Click here to go back to the homepage to learn English...
Log in!

Click here to log in
New account
4 million accounts created!
JOIN our free club and learn English now!



  • Home
  • Print
  • Guestbook
  • Report a bug




  • GREAT!
    Get a free English lesson every week! 2 MILLION subscribers!
    Click here!







    Partners:
    - Our other sites
       


    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #105884: Uncountables and Countables
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Plural [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Plural - Countable or Uncountable? - Plural - Plural of nouns - Plural: Nouns ending in -ff, -f, -fe - Irregular plurals - Agreement of subject and verb - Count Nouns-Proper Nouns
    > Double-click on words you don't understand


    Uncountables and Countables


     

    When studying a noun phrase, one of the most important points is to know whether the different nouns used are COUNTABLES (which means that you can count them) or UNCOUNTABLES ( which means that it's impossible to do it ! ). As a matter of fact, this distinction has a lot of consequences on the use and the construction of these nouns. 


    I) THE UNCOUNTABLES :

    1) Characterictics of the Uncountables:

    - They have no plural. The verb which accompanies them is ALWAYS IN THE SINGULAR.

    ex : Your hair is too long ! You should have it cut !

    - In front of them, it's impossible to have a number [(either a cardinal one : one, two, three... etc.) or an ordinal one : (first, second, third ...)], 'few/a few/many', nor the indefinite article :  'a/an'.

    - An Uncountable can be preceded by 'some, any, no', 'little', 'a little', much, this/that (but not 'these/ those' [which are plurals].

    If we want to be more precise, 'a lot of',  or'a piece of'... or even, the absence of indefinite article must be used.

    ex : How many pieces of luggage did you bring ? I can find only two (pieces of furniture)!


    2) What are the Uncountables ?

    - They are concrete nouns  expressing materials (cotton, iron, gold, velvet ...), food (chocolate, butter, beer, tea, wine ...)

    ex : What a disaster ! You've run out of chocolate ...  

    - human activities  : business, work, swimming, housing, etc.

    ex : Business is slack just now ...

    ex : All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ! BUT ... All play and no work makes Jack a silly boy !

    - Nouns belonging to a set of matching pieces :

                ** concrete nouns : furniture, luggage in British English - baggage in American English.

    ex : She has too much furniture in a tiny room ... and it's not good quality !

                ** abstract nouns corresponding to French plurals (and perhaps in other languages too): information, advice, progress, the news, knowledge, evidence, nonsense, trouble, etc.

    ex : 'You've made so much progress recently !' 'Yes, I knew that my father's advice was good, and I followed it  !'

                **  Nouns concerning the weather: weather, thunder, lightning, smoke ...

    ex : We had terrible weather during our weekend there !

    II) COUNTABLES :

    Characteristics of countables :

    - They indicate elements which can be counted : Therefore, they can  be used either in the singular or in the plural.

    - They can be preceded by a number (either cardinal or ordinal), by 'many', 'few', 'a few', 'several', 'these' and 'those', 'a' ou 'an' ...

    ex : Many students were punished because several of them had cheated and only a few confessed it !

    III) EITHER ONE OR THE OTHER :

    - some nouns can be countables sometimes, and uncountables at other times..

    ex : TIME : Uncount. = 'Time flies !'

    ex :               Count. =  I hope you're having a good time.

    -  Some singular (strange !) plurals  and singulars  ...

    ** They end with an -s and YET, they're singulars : 'Mathematics' ; 'Economics' ; 'the News' ; 'the United States' + IS ...

    ex : Mathematics was so difficult ...It was my worst nightmare !

    ex : For a lot of immigrants, the United States was the land of milk and honey !

    *** Some are OFTEN followed by a verb in the plural : 'the government' (when you consider its different members), 'the audience' (considered as many individuals together ...), 'family' (When we consides all its members ...), 'the crowd' (a group of individuals) , 'sheep' (when part of a herd).

    ex : Our family were supporting us through our grief ...

    **** Others are ALWAYS followed by a verb in the plural : 'the police' (if you want to mention a single man, you must specify : 'a policeman'), 'clothes', 'cattle'.

    ex : The police are investigating a murder in the neighbourhood.

    ***** A few have the same form in the singular and in the plural : A TV series => 'a series' => 'series';  'a means' = a way to do something => 'means of transportation' ....

    ex : There's a means to get help !

    Well ! Now, you must be ready for the exercice ... an easy one ... Good luck !

     

     

     

     

     

                                                                  

     

     

     

     





    Twitter Share
    English exercise "Uncountables and Countables" created by here4u with The test builder
    Click here to see the current stats of this English test

    Please log in to save your progress.


    1) 'The US a huge, plentiful country. I'd like to live and study there !' : the Mexican girl thought...
    2) I know I say and do ... but I'd like to get away with as as possible !
    3) This clown looks ridiculous ! His blue and long, and his much too short ! Poor guy !
    4) 'The News to you by Kevin Smith ! As the € and the $ are going up, good news today ! '
    5) Listen to your sister 's really good !
    6) I really need about Immigration to the US. There that nobody could give me... That's a difficult situation...
    7) 'No more than per person', Dad had said... Oh dear, where shall I put my 'comfort elephant' ? Good ! I have pockets... and one of them is as huge as a kangaroo's !
    8) Alas ! There that the world economy is going through a crisis just now !
    9) I'm hopeless at Maths and yet, I do a lot ! Mathematics me... I suppose it's because I don't love Maths either ! ;0)
    10) Some Mexicans go down to the sewers to become illegals... very dangerous means of entering the USA !








    End of the free exercise to learn English: Uncountables and Countables
    A free English exercise to learn English.
    Other English exercises on the same topic : Plural | All our lessons and exercises



    Share : Facebook / Google+ / Twitter / ...