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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

CHAPTER 1 .................................................................................................................................. 3

WHY DO PEOPLE LEARN LANGUAGES? .............................................................................. 3

1.1. REASON FOR LEARNING ENGLISH .......................................................................................... 3


1.2. SUCCESS IN LANGUAGE LEARNING ......................................................................................... 4
1.3. MOTIVATIONAL DIFFERENCES ............................................................................................... 6
1.4. ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE ......................................................................... 8

CHAPTER 2 ................................................................................................................................ 10

TEACHING GRAMMAR ........................................................................................................... 10

2.1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ................................................................................................... 10


2.2. THE PLACE OF GRAMMAR IN LANGUAGE TEACHING .............................................................. 11
2.3. WHAT DOSE LEARNING GRAMMAR INVOLVES? ..................................................................... 12
2.3.1. The organization of grammar teaching ....................................................................... 13
2.4. TEACHING VOCABULARY..................................................................................................... 15

CHAPTER 3 ................................................................................................................................ 17

THE NOUN.................................................................................................................................. 17

3.1. DEFINITION ......................................................................................................................... 17


3.2. CLASSIFICATION OF NOUNS ................................................................................................. 17
3.3. THE NUMBER ...................................................................................................................... 18
3.3.1. The regular plural formed by adding the inflection –s ................................................. 19
3.3.2. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed through mutation ................................................. 21
3.3.3. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed by adding the inflection –en................................. 21
3.3.4. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed by changing –f intro –v ........................................ 22
3.3.5. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed by the zero plural (the same form in the singular
and plural) ......................................................................................................................................... 23
3.3.7. The IRREGULAR PLURAL as foreign plural .............................................................. 24
3.3.7. The PLURAL of Compounds ....................................................................................... 25
3.3.8. The PLURAL of PROPER NOUNS ............................................................................. 27
3.3.9/10/11. The PLURAL of Abbreviations, Numbers and Letters of the Alphabet ............... 28
3.3.12. Nouns with different meanings in the plural and the singular .................................... 29
3.3.13. Nouns with two plural forms ..................................................................................... 29
3.3.14. SINGULAR INVARIABLES (have only a singular form) as uncountable nouns ......... 30
3.3.15. SINGULAR INVARIABLES as proper nouns ............................................................. 32
3.3.16. SINGULAR INVARIABLES as nouns ending in –s..................................................... 32
3.3.17. PLURAL INVARIABLES as nouns formed out of two parts ....................................... 33
3.3.18. PLURAL INVARIABLES as proper nouns ................................................................. 33
3.3.19. PLURAL INVARIABLES as nouns ending in –s......................................................... 33
3.3.20. PLURAL INVERIABLES as collective nouns ............................................................. 34

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3.3.21. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING for collective


nouns ................................................................................................................................................. 34
3.3.22. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING for some nouns
ending in -ics...................................................................................................................................... 35
3.3.23. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING for some
adjectives acting as nouns .................................................................................................................. 35
3.3.24. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING for some words . 36

CHAPTER 4 ................................................................................................................................ 38

METHODOLOGICAL APPROCH ........................................................................................... 38

4.1. LESSON PLANS .................................................................................................................... 38


4.2. EXERCISES .......................................................................................................................... 38

CONCLUSIONS .......................................................................................................................... 43

LESSON PLANS ......................................................................................................................... 44

BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................................ 53

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Chapter 1

Why do people learn languages?

1.1. Reason for learning English

Why do people want to learn foreign languages? Why do people want to study
English? Is it pleasure? Is it because they want to understand Shakespeare? Maybe they
want to get a better job.
There are a number of different reasons for language study and the following list
(witch is not exhaustive) will give an idea of the great variety of such reasons.
School curriculum
Probably the great numbers of language students in the world do it because it is on
the curriculum whether they like it or not! For many of these students English, in
particular, is something that both they and their parents want to have taught.
For others, however, the study of languages is something they feel neutral (or
sometimes negative) about.
Advancement
Some people want to study English (or another foreign language) because they
think it offers a chance for advancement in their professional lives.
They will get a better job with tow languages than if they only know their mother
tongue. English has a special position here since has become the international language of
communication.
English for Specific Purposes
The form English for Special or Specific Purposes has been applied to situation
where students have some specific reason for wanting to learn the language. For example,
air traffic controllers need English primarily to guide aircraft through the skies. They may
not use the language at all apart from this. Business executive needs English for
international trade. Waiters may need English to serve their customers. These needs often
been referred to as ECP (English for Occupational Purposes).

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Students who are going to study at a university in the U.S.A, Great Britain,
Australia or Canada, on the other hand, many need English so that they can write reports or
essays and functions in seminars. This is often called EAP (English for Academic
Purposes).
Students of medicine or other scientific disciplines (studying in their own
countries) need to be able to read articles and textbooks about those subjects in English.
This is often referred to as EST (or English for Science and Technology).
What is interesting about all these examples is that the type of English that students
want to learn may be different: waiters may want to talk and listen, whereas scientists may
want to read and write.
Culture
Some students study a foreign language because they are attracted to the culture.
They learn the English language because they want to know about the people who speak it,
the places where it is spoken and (in same cases) the writing which it has produced.
Miscellaneous
There are of course many other possible reasons for learning English language.
Some people do it because they want to be tourists in a country where that language is
spoken. Some people do it just for fun – because they like the activity of going to class.
It will be clear from this list that there are many possible reasons for studying a
language. What will also be clear is that not all the students mentioned above will
necessarily be treated in the same way. Students who are only interested in one of the
forms of ESP (English for specific purposes) mentioned above may be taught very,
differently from students who are learning English ‘for fun’. Students who study English
because it is on the curriculum need to be handled in a different way from those who go to
a different way from those who go to a language institute out of choice.
Most students who make that decision – to study in their own time – do so for a
mixture of the reasons mentioned above.

1.2. Success in language learning

Why are same students successful at language learning whilst others are not? If we
knew the answer to that question the job of teaching and learning English, would be easy.
We don’t, of course, but we can point to a number of factors which seen to have a
strong effect on a student’s success or failure.

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Motivation
People involved in English language teaching, often say that students who really
want to learn, will succeed whatever the circumstances in which they study.
All teachers can think of situations in which certain ‘motivated’ students do
significantly better than their peers; students frequently succeed in what appear to be
unfavorable conditions; they succeed in using methods which experts consider
unsatisfactory. In the face of such phenomena it seems reasonable to suggest that the
motivation that students bring to class is the biggest single factor affecting their success.
Motivation is some kind of interval drive that encourages somebody to pursue a
course of action. If we perceive a goal (that is, something we which to achieve) and if that
goal is sufficiently attractive, we will be strongly motivated to do whatever is necessary to
reach that goal. Goals can be of different type; for example if we are determinate to own a
new compact disc player, a bike or a horse we may work overtime in order to earn the
necessary money.
If we want to win a TV general knowledge quiz, we may put in incredibly long
hours of fact-learning activity.
Language learns who are motivated perceive goals of various kinds.
We can make a useful distinction between short-term goals and long-term goals.
Long-term goals might have something to do with a wish to get a better job at some future
date, or a desire to be able to communicate with members of a target English community.
Short-term goals might include such things as wanting to pass an end-of-semester test or
wanting to finish a unit in a book.
In general strongly motivated students with long-term goals are probably easer to
teach than those who have no such goals.
For such students short-term goals will often provide the only motivation they fell.
What kind of motivation do students have? It is always the same? We will separate
it into two main categories: extrinsic motivation, which is concerned with factors outside
the classroom, and intrinsic motivation, which is concerned with what takes place inside
the classroom.
We have said that some students study a language because they have an idea of
something which they wish to achieve.

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1.3. Motivational differences

To know exactly how or why your students are motivated will mean finding out
how they feel about learning English at the beginning of …pag. 4 jos… (this would
anyway be a good idea since it would give the teacher valuable information about the
students). It is unlikely that everyone in the class will have the same motivation; a
motivation is a mixture of different factors. Nevertheless it is possible to make some
general statements about motivational factors for different age groups and different levels.
We look at children, adolescents, adult, beginners, adult intermediate students and adult
advanced students.
Children
More than anything else, children are curious, and this in itself is motivating. At the
same time, their span of attention or concentration is less than that of an adult. Children
will often seek teacher approval: the fact that the teacher notices them and short
appreciation for what they are doing is of vital importance.
Children need frequent changes of activity: they need activities which are exciting
and stimulate their curiosity: they need to be involved in something active (they will
usually not sit and listen!), and they need to be appreciated by the teacher, an important
figure for them. It is unlikely that they will have any motivation outside these
considerations, and so almost everything for them will depend on the attitude and behavior
of the teacher.
Adolescents
Adolescent are perhaps the most interesting students to teach, but they can also
present the teacher with more problems than any other age groups.
We can certainly not expect any extrinsic motivation from the majority of our
students – particularly the younger ones. We may hope, however, that the students’ attitude
has been positively influenced by those around them. We have to remember that
adolescents are often brittle! They will probably not be inspired by mere curiosity, and
teacher approval is not longer of vital importance. Indeed, the teacher may not be the
leader, but rather the potential enemy.
The teacher should never, them, forget that adolescents need to be seen in a good
light by their peers, and that with the changes taking place at that age they are easily prone
to humiliation if the teacher is careless with criticism. But adolescents also can be highly
intelligent if stimulated, and dedicated if involved.

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At this age, getting the level of challenge right is vital. Where this level is too low,
the students may simply ‘switch off’: where it is too high, they may become discouraged
and de-motivated.
It is the teacher’s task, too, to put language teaching into an interesting context for
the students. More than anything else, they have to be involved in the task eager to
accomplish it.
Adult beginners
Adult beginners are in same ways the easiest people to teach! Firstly they may well
come to the classroom with a high degree of extrinsic motivation. Secondly, they will often
succeed very quickly. Goals within the class (learning a certain piece of language or
finishing a unit) are easy to perceive and relatively a foreign language, and unrealistic
challenge coupled with a negative teacher attitude can have disastrous effects on students’
motivation.
Adult intermediate students
Adult intermediate students may well be motivated extrinsically. They may well
have very positive feelings about the way are treated in the classroom in which they are
studying. Success may be motivating, and the perceptions of having more advanced
English may be a primary goal.
It is for a better reason that problems often arise. Beginners, as we have said, easily
perceive success; since everything is new, anything learnt is a success. But, intermediate
students know a lot and may not perceive any progress. Alternatively they may be
overwhelmed by the new complexity of the language.
Adult advanced students
These students are often highly motivated. If they were not they would not see the
need to continue with language study when they already achieved so much. Like some
intermediate students (but even more so), they will find progress more difficult to perceive.
Much better have to use what they already know.
The teacher has a responsibility to point this fact out and to show the students what
it is they will achieve at this level: it is a different kind of achievement. Many advanced
teachers expect too mach from their students, feeling that the setting of tasks and goals is
in some way demeaning.

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1.4. English as an International Language

When we describe English as an International language, we sometimes assume that


it has achieved a status that no other language has ever enjoyed. But there have been other
“international” languages – languages that have been spoken by peoples of different races
and different nations. And some of them – like Aramaean, or the standard Greek Koine, or
Latin – have seamed to possess the qualities of an ideal international language. But today
English possesses a “numerical” superiority over all others language – and thus it would
seem to be the “language of the future”.
Yet this very numerical preponderance may have its dangers. To these dangers, all
those who have the welfare of English at heart need to be alert. A language must stay
healthy. And those with a particular responsibility for preserving the health of a language
are those who teach it.
We must admit that even teachers whose native language is English often commit
serious errors in teaching it. In the first flush of enthusiasm, the teacher sometimes assumes
that his primary aim is to teach “natural” English. But there are several reasons why this
may prove to be a mistaken policy – especially if carried too far. In the first place, native –
speaker “naturalness” cannot be achieved save in a few exceptional cases. In a foreigner
speaks English that is too colloquial, he may well create an impression not of naturalness
but of oddity. And the oddity is liable to increase since colloquialism is subject to constant
change. The fact is that no one, or hardly anybody, can identify himself emotional with the
people whose language he is learning. On the other hand, we must not teach the student to
speak too artificially, or the result will be ludicrous.
In short, excessive realism and excessive artificiality are the two extremes to avoid.
Of the two, the attempt at verisimilitude is the more dangerous. A degree of
artificiality, of stylization, is both inevitable and desirable. It is desirable above all because
it makes for clarity and intelligibility: two goals that we should set before the student from
the outset.
Every family, every small social groups, develops within its circle a semiprivate
language of its own – a language that can offered to be for granted among themselves.
None of us asks of a foreigner that he should speak exactly as we do.
When we teach a language, however, we are always teaching something in addition
to the language. We are teaching, to some degree, the culture of the people who speak the
language.

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To learn a language from a grammar book is extremely difficult: what the student
learns is likely to be a dead language.
English as an international language needs the support of other world language as
part of the maintenance of its own health. It is impossible – and in any case would be
undesirable – that those who study British or American English should “turn into”
Englishmen or Americans in a cultural sense.
But a student studying English can, and will, add a kind of new dimension to his
personality through his knowledge of the other language and its culture.
In English teaching today we lay much emphasis on conversation – even though the
prestige of the “direct” method has declined. Conversational practice is obviously of great
value, because the student must accustom himself to flexible everyday speech.

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Chapter 2

Teaching grammar

2.1. Introductory remarks

The study of grammar is essential for acquiring any foreign language since one
couldn’t speak meaningfully or one could hardly produce any correct utterance without
making good use of it. In other words, its importance should be taken for granted.
All languages have a grammar. It consists of two parts: morphology and syntax.
The former deals with rules concerning the form of words and their structural change,
that being studied as parts of speech.
Since knowledge of grammar is essential for component users of a language, it is
clearly necessary for the students. Obviously, for example, they need to know that verbs in
the third person singular have an ‘s’ ending in the present simple (e.g. ‘the swims’, ‘she
runs’, ‘it takes’). They also need to know that modal auxiliaries are followed by bare
infinitives without ‘to’ so, that they can eventually avoid making mistakes like: ‘he must to
go’. At same stage they also need to know that if phrases like “No sooner” are put at the
front of sentences they affect word order, e.g. ‘No sooner had I arrived …’ and not ‘No
sooner I had arrived …’.
Luckily, there is a consensus about what grammar should be taught at what level.
Any experienced teacher will know that the use of ‘No sooner’ and other similar phrases at
the beginning of sentences is a matter for advanced students whereas the correct use of
‘must’ is something that an elementary student should know.
While there may be variations in the actual order of grammatical items taught
(teacher tend to teach past terms – especially ‘was’ and ‘were’ – earlier than they used to,
for example) a glance through the majority of currently available teaching materials will
show how strong the consensus is.
Our aim in teaching grammar should be to ensure that students are
communicatively efficient the grammar they have at their level. We may not teach them
the finer points of style at the intermediate level, but we should make sure that they can use
what they know.

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2.2. The place of grammar in language teaching

To many people foreign language learning is essentially a guestion of grammar. We


hear the complain: ‘i was never any good at foreign language because i could never
remember the grammar’.
In the description of the various methods of teaching foreign – language in chapter
I, some of the disagreement very clearly stemmed from the attitude of the teacher toward
grammar. “it is tremendously that the student know their grammar” said some teachers;
while others spoke of giving the students “confidence in the active use of the structural
pattern of the language”, surely another way of speaking about grammar.
Some teacher, on the other hand, maintain that we can speak and we can write in
our native language with ease and assurance “without knowing any grammar” and that no
more need to required of the person learning a foreign language. As soon as the
fundamental question of the role of grammar is raised in foreign language teaching circle,
the discussion, even heated, and before the discussion has finished some of the participants
at least are likely to have up rigid and uncompressing position.
What, then, is grammar? To most people, grammar is the rules of a language set out
in a terminology which is hard to remember, which many exceptions appended to each
rule. Few people stop to think of the origin of this “rules” or of their validity; fewer people
ask themselves why there are so many exceptions.
Everyone has been taught his grammar rules at school and is convinced that these
rules have since school began; they may not be questioned; they tell us what is wrong and
what people write and say.
“Grammar derived extent from speech data may therefore be expected to diverge to
same extent from grammars of written language if they are faithful to the recorded corps.
To many people who have been trained from childhood to believe in a standard of “correct
speech” to which nobody conforms in every detail, but which is enshrined in the grammar
book, the inclusion in new grammar of the patterns of spoken language has seemed to give
these a stamp of official acceptance against which they have revolted”.
If u ask the average speaker of a language what they know about grammar, they
may remember the old lesson from school, but beyond that, they will say that have
forgotten what grammar they once know. The same speaker, however, can say a sentence
like ‘if I had known’, ‘I’d have come earlier’, without thinking, even though it is
grammatically complex. How is this possible?

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Linguists have been investigating the native speaker’s knowledge for years, just as
they have been trying to think of the best way of describing that knowledge and the
grammatical system.
What they have found is that the grammatical system is rule-leased and that
competent users of the language ‘know’ these rules in some way.
An example will show both a method of description and how grammar rule allow
us to generate language. If we take a simple sentence:
‘The boy kicked the dog’, we can represent it with a tree diagram like this:

NP VP
NP

D N V D N

The boy kicked the dog

This formulation tells us that the sentences (S) contains noun phrase (NP) and a
verb phrase (VP). The noun phrase contains a determiner (D) and a noun (N) and verb
phrase contains a verb (V) and another noun phrase.
What is important here is not the particular way in which this diagram is presented,
but the fact that it dose demonstrate the grammar of one sentence.

2.3. What dose learning grammar involves?

Before planning the organization of our teaching we need to have clear in our mind
exactly what our subject – matter is: what sorts of things are included under the heading
grammar, and what is involved in “knowing” a structure.
The sheer variety of all the different structures that may labeled “grammatical” is
enormous. Some have exact parallels in the native language and are easily mastered; other
have no such parallels but are fairly simple in themselves; while yet others are totally alien
and very difficult to grasp. Same have simple forms but it may be difficult to learn where
to use them and where not; other have relatively easy meaning, but very varied or difficult

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forms (The Past Simple Tense). Some involve single-word choirs (a/an/some), other entire
sentence (conditionals).
What we teach any one of these types of structures, we are, or should be, getting
our students to learn quite a large number of different, though related, bits of knowledge
and skills: how to recognize the examples of the structures when spoken, know to identify
its written form. How to understand its both meaning in context and produce meaningful
sentences using it themselves.
Some teacher have a tendency to concentrate on some of these and neglect others:
they may spend a lot of time on getting the forms right and neglect to give practice in using
the structure to convey meaning: or they may focus on written exercises and fail to cover
the oral aspects satisfactorily.

2.3.1. The organization of grammar teaching


Any generalization about the “best” way to teach grammar will have to take into
account both the wide range of knowledge and skills that need to be taught, and the variety
of different kind of structures subsumed under the heading “grammar”. Thus the
organization suggested here represents only a general framework into which a very wide
variety of teaching techniques will fit. There are four stages:
A) Presentation
B) Isolation
C) Practice
D) Test
PRESENTATION
We usually begin by presenting the class with a text in which the grammatical
structures appears. The aim of the presentation is to get learners to perceive the structure –
its form and meaning – in both speech and writing and to take into short term memory. As
a follow up, students may be asked to read about, repeat, reproduce from memory, or copy
out instance of the use of the structures within the text. Where the structures is a very
simple, easily perceived one, the presentation “test” may be no more than a simple
sentence or two, which serves as a model for immediate practice.
ISOLATION AND EXPLANATION
At this stage we move away from the context and focus on the grammatical items
themselves: what they sound and look like, what they mean, how they function – in short,
what rules govern them. The objective is that the learners should understand these various

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aspects of the structure. In some classes we may need to make extensive use of the
students’ native language to explain, translate, make generalization and so on.
In more academic classes, or where the structure is particularly difficult for the
students to grasp, this stage may take some time. However, where the structure is very
simple, or very close to a parallel in the native language, or when the students’ tent to learn
the language intuitively rather than intellectually, is make take only a minute or so or be
entirely omitted.
PRACTICE
The practice stage consists of a series of exercises done both in the classroom and
for home assignments, where aim is to cause learns to absorb structure thoroughly; or, to
put in another way, transfer what they know from short-term to long-term memory.
Obviously, not every grammar practice procedure can “cover” all aspects of the
structure, therefore we shall need to use a series of varied exercises, which will complete
each other and together provide through coverage.
With a structure whose formal rules are difficult to grasp, we might start by
devoting some time to manipulation of the written and spoken forms, without relating
particularly to meaning. Such practice is usually given through exercises based on
“discrete items” (a series of words, phrases or sentences with no particular to be practice).
The language is still not being used to “do” things, but merely to provide examples
of itself (it is, in other words, not “communicative”) – but at least the exercises cannot be
done through technical manipulation. They are certainly more interesting to do than purely
from – based ones (and this interest can be increased by the introduction of the piquant or
amusing subject matter, or some game like techniques), and provide more learning value.
TEST
Learners do test in order to demonstrate – to themselves and to the teacher – how
well they have mastered the material they have learning. The main objective of tests within
a taught course is to provide feedback, without which neither teacher nor learner would be
able to know where to go next.
Formal examination, usually preceded by revision on the part of the learners, and
followed by written evaluation on the part of the teachers, are only one kind of testing, the
least useful for immediate teaching purpose. Most testing, however, is done automatically
and almost unconsciously by teacher and learners as the course proceeds, the most valuable
feedback on learning being supplied by the learners current performance in class and in
home assignment.

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Often “practice” exercises are used to supply such informal feedback, in which case
they may function virtually as tests: but if this aspect is stressed, their effectiveness as
practice techniques is usually lessened.

2.4. Teaching vocabulary

The first point to make in connection with teaching vocabulary is one that most
teachers take for granted today: that the meanings of words must be taught in context-not
from lists of unrelated words. For realize that the meaning of many words can change
according to their use in particular sentences and particular context. And they are primarily
interested in presenting words to their learners as vehicles for relaying information and
ideas. In other words, for communicating in the new language.
When we teach a word we must teach there things.
(1) We must teach the shape, or form, of the word.
(2) We must teach the meaning of the word.
(3) And we must teach that the form and the meaning of the word go together.
So, if we teach a fork, we must teach the learner to recognize or produce the word
fork; we must teach him what a fork is; and we must teach him that the sound or shape of a
fork and meaning of the shape go together.
We can teach the shape, or form, of a word in many different ways. Here are some
ways in which we can help the learner perceive the word by means of three separate
senses:
Visually – by showing the written form of the word.
– by showing the mouth movements involved in saying the word.
– by showing hand movements that drove the letters of the word in the air.
Tactilely (meaning the learners use their sense of touch)
– by using letters made of wood, cardboard, sandpaper, and so on, so the learners
can feel the shape of the letters that make up the word.
– by using a system of writing like Braille (the writing for the blind).
– by writing the word, letter by letter, on the learner’s hand.
Aurally – by saying the word.
– by producing the word in Morse code or some other aural code.
Teaching the meaning of a word
Here are ways in which we can help the learner understand the meaning of a word
by using different approaches:

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Demonstration – by showing an object or a cutout figure


– by gestures
– by performing an action
Pictures – by using photographs, blackboard drawings, illustrations cut from
magazines or newspapers
Explanation – by description
– by giving synonyms or opposites
– by putting the word into a defining context
We can help the learner connect the form of a word with its meaning by presenting
the form and meaning together, so that the learner knows they are connected to each other
– and this knowledge is firmly implanted in his automatic responses.

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CHAPTER 3

The Noun

3.1. Definition

A noun is the name of anything that may be the subject of discourse. Hence the
noun is the meaning word. It is a little difficult to define the limits of this port of speech.
Generally, the different parts of speech are marked of by formal criteria.
The chief criteria, by which nouns as such are distinguished from other parts of
speech, are the formation of the plural by means of the ending –s and the formation of the
genitive in ‘s. Neither of these criteria is absolute and applicable to all nouns; there are
nouns which the genitive is never formed.
Another criterion is the capability of talking on (adjective) adjunct. Especially
when a word can take one of the articles the and a before, we seldom hesitate to reckon it
among nouns.
If we make the content a criterion, other difficulties appear; here the chief
distinction between nouns and adjectives is, of course, that the former have an association
of substance while the latter have an association of quality.
As a conclusion all three criteria must be taken into consideration when we want to
point the limits of this part of speech.

3.2. Classification of nouns

In modern English form does not play an important part in the identifying or the
classifying of nouns for inflectional purposes, since more nouns are now declined alike,
form and gender having little influence on the inflections of nouns.
According to their FORM, nouns can be classified as:
simple nouns
compound nouns
phrasal nouns
According to their MEANING, nouns can be classified as:
proper nouns
common nouns

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names of materials (mass nouns)


collective nouns
Nouns can be classified as:
concrete nouns
abstract nouns
The grammatical categories of the noun are:
number, case, gender.

3.3. The number

Definition:
The form assumed by a noun to show whether it denotes one thing or more than
one is called the number. When one thing is spoken of, the noun is SINGULAR; when tow
or more things are spoken of, the noun is PLURAL.
Formation
The Regular Plural. Some nouns from the plural in a regular way by:
3.3.1. adding the inflection –s or –es: girl/girls
The Irregular Plural. Other nouns are subject to irregular patterns of forming the
plural such as:
3.3.2. mutation: foot/feet
3.3.3. adding of the inflection –en: child/children
3.3.4. changing of –f into –v: half/halves
3.3.5. the zero plural: sheep/sheep, Chinese/Chinese
3.3.6. the foreign plural: radius/radii, larva/larvae
The Plural of Compounds. Some nouns from the plural in different ways.
These are 3.3.7. compound nouns: man–of–war/men–of–war.
The Plural of Proper Nouns
3.3.8. proper nouns may also have a plural form
The Plural of Abbreviation, Numbers and Letters of the Alphabet.
These categories act like nouns in some cases and they form plural in a specific
way:
3.3.9. abbreviation: bro (brother) / bros (brothers)
3.3.10. numbers: the 1980’s or the 1980s
3.3.11. letters: i’s
Meaning varying with number

18
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

There are
3.3.12. nouns that change their meaning from the singular to the plural
3.3.13. nouns that have two plural forms that are different in meaning.
Concord with the verb
The classes of nouns mentioned earlier will concord with the verb according to
their given form be it singular or plural. But there are other classes of nouns for which
concord is determined either by the nature of the noun or by the meaning intended when
the noun is used. These are:
The Invariables. There are nouns that have an invariable form, either resembling
the singular or the plural. Singular invariables always make a singular concord with the
verb. These are:
3.3.14. uncountable nouns: gold, music
3.3.15. proper nouns: Henry
3.3.16. some nouns ending in –s: news
Plural invariables have a plural form and always make a plural concord with the
verb. These are:
3.3.17. nouns formed out of two parts: scissors
3.3.18. some proper nouns: the Netherlands
3.3.19. some nouns ending in –s: thanks, wages
3.3.20. some collective nouns: cattle, police
Nouns that Make Concord According to the Meaning Intended
There are nouns that have either a singular form or a plural one but that make the
concord according to the meaning intended. These are:
3.3.21. collective nouns: team, government
3.3.22. some nouns ending in –ics: acou
3.3.23. adjectives acting as nouns: the rich, the new
3.3.24. the words ‘means’, ‘people’, ‘young’, ‘head’.

3.3.1. The regular plural formed by adding the inflection –s


There are nouns that form the plural in a regular way. These, according to their
form – be it singular or plural – make the concord with the finite verb. The general rule for
forming the plural number of such a noun is by adding the inflection –s to the singular.
Pronunciation

19
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

In speech the regular plural has three different pronunciations (/iz/, /z/, /s/)
depending on the final sound of the base. Nouns ending in silent –e precede by a
fricative add an extra syllable in taking the –s: bridge/bridge, corpse/corpses, box/boxes
and theses will be pronounced /iz/
Nouns ending in vowels and voiced sounds other then voiced sibilants are to be
pronounced /z/: bed/beds, hero/heroes.
Nouns ending in voiceless sound other then voiceless sibilants are to be pronounced
/s/: bet/bets, month/months.
Spelling
The –s suffix is written –s after most nouns including those ending in silent –e.
Adding of –es
Nouns ending in a fricative, unless written with a silent –e (-s, -z, -x, -ch, -sh, -
ss, -zz) and -es to the singular noun to build up their plurals, these by adding a syllable:
box/boxes, tax/taxes, watch/watches.
Nouns ending in –th are exceptional, usually adding –s only: mouth/mouths,
path/paths.
Treatment of –y
If the noun ends in –y and –y is preceded by a consonant, the plural takes the
form of –ies: cry/cries, try/tries.
In proper names, however, we simply add the inflection –s, to the singular:
Mary/Marys.
Nouns ending in –quy from the plural in –ies, because in such words the u does
not make a diphthong with y but the qu (=kw) is regarded as a double consonant:
colloquy/colloquies
Nouns ending in –o
If the noun ends in –o and the –o is preceded by consonant, the plural is generally
formed by adding –es:
by a consonant, the plural is generally formed by adding –es: Negro/Negroes,
tomato/tomatoes
But all nouns ending in –o preceded by a vowel form the plural in –s and not –es:
bamboo/bamboos, folio/folios
Some nouns ending in –o preceded by a consonant, from the plural in –s
and not in –es:

20
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

grotto/grottos memento/mementos
proviso/provisos piano/pianos
canto/cantos solo/solos
tango/tangos soprano/sopranos
Proper names and also –s: Neros, Romeos, Filipinos
Abbreviations ending in –o add also –s: kilos < kilogram, photos < photograph,
pros < professional
There are a few nouns ending in –o, which form the plural both in –s and –es:
SG PL. in –s PL. in –es
archipelagos archipelagos archipelagos
banjo banjos banjos
buffalo buffalos buffaloes
cargo cargos cargoes
commando commandos commandoes
domino dominos dominoes
flamingo flamingos flamingos
mosquito mosquitos mosquitoes
motto mottos mottoes
tornado tornados tornadoes
volcano volcanos volcanoes

3.3.2. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed through mutation


There are nine nouns which form the plural by a change of the inside novel:
mouse/mice, woman/women, foot/feet,
goose/geese, tooth/teeth, louse/lice,
titmouse/titmice, dormouse/dormice, man/men.
The compounds formed with man have no distinction in speech between plural and
singular:
postman/postmen,
Englishman/Englishmen.

3.3.3. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed by adding the inflection –en


There are four nouns which form the plural in –en or –me:
brother/brethren, cow/kine,

21
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

child/children, ox/oxen.
The plural from brethren has suffered a change in meaning: ‘fellow members of a
religious society’ otherwise the plural is regular:
brothers.
The noun penny also admits two plural forms having a different meaning:
pence in British currency: Here is ten pence.
Pennies for individual coins: Here are ten pennies.

3.3.4. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed by changing –f intro –v


Nouns ending in –f form the plural by adding the inflection –s:
chief/chiefs, roof/roofs, belief/beliefs, cliff/cliffs
Sometimes, if the noun ends in –f or –fe, the plural if formed by changing –f or –fe
into –ves:
SG. PL. SG. PL.
knife / knives wife / wives
life / lives wolf / wolves
self / selves elf / elves
calf / calves shelf / shelves
loaf / loaves leaf / leaves
thief / thieves sheaf / sheaves
half / halves,
The plural of the painting term still life is a regular one: still lifes.
Some nouns ending in –f or –fe have both the regular form in –s and the
exceptional one in –ves:
SG. PL.
wharf / wharves and wharfs
hoof / hooves and hoofs
scarf / scarves and scarfs
staff / staves and staffs
beef / beeves and beefs
handkerchief / handkerchieves / handkerchiefs
dwarf / dwarves and dwarfs.
There are at least three nouns ending in –fe which form the plural by simply adding
–s:

22
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

safe / safes
strife / strifes
fife / fifes

3.3.5. The IRREGULAR PLURAL formed by the zero plural (the same form
in the singular and plural)
Some nouns have the same form for singular and plural lither always or in certain
contexts. Verbs and reference words used with such nouns are lither singular or plural
corresponding to the reality expressed by the nouns:
Living beings: deer, sheep, swine, salmon, trout, cod etc. ass well the names of
other animals, when used in a hunting context, referred to as game:
The fisherman caught two pike,
Or when the animal is thought of as food:
Would you like some more fish?
Collective numerals: yoke (of oxen), brace (of birds), dozen, head (of cattle) score,
gross, stone.
Hundred, thousand, million, billion, dozen, score, hundred weight take –s when
they do not follow a definite indication of number.
After indefinite numerals both forms are found:
There were hundreds of people in the street;
She bought three score of eggs.
In attributives usage, usually the form without –s is found:
a five pound note, a ten - minute conversation,
a six – mile walk, a sixty – are farm.
Nouns ending in ‘-s’: barracks, gallons, headquarters, means, works (factory) and
its compounds like gas-works, iron-works.
Nouns ending in ‘-es’: series, species, which although historically foreign are no
longer felt as such.
Die in the expression The die is cast is no longer recognized as being connected
with dice, which also belongs in this category:
one dice / two dice
Others: aircraft, counsel (barrister), shot (projectile), offspring
Nationality names (ending in a hissing sound): Chinese, Japanese, Swiss.
Some nationality and tribal names are sometimes used without –s:

23
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Bedouin(s), Eskimo(s), Navaho(s).

3.3.7. The IRREGULAR PLURAL as foreign plural


Foreign plurals. Many nouns taken from other languages have now become
completely naturalised and form their plurals by adding –s or –es to the singular:
bonus / bonuses, chorus / choruses, area / areas.
However, some have kept their foreign plurals. The largest number of these foreign
plurals are of Latin and Greek origin. Some have both forms.
LATIN:
um => a datum / data, medium / media, stratum / strata, bacterium / bacteria
etc.
but museum / museums, asylum / asylums, stadium / stadiums.
Datum is much less common than its Latin plural data (‘information, especially
information organized for analysis’) which in English is usually constructed as a plural:
These data are inconclusive
but often also as a singular, especially in scientific context
This data is inconclusive.
LATIN:
us => i cactus / cacti also cactuses, focus / foci also focuses, radius / radii,
terminus
/ termini, nucleus / nuclei also nucleuses, stimulus / stimuli
but bonus / bonuses, genius / geniuses, virus / viruses
LATIN:
a => ae alga / algae, lava / lavae, formula / formulae, also formulas, antenna
/
antennae also antennas, vertebra / vertebrae also vertebras
but aena / arenas, dilemma / dilemmas, diploma / diplomas, era / eras, retina
/ retinas, villa / villas.
LATIN:
x => ces index / indices also indexes, appendix / appendices (in books) also
appendixes (anatomical), matrix / matrices.
LATIN:
others genus / genera, stamen / stamina

24
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Words of Greek origin retain their declensional endings, but Anglicised plurals for
some of them are now favoured:
GREEK:
is => es analysis / analyses, axis / axes, basis / bases, crisis / crises, diagnosis /
diagnoses, hypothesis / hypotheses, parenthesis / parentheses, thesis / these
GREEK:
on => a phenomenon / phenomena, criterion / criteria, but demon / demons,
neurone / neurones, proton / protons, ganglion / ganglions.
Some foreign nouns are at half way stage two plurals, the original plural and the
style. The foreign plural is characteristic of formal usage, particularly in scientific and
academic writing. In some cases the two plurals have different meanings:
index / indices (algebraical signs) and indexes (tables of contents);
There are also words borrowed from other languages that in certain circumstances
retain their original endings in the plural:
HEBREW:
cherub / cherubim (cherubles), seraph / seraphim (serapho)
ITALIAN:
Bandit / banditti (bandits), virtuoso / virtuosi also virtuosos
Confetti (from Italian confetto, which is not used in English) takes a singular verb.
FRENCH:
beau / beaux, bureau / bureaux.

3.3.7. The PLURAL of Compounds


A compound noun forms the plural by adding –s to the principal word:
step – son / step – sons,
father – in – law / fathers – in – law
mother – in – law / mothers – in – law.
In either case it is not the distinguishing word or phrase that receives the suffix –s
but the noun qualified by it.
PLURAL IN THE FIRST ELEMENT
When the first part of the compound is described by what follows, the first element
is pluralized:
court – martial / courts – martial,
man – of – war / men – of – war,

25
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

mother – in – law / mothers – in – law.


PLURAL IN BOTH ELEMENTS
A few words made up of two noun forms pluralize both elements:
Knight – Templar / Knights – Templar,
Lord Lieutenant / Lords Lieutenants,
Lord Justice / Lords Justices, etc.
Here the two nouns are in apposition, the distinguishing noun being placed first to
qualify or restrict the second. The second element is the only one that could claim the
suffix –s. The first element is pluralized through attraction.
PLURAL IN FINAL ELEMENT
The final part is pluralized when what precedes it describes the final element:
fountain pen / fountain pens,
workman / workmen,
Englishman / Englishmen,
attorney – general / attorney – generals,
trade – union / trade – unions,
boy friend / boy friends,
When the compounds are made of words none of witch maybe regarded as the
principal element, the –s is added to the last word:
forget – me – not / forget – me – nots,
merry – go – round / merry – go – rounds,
gin – and – tonic / gin – and – tonics,
take – off / take – offs.
passer –by forms the plural in passers –by.
Castaway is a compound participle used as a noun, which therefore takes the –s at
the end of the word: castaways.
When words have been in use so long that they are now regarded as compounds
e.g. handful, through originally ‘a hand full’ or ‘enough to fill a hand’, the plural is
formed according to the rules of compound nouns, in this case handfuls: handful /
handfuls. The same for mouthful / mouthfuls, spoonful / spoonfuls, breakdown /
breakdowns, etc.
PLURAL OF COMPOUNDS WITH –MAN, -WOMAN
Compounds with man- and woman- when they indicate gender and have an
attributive position, pluralize both elements:

26
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

man – servant / men – servants,


woman – cook / woman – cooks,
woman – doctor / woman – doctors.
man – eater / man – eaters, woman hater / woman haters as man- / woman- here
identify the main noun (eater, hater) and do not indicate sex.
Compounds with –man as the second element, change –man into –men in
spelling:
postman / postmen,
fireman / firemen,
gentleman / gentlemen.
However, the pronunciation is often the same with the singular.
German, Roman, Mussulman are not compounds with –man so they form the
plural by adding –s to the end of the word:
Germans, Romans, Mussulmans
The combination ‘little + name’ is to be found in the plural with the suffix attached
either to the little (formally) or to the name (in colloquial speech):
the Misses Brown or the Miss Browns.

3.3.8. The PLURAL of PROPER NOUNS


Proper nouns usually take the singular and are invariable:
Henry, the Thames
But some proper nouns may take a plural form.
When the proper noun is reclassified as a common noun:
There are Shakespears all over the world meaning ‘authors like
Shakespeare’
When they are family names and reference is made to the whole family: The
Wilsons are out to lunch meaning ‘the Wilson family’.
Some geographical names are plural invariables: the Netherlands, the Alps.
If the proper nouns are used in the plural as mentioned above then the forming of
the plural is done by adding –s to the singular.
Mary / Marys, Brown / Browns, etc.
Certain proper nouns ending in a fricative add –es:
Burns / Burnses, Cox / Coxes, Dickens / Dickenses.

27
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Proper names with titles form their plurals by pluralizing only the title or by
pluralizing only the name.
Miss Brown or Miss Browns.
Titles pluralize as follows:
Miss / Misses, Mr. / Messrs.
Mrs. has no plural, hence the name must show the pluralization.
When a title precedes two or more names, the title only is pluralized:
Dr. Bright and Dr. Smith => Drs. Bright and Smith
Foreign proper names usually form their plurals in the English way:
The Borgias, the Duponta, the Ariostos.

3.3.9/10/11. The PLURAL of Abbreviations, Numbers and Letters of the


Alphabet
ADDING OF ‘s or –s
Letters of the alphabet, numerical characters and other small symbols used as nouns
form their plurals by adding –s:
Dot this i / dot your i’s;
one and two many / two and ‘s too many
cancel the 4 / cancel your 4’s;
in the 1990 s
Many abbreviations are pluralized in the regular way by adding –s to the singular:
bro. (brother) bros. (brothers)
dr. (doctor) drs. (doctors)
MP. (member of parliament) MP’s or MPs. (members)
DOUBLING THE INITIALS
The initials are double to signify the plural or certain abbreviations:
l. (line) ll. (lines)
p. (page) pp. (pages)
f. (following page) ff. (following pages)
SINGULAR = PLURAL
A few abbreviations have the same form in the singular and plural.
ft. (foot) ft. (feet)
deg. (degree) deg. (degrees)
fig. (figure) fig. (figures)

28
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Heb. / Hebr. (Hebrew) Heb. / Hebr. (Hebrews)

3.3.12. Nouns with different meanings in the plural and the singular
There are nouns which have one meaning in the singular and another in the plural:
advice (counsel) advices (information)
air (atmosphere) airs (demeanour)
return (coming back) returns (statistics)
There are nouns which have two meanings in the plural against one in the singular:
colour (tint) colours (kinds of colour / flag of regiment)
custom (habit) customs (habits / toll or tax)
effect (result) effects (results / goods)
There are nouns which have two meanings in the singular against one in the plural.
abuse (wrong use / reproaches) abuses (wrong uses)
foot (part of body / infantry) feet (parts of body)
horse (cavalry / a quadruped) horses (quadrupeds)
people (a nation / persons) peoples (nations)

3.3.13. Nouns with two plural forms


There are some nouns which have two forms in the plural; each form with a
separate meaning of its own:
brother – brothers (sons of the same mother)
brethren (members of the same society)
cherub – cherubim (angels of a certain rank)
cherubs (images or models of a cherub)
cloth – cloths (kinds of pieces of cloth)
clothes (articles of dress)
cow – cows (individual cows)
kine (cattle)
die – dies (stamps for coining)
dice (small cubes used in games)
staff – staffs (department in the army)
starves (sticks or poles)

29
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

3.3.14. SINGULAR INVARIABLES (have only a singular form) as


uncountable nouns
Countable vb. Uncountable. Many material things and many phenomena, both
natural and psychological are uncountable by their very nature.
Only countable may be used in the singular and plural. In the singular must have
either an article (a, an, the) or a determinative (each, every, this, etc.).
Both countable and uncountable may be used with some (some + countable = a
few; some + uncountable = a certain amount) and with the definite article the fluids, food,
natural phenomena, materials (with particle too small to count), metals, cereals, fields
of study, other intangibles.
TRANSFORMING UNCOUNTABLES INTO COUNTABLES
Some names of raw or manufactured materials do not ordinarily admit of plurals:
bread, butter, coffee, cotton, flour, milk, hay, gold, silver, soap, sugar, beef, pork, etc.
because they are uncountable. They may become countable if a word is supplied in front
of them.
There are also other categories of uncountables: gases, natural phenomena,
cereals, abstractions (ideas, ideals, modes of behaviour, emotions, qualities, etc.) which
appear with certain expressions when countable:
news, furniture, advice, work, corn, luck, music, smoke, grass, laughter.
The expression that will premodify the noun in order to make it countable is
referred to as a partitive. There are three types of partitives to express quantity of mass
nouns:
1. measures: length: a foot of water, a yard of cloth
area: an acre of land, 50 sqm of room
volume: a pint of beer, a gallon of petrol
weight: a ton of coal.
2. typical partitives (restricted to specific words)
a suit of armour, a block of ice,
a sip + drinks (of whisky)
a dab + color (of red)
3. general partitives (can be used with any uncountable noun, even if this has a
typical partitive)
a piece of…, a bit of…, an item of…
There are also general partitives that express quality:

30
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

a kind of…,
a sort of… etc.
Partitives are used to refer to: one item
a part of a whole
a collection of items.
Here is a list of uncountables together with their countable partitives:
FOOD AND DRINK:
a loaf / slice of bread a pound of flour
a cube / block of ice a bear of chocolate
a battle / glass / pint of milk an ear of corn
a pound of pork / beef / mutton a glass / splash of water
NATURAL PHENOMENA:
a beam of light a spell of worm / dry weather
a drop of rain a clap / bolt / roll of thunder
a flash of lightning a gust of wind
MATERIALS
a piece / word / bit of advice an ounce of energy
a piece / stroke / spell of work a stroke / piece of luck
a hint of trouble a piece of music
an attack of fever a wink of sleep
a state of emergency a feat of passion
a item of business a word of abuse
NOUNS HAVING BOTH FORMS (COUNTABLE AND UNCOUNTABLE)
Some uncountable nouns exist in a countable version with a different meaning:
business a business / businesses (stores or factories)
change a change / changes (alterations)
glass a glass / glasses (1. receptacles for drinking, 2. mirrors, 3.
Eye glasses)
interest (finance) an interest / interests (hobby)
beauty (quality) a beauty / beauties (a beautiful woman)
wood (materials) woods (a little forest)
For nouns referring to MATERIALS the uncountable version is used when
reference is made to the material:
Glass breaks easily. (U)

31
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

and the countable version when we refer to a thing made out of the material:
Would you like a glass of wine? (C)
For nouns denoting FOOD the countable version is used when we refer to single
items:
He ate a whole chicken. (C)
I had a boiled egg for breakfast. (C)
while the uncountable version is used when they refer to substances:
Would you like some chicken? (U)
There’s egg on your tie. (U)
Some uncountables when described with an adjective become countable:
The North Sea produces oil. (U) / It produces a light oil. (C)
This region produces wine. (U) / It produces an excellent wine. (C)
Words for DRINKS are normally uncountable but in the context of ordering drinks
they are treated as countables:
Is there some coffee? (U) / I’d like two coffees! (C)
Many uncountable nouns have a countable counterpart that is different lexically:
see a nice little pig (C) luggage (U)
chop trees in the wood (C) cloth (U)
suitcase (C) education (U)
shirt (C) grass (U)
university (C) buy Danish pork (U)

3.3.15. SINGULAR INVARIABLES as proper nouns


Proper nouns usually take the singular and are invariable:
Henry, the Thames

3.3.16. SINGULAR INVARIABLES as nouns ending in –s


The following classes take the singular although they have a plural form:
true plurals used as singulars:
nouns, gallows.
some games:
billiards, darts, dominoes, draughts, bowls.

32
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

3.3.17. PLURAL INVARIABLES as nouns formed out of two parts


Summation plurals consist of two equal parts which are joined and always take
the plural. In order to make them singular and countable ‘a pair of…’ will be used:
a pair of scissors, a pair of trousers.
There are instruments or tools: scissors, tongs, arms, pliers, bellows, glasses,
braces.
articles of dress: drawers, shorts, pants, clothes, flannels, tights,
suspenders (but ‘a suspender belt’).
Some of them in combination take a singular form (as shown in brackets above):
a spectacle case
Many of these nouns can take the indefinite article when premodify:
a garden shears, a curling – tongs.

3.3.18. PLURAL INVARIABLES as proper nouns


Some geographical names appear always in the plural and take a plural verb:
the Netherlands, the Pyrenees
the Alps, the Rockies (the Rocky Mountains)
the Bahamas, the East / West Indies

3.3.19. PLURAL INVARIABLES as nouns ending in –s


Many of them have also a form without –s sometimes with change in meaning or
merely in premodification.
PARTS OF THE BODY: bowels entrails brain(s)
giblets guts
MISCELLANEOUS WORDS: amends annals
troops clothes
customs contents
dregs fireworks
funds goods
looks manners
premises odds
regards remains
spirits spoils
slums wages

33
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

MANY NOUNS ENDING IN –ING: earnings winnings


doings savings
filings tidings
lodgings going-ons
TRUE SINGULARS USED AS PLURALS. By a true singular used as plural we
mean that the final –s is part of the original singular noun and not a sign of the plural. Such
nouns are liable to be considered a plural form on account of the final –s and all (except
summons) are now always used as if they were plurals: alms
riches
eaves

3.3.20. PLURAL INVERIABLES as collective nouns


Some nouns, singular in form, are used only in a plural sense. These are nouns of
multitude: poultry, vermin, cattle, people, gentry, police.
The poultry are doing well.
These cattle are mine.
These vermin do much harm.
These gentry are expected today.
The police are following the thief.

3.3.21. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING


for collective nouns
A collective noun is treated as singular if the rest of the sentence suggests that it is
naming a singular unit –the SINGULAR stresses the non-personal collectivity of the
group:
A good team needs a good captain.
The committee was discussing the proposal and as plural if it suggests a collection
of living things capable of acting separately –the PLURAL stresses the idea of personal
individuality within a group:
The team were taking a shower.
The committee decided to reject the proposal by a vote of five to two.
A collective noun may have a plural form as well and then it always takes the verb
in the plural:
The two teams were on the field.

34
THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

The committees of every school had to get together to take a vote.


SPECIFIC COLLECTIVE NOUNS
There are collective nouns that group living beings or things together. These have a
restrictive usage:
THINGS: ANIMALS: PEOPLE:
a bunch of flowers a gaggle of geese a panel of experts
a bouquet of flowers a pride of lions a trope of dancers
a pack of cards a colony of ants a bevy of girls
a crate of beer a flock of birds a board of directors
a clump of trees a school of fish a tribe of Indians
The rules of concord stand true also for collective nouns designating groups.

3.3.22. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING


for some nouns ending in -ics
Nouns ending in -ics are SINGULAR and take a singular verb when they name
sciences, occupations, arts:
Politics is a difficult science.
but they take PLURAL verbs when they refer to some practical application,
when they express a manifestation of qualities or some behaviour:
His heroics were out of place.
Her ethics leave a lot to be desired.
The reference to some special situation is sometimes recognisable by the presence
of such words as the, this, his, her etc.
The nouns ‘tactics, gymnastics, statistics’ are generally regarded as plurals.

3.3.23. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING


for some adjectives acting as nouns
Adjectives when acting as nouns are always preceded by the definite article:
the young, the old, the beautiful
The following classes of adjectives when acting as nouns take the SINGULAR
concord with the verb and have a singular noun form:
superlatives of adjectives:
the very best, the unknown.
These can be replaced by ‘that which is the very best’ or ‘the very best thing’:

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

The very best is yet to come.


He ventured into the unknown.
qualifying adjectives, when referring to a thing, an abstract notion:
The beautiful is always rendered in poetry.
The following classes of adjectives when acting as nouns take the PLURAL
although they have a singular noun form:
qualifying adjectives when referring to the whole group that is thus characterized:
The beautiful (people) always stand out in a crowd.
The rich (all who are rich) are seldom happy.
adjectives of nationality:
ending in –(i) sh: British, Irish, Spanish, Welsh.
ending in –ch: French, Dutch.
Ending in –ese: Chinese, Japanese.

3.3.24. SINGULAR or PLURAL CONCORD ACCORDING TO MEANING


for some words
‘MEANS’
In the following context the PLURAL is to be found:
The means he has are great. (meaning ‘He is a man of means.’)
When ‘means’ is used with the meaning of ‘a way of’ then the concord will be
SINGULAR.
Is there any means of communication?
‘PEOPLE’
When ‘people’ refers to a group of persons then the PLURAL will be always
used:
The people were out in the streets.
But when ‘people’ means a nationality then the noun becomes countable and may
take both the singular and the plural according to its form.
A people with such a past is liable to start a war. (SG.)
The English – speaking peoples are spread all over the world. (PL.)
‘YOUTH’
When ‘youth’ is used with the meaning of ‘the whole group of young people’ then
it will always take the PLURAL:
The youth of this nation are always rebelling.

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

But the noun ‘youth’ can be used with the meaning of ‘one young person’.
In this case the concord will be done accordingly:
Only one youth disagreed. (SG.)
The police caught several youths. (PL.)
‘HEAD’
The noun ‘head’ may be used in several contexts with different meanings:
When it means ‘a part of the body’ then it is countable and will be used either in
the singular or plural (only when it refers to more individuals) and the concord with the
verb will be done accordingly:
His head had a big bump on the side. (SG.)
They shook their heads. (PL.)
When it is used as a collective number then although the form is singular it will
take a plural concord:
Forty head of cattle were on the ranch. (SG. – form, PL. - concord)
When used in the expression Heads or tails ? referring to a coin the noun takes a
plural concord.
The heads of this coin represent an emperor.

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Chapter 4

Methodological Approch

4.1. Lesson Plans

4.2. Exercises

Supply the blanks with suitable nouns from those in brackets. Use the plural forms:
He threw a stone at the rock and …… came back. (piano, volcano, echo)
The ship was sunk by well – aimed …… . (potato, torpedo, dynamo)
Winter fodder for cattle is kept in …… . (calico, casino, silo)
The opera company was advertising for …… . (octavo, soprano, cuckoo)
The delegates carried their …… . (portfolio, photo, piano)
The …… hit the island with tremendous force. (tornado, hobo, albino)
They threw rotten …… to show their disgust. (tomato, canto, halo)
He was bitten by …… and got malaria. (hero, soprano, mosquito)
There are hundreds of …… along the Mediterranean coast. (hero, casino)
How many …… (hero, cargo, kilo) of …… (tomato, piano, photo) do you need to
make 1 litter of juice?
The ships had as …… (cargo, radio) monkeys called baboons.
There are not many …… (buffalo, soprano) that can sing like her.

State what each of the following is called:


One of the equal parts into which a thing is divided.
Mass of bread cooked as a separate quantity.
State or existence as a being.
Group of people working together under a manager or head.
A sharp blade with a handle, used as a cutting instrument.
Wild, flesh eating animal of the dog family, hunting in packs.
Horny part of the foot of a horse.
Small fairy, mischievous little creature.
Person’s nature; one’s own personality.
Board in a cupboard, bookcase etc.

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Fill in the correct forms of the nouns in brackets:


The (deer) have left their usual pastures.
They don’t even try to hunt (lion); it is too dangerous.
There is no (mean) of learning what is happening.
They say (fish) are good for the brain.
They raise lots of (duck) on their farm.
Despite their size (giraffe) are harmless creatures.
The (Navaho) were almost completely destroyed.
He made a listing by raising (goose).
A (series) of unexpected events prevented him from going on holiday to Scotland.
It’s not allowed to hunt (bear). But still many (bear) are killed.

Fill the correct plural form of the words in brackets:


Do other planets revolve on their …… like the Earth? (axis)
It can be dangerous if chemists make mistakes in their …… . (analysis)
…… are rare in the desert. (oasis)
A great deal of …… was collected by the scientist. (datum)
All good reference books contain …… . (index)
The consul sent several …… back to London. (memorandum)
He spent his time playing with mathematical …… . (formula)
Geologists search the rock …… for valuable minerals. (stratum)
There are not many types of …… around the British coast. (alga)
There have been many international …… since the war. (crisis)
The …… of these lenses are perfect for distance photography. (focus)
What are the …… of success? (criterion)
I’ve always found the idea of …… in algebra rather difficult. (index)
There are many …… of animals. (genus)
…… are exact positions of things. (locus)
The …… of theorists must conform to the real world. (hypothesis)
Past – graduate students have to write …… to obtain their Ph.D.s. (thesis)
The optician found that both his patient’s eyes had defective …… . (retina)
They were all well trained and so they responded like …… .(automaton)
Two …… to the resolution were proposed. (addendum)

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Select the form you consider appropriate in each of the following sentences.
We gather two (basketsful / basketfuls) of apples.
Most successful people have their (hanger-ons / hangers-on).
Traitors and spies are tried by (courts – material / court – materials).
Oil has lots of (by – products / bys – product).
The (commander – in – chiefs / commanders – in - chief) met behind the lines to
discuss military tactics.
A business phenomenon of recent years is the startling rise of (woman executives /
women executives).
(Five – year – olds / five – years - old) always use (toothbrushes / teethbrushes).
The two (women doctors / woman doctors) I introduced you to are excellent
psychiatrists.
(Father – in – law / fathers – in – law) are better – natured creatures than (mothers –
in – laws / mother – in - law).
The (Miss Crumptons / Misses Crumpton) are characters of Dickens’s.
I like (ten – minute – pictures / ten – minutes - pictures).
I’ve only heard of, but I’ve never seen any (men – eaters / man - eaters).
After the age of fifty some bachelors become (woman – haters / women - haters).
The farmer got five (cartloads / cartsload) of hay.
Both his (brother – in – laws / brothers – in - law) are very pleasant fellows.

Fill in suitable nouns chosen from the following list: crossroads, lodgings, streets,
clothes, riches, scales, slums, dregs, eaves, outskirts, tidings, wages, goods, glasses,
sweepings, scissors, credentials, remains, assizes, surroundings, oats.
His …… were so satisfactory that he was made manager.
She found a five-pound note in a heap of street.
The …… ordered were received in due time.
…… are grown in many countries of the world, but they are one of Scotland’s main
crops.
It was a hard winter. Icicles hung from the …… of the houses.
There are …… not only on the …… of London, but also n some other parts of it.
…… seldom bring happiness.
The …… of Gibraltar are very narrow.
He saw the car reel and slither and fail to make the turn at the …… .

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

The …… of our town are not beautiful in spring.


His …… were in a quiet, lovely street.
His …… were wet through; he had been caught in a downpour.
The …… were tested for accuracy.
He looked into the tea cup; only the …… were left.
His face turned ashen at the bad …… .
His …… are ten dollars a week. He takes them home to his wife.
The shock made it necessary that he should constantly wear …… .
These …… are blunt; they are of no use.
In the afternoon they went to use the …… of an old abbey not far from the village.
He was tried at the ……, but discharged due to lack of evidence.
Use the correct form of the verbs:
The students committee (has, have) already held (its, their) monthly meeting.
If the jury (do not, dose not) agree (it, they) must be discharged.
Then there is a new trial with a fresh jury.
The team (was, were) all teenagers.
Britain’s tennis team (has, have) to play eight matches in next year’s competition.
The audience (is, are) requested to remain seated during the intermission.
The audience (has, have) now returned and (is, are) taking (its, their) seats.
Parliament (has, have) been debating on the question of taxation for several hours.
My family (has, have) been living in this house for twenty years.
The family (is, are) all having breakfast.
The majority (was, were) in favour of the proposal.
The club (has, have) expelled him for his behaviour.
The poultry (is, are) eating in the yard.
The police (was, were) on the look-out for robbers.
Decide which of the two verb forms should be used in the following sentences.
Physics (was/were) my most difficult subject in high school.
Ballistics (is/are) the study of the motion of projectiles.
Athletics (has/have) been virtually abolished form smaller schools.
His motives may be good, but his tactics (is/are) deplorable.
In every group, politics (is/are) a subject that arouses interest.
Radical politics (was/were) offensive to the Federalists.
Acoustics (is/are) a branch of science that is growing fast.

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

The acoustics of this room (is/are) not all they might be.
Economics (doesn’t/don’t) require extensive knowledge of mathematics.
His ethics (leave/leaves) a lot to be desired.
Classics (take/takes) a back seat these days.
Einstein’s mathematics (was/were) a revelation.
Tactics (is/are) really short term strategy.
Your heroics (is/are) worthy of a better cause.
Her hysterics (dose/do) not move anybody that knows her.

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Conclusions

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

LESSON PLANS

Date: the 18th of March 2004


Time: 1100 – 1200
Class: a VI-a A
Object: English
Subject: The noun – number
Aim of lesson: to develop the capacity of reading and speaking correctly and fluently; by
the end of the lesson the pupils should be able to use the plural of
Objectives:
O1: the pupils should be able to add –s or –es to the singular nouns to form their
plurals and read them aloud;
O2: should be able to complete each sentence by using the plural form of a noun
ending in /-f/ or /-fe/;
O3: should be able to fill in the blanks with the plural form of a noun, ending in –y;
O4: should be able to change the nouns in the sentences from singular to plural;
Materials: textbooks, copybooks
Teaching methods: conversation, exercises, reading, explanation
Student: Jica Adina Mirela, anul III
Teacher:
Methodologist:

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

STAGES TEACHER AND STUDENTS ACTIVITY DIDACT STRATEGIES TIME


1. LEAD – IN The pupils will have to get ready for the English lesson. -conversation 3’
T: ‘Hello pupils! I am Adina Jica and we will do this lesson
together!’
S: ‘Hello teacher!’
T: ‘Do you have any homework for today?’ -conversation
S: Students will answer which their homework was.
T: ‘Let’s check the homework! Read the homework please! I
will check the homework and correct the pupils’ mistakes if it -conversation 5’
is necessary.
2. CHECKING THE T: ‘What did you learn on the previous English lesson?’
PREVIOUS S: Students will answer me which their previous lesson was. -conversation
KNOLEDGE T: ‘So, you learned about the noun and the plural of nouns.
Who can tell me what is a noun?’
S: ‘A noun is the part of speech used as the name of a person 7’
(girl; John), an animal (dog), a place (park), a job title -explanation
(teacher), a thing (book), an action (writing), a quality
3. TEACHING (bravery), a state (happiness).’
THE NEW T: ‘Please open your books to page 60 and let’s do our first -exercises
LESSON exercise. We will do some exercise referring to noun.’
STAGES

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

TEACHER AND STUDENTS ACTIVITY DIDACT STRATEGIES TIME


4. FREE We have exercise no. 18. You will have to add –s or –es to the -exercise
PRACTICE singular nouns to form their plural and read them aloud:
map; queen; monk; bench; teacher; box; girl; write; photo; 10’
house; city; chair; watch; classroom; orange; mother; embargo;
month; kilo; bush; wave; vase; day; fox; adult; dish; husband. -conversation
I will ask students to write this exercise on the blackboard and
also in their copybooks.
Now, pay attention, because we will do another type of
exercise.
This is exercise number 19 to the same page, 60.
You will have to complete each sentence below by using the
plural form of a noun ending in /-f/ or /-fe/: -exercise 5’
1. A man who has two …… is a bigamist.
2. The …… of all trees are green in spring.
3. I do not share your …… in his ability.
4. The old hunter heard a pack of …… in the distance.
5. There were two small …… hidden behind the picture
on the wall.
6. Grannies cow gave birth to two …… . -exercise
7. Everybody knows that two …… are equal to a whole

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

one.
8. The still - …… of this painter are really wonderful.
9. Butchers use very sharp …… to cut up meat.
10. We have ordered several …… of a new type of grass to
make our lawn
This exercise will be .write on the blackboard by the
students. -exercise
In our next exercise we’ll have to change the nouns in the 10’
following sentences from singular to plural: Who wants to read
it?
1. The leaf fell from the tree.
2. The boy has a knife.
3. The policeman caught the thief.
4. The foot of the deer crushed the flower. -exercise
5. The woman was carrying a baby.
6. The little child saw a sheep in the fields.
7. Our cat has just caught a mouse.
8. The man looked at the book on the shelf. 5’
In the end I’ll give them homework. -conversation
‘Your homework is exercise number 22, page 61. You will
have to insert the correct plural in each space.’

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

5. LEAD-OUT
‘I hope you enjoy this English class!’ -conversation 5’
‘Good-bye children!’
‘Good-bye teacher!’

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Lesson Plan

Class: a VI-a A
Date: 24.03.2004
Time: 50 minutes
Object: English
Subject: The plural of nouns – exercises
Aim of Lesson: By the end of the class, the students should be able to
communicate and to respond to questions, to talk about nouns and to use correctly
the plural of nouns.
Objectives:
O1: the pupils should be able to change the nouns from singular to plural;
O2: the pupils should be able to insert the correct plural in each space;
O3: the pupils should be able to translate into English
O4: the pupils should be able to speak correctly and fluently.
Materials: textbook, copybook
Student: Adina Jica
Teacher:
Methodologist:

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Stages Teacher and students activity Didactic Strategies Time


1. Lead-in The students will have to get ready for the English lesson “Hello pupils!” I am your Conversation 5’
teacher today. I know this thing
2. Checking Let’s check your homework. I suppose you had homework for today. Read the
the previous homework pleas. I’ll check your homework, pleas give me your copybooks to correct the
knowledge mistakes if it is necessary Conversation 10’
What did you learn on the previous English lesson?
The students will tell me which their previous lesson was. They learned about noun and
the plural of nouns.
3. Teaching the Open your books to page 82. Let’s have a look to the grammar exercises
new lesson Who wants to read exercises number 17?
“Change the nouns in the following sentences from singular to plural:
1. The leaf fell from the tree.
2. The boy has a knife.
3. The policeman caught the thief. Exercise
4. The geologist studied the volcano. 5’
5. The ox was grazing near that bush.
6. This Chinese has a dozen boxes of matches.
7. The foot of his child is badly hurt.”
This exercise will be done to the blackboard and the rest of the class will write on their
copybook.

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Stages Teacher and students activity Didactic Strategies Time


Let’s have a look to exercise number 8. You will have to insert the correct plural in each Exercise
space below: 10’
1. one pansy – a bunch of …
2. one goose – ton …
3. one foot – two …
4. one larva – a lot of …
5. one bacillus – a lot of … Exercise
6. one penny – five …
7. one grief – two …
8. one sheep – two …
9. one loaf – two …
10. one fish – five …
Write this exercise into your copybooks. Exercise
4. Free Practice Now, shut your books and respond to this questions:
What is a noun?
A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea. Nouns
are usually the first words which small children learn.
What functions can have a noun in a sentence? 15’
A noun can function in a sentence as a subject, a direct object, a subject complement, an
object complement, an appositive, an adjective or an adverb.

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

Stages Teacher and students activity Didactic Strategies Time


For the next time you’ll have to translate from Romanian to English 10 sentences.
5. Lead-out – Good-by children. Don’t forget about your homework! Conversation 3’
– Good by teacher!

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THE PLURAL OF NOUNS

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