Count and Noncount Nouns
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Count and Noncount Nouns – Grammar & test
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- Using A vs. An
- (a)I have a pencil.
- (b) I live in an apartment.
- (c) Have a small apartment.
- (d) I live in an old building.
- A and an are used in front of a singular noun (e.g. pencil, apartment). They mean “one”.
- If a singular noun is modified by an adjective (e.g. small, old), “a” or “an” comes in front of the adjective, as in (c) and (d).
- “A” is used in front of words that begin with a consonant (b, c, d, f, g, etc.); a boy, a bad day, a cat, a cute baby.
- “An” is used in front of words that begin with the vowels (a, e, i, and o); an apartment, an angry man, an elephant, an empty room, etc.
- I have an umbrella.
- I saw an ugly picture.
- I attend a university.
- I had a unique experience.
- For words that begin with the letter “u”:
- “An” is used if the “u” is a vowel sound, as in an umbrella, an uncle, an unusual day.
- “A” is used if the “u” is a consonant sound, as in a university, a unit, a usual event.
- He will arrive in an hour.
- New Year’s Day is a holiday.
- For words that being with the letter “h”:
- “An” is used if the “h” is silent: an hour, an honor, an honest person.
- “A” is used if the “h” is pronounced: a holiday, a hotel, a high point.
COUNT AND NONCOUNT NOUNS
- A count noun:
- Can be counted with numbers: one chair, two chairs, ten chairs, etc.
- Can be preceded by a/an in the singular: a chair.
- Has a plural form of ending in –s or –es: chairs.
|Count noun||a chair||Ø chairs|
|one chair||two chairs|
- A noncount noun:
- Cannot be counted with numbers.
Incorrect: one furniture ×
- Is NOT immediately preceded by a/an.
Incorrect: a furniture ×
- Does NOT have a plural form (no final –s)
Incorrect: furnitures ×
- Noncount nouns usually refer to a whole group of things that is made up of many individual parts, a whole category made up of different varieties.
For example: “furniture” is a noncount noun; it describes a whole category of things: chairs, tables, beds, etc.
Individual parts = the whole
Chairs – tables – beds – etc. = furniture
- Mail, fruit, and jewelry are other examples of noncount nouns that refer to a whole category made up of individual parts.
- Letters, postcards, bills, etc. = mail
- Apples, bananas. Oranges, etc. = fruit
- Rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. = jewelry
Some common noncount nouns: whole groups made up of individual parts
More Noncount Nouns
- Solids and semi-solids
- Things that occur in nature:
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