1: Definition of Count and Noncount nouns Count or Noncount? The main difference between count and noncount nouns is whether you can count the things they refer to or not. Count nouns refer to things that exist as separate and distinct individual units. They usually refer to what can be perceived by the senses. Examples: table chair word Example sentences: finger remark girl bottle award candidate

I stepped in a puddle. (How many puddles did you step in? Just one.)

I drank a glass of milk. (Glasses of milk can be counted)

I saw an apple tree. (Apple trees can be counted)

Noncount nouns refer to things that can't be counted because they are thought of as wholes that can't be cut into parts. They often refer to abstractions and occasionally have a collective meaning (for example, furniture). Examples: anger furniture warmth Example Sentences: courage education leisure progress weather precision

I dove into the water. (How many waters did you dive into? The question doesn't make any sense; therefore water is noncountable.)

I saw the milk spill. (How many milks? Milk cannot be counted.)

I admired the foliage. (How many foliages? Foliage cannot be counted.)

Think of the batter from which a cake is made. Before you put the batter into the oven, it can't be divided into parts because it's a thick liquid. Once it has been baked, it becomes solid enough to be cut into pieces. Noncount nouns are like cake batter; count nouns are like pieces of cake

Note: Since the issue is complicated and almost no rule is absolute, there will be exceptions to the above definitions; however, we can show some general patterns. Bear in mind that what is countable in another language may not be countable in English, and vice versa.

Section 2: Uses of Count and Noncount Nouns Pluralizing The Rule From the definitions of mass and count given above you may have already guessed the rule for pluralizing them: most count nouns pluralize with -s noncount nouns don't pluralize at all

This rule works for all of the nouns in the lists of examples in the first section. Check this rule for yourself before reading further. An Exception to the Rule

For a number of nouns, the rule needs slight revision. Certain nouns in English belong to both classes: they have both a noncount and a count meaning. Normally the noncount meaning is abstract and general and the count meaning concrete and specific. Compare: Count I've had some difficulties finding a job. (refers to a number of specific problems) The talks will take place in the Krannert building. (refers to a number of specific lectures) The city was filled with bright lights and harsh sounds. (refers to a number of specific lights and noises)

Noncount She succeeded in school with little difficulty. (refers to the general idea of school being difficult) I dislike idle talk. (refers to talking in general) Light travels faster than sound. (refers to the way light and sound behave in general)

Note: A special case of the use of noncount nouns in a count sense has to do with classification. Sometimes a usually noncount noun can be understood as one item separate and distinct from other items of the same category. The nouns that function in this way often denote foods and beverages: food(s), drink(s), wine(s), bread(s), coffee(s), fruit(s), and so on. Examples: There are several French wines to choose from. (= kinds of wine) I prefer Sumatran coffees to Colombian. (= kinds of coffee) We use a variety of different batters in our bakery. (= kinds of batter)

A recent entry into this class is homework, which at least among some students has the count plural homeworks in addition to its noncount use. (For example, "You're missing three of the homeworks from the first part of the course.") Because this usage is not firmly established and is likely to be considered nonstandard, you should check with your instructor before using it in writing. A Revision of the Rule These exceptions require that the rule for pluralizing be revised: count nouns and nouns used in a count sense pluralize; noncount nouns and nouns used in a noncount sense do not. The two possibilities in each half of the rule require different choices. If you know that a particular noun must be either count or noncount and cannot be both, you need to decide only if it is possible to pluralize the noun. On the other hand, if you know that a particular noun may be used in either a count or noncount sense, then you need to decide whether it is appropriate to pluralize.

To summarize, we may put the rule in a chart, like this:


Pluralizes with -s Count Noun Count Use Noncount Noun Noncount Use XX XX XX XX Doesn't Pluralize

Articles Nouns and Articles Choosing which article to use (if any) with a noun is a complex matter because the range of choices depends on whether the noun in question is 1) count or noncount and 2) singular or plural. Both count nouns (whether singular or plural) and noncount nouns take articles. Combinations of Nouns and Articles The following chart shows which articles go with which kinds of nouns. Notice that this, that, these, and those have been included because, like the, they mark the noun that they modify

as definite, which means that the noun refers 1) to a unique individual or 2) to some person, event, or object known to both the writer and reader from their general knowledge or from what has been previously mentioned in a piece of writing.
a, an Count singular Count plural Noncount Examples: Count Singular: I ate an apple. I rode the bus. Does she live in this house? No, she lives in that house over there. Count Plural: I like to feed the birds. Do you want these books? No, I want those books up there. Cats are interesting pets. Noncount: The water is cold. This milk is going sour. Music helps me relax. XX the XX XX XX XX this, that XX XX XX XX these, those no article

Quantity Terms The following chart shows which quantity words go with which kinds of nouns. Note that quantity words can be used in combinations such as many more, many fewer, much more, and much less, any of which can be preceded by how to form questions or relative clauses. Negatives like not and no can also be applied to many of these terms.

some, any, m o s t , m o r e , a many, both, l sever l al, , each, every, few/f a a ewer/ n fewe l y st, a o , few, t o one o n of f e the, a , coup n le of o , n o n e o f t h e XX XX XX XX XX

much, less, l i t t l e , a l i t t l e , v e r y l i t t l e

Count singular Count plural Noncount Examples: Count Singular: I practice every day. I'd like one donut, please. Count Plural: Can I have some chips? She has a lot of books, and many are autographed. I have fewer pencils than you. Noncount: Can I have some water?

She has a lot of strength, and much is due to her upbringing. I have less courage than you.

Count and Noncount Nouns Exercises


Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

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 Exercise 2 banana conduct progress biology essay crystal shopping

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 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. 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 rain rug nature bag emotion

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.

Answers to Count and Noncount Noun Exercises


Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

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 Exercise 2 banana C conduct N progress N biology N essay C crystal D shopping N

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. Exercise 4 On the basis of the rules for using articles, 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.

Review the exercises, review the handout, or go on to our second handout on count and noncount nouns.