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Count nouns

Count nouns have two forms: singular and plural.

Singular count nouns refer to one person or thing:

a teacher a book a wish an idea

Plural count nouns refer to more than one person or thing:

teachers books wishes ideas

Singular count nouns

Singular count nouns cannot be used alone. They must have a determiner:

the English teacher that book a wish my latest idea
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Plural count nouns

We usually add –s to make a plural noun:

book > books
school > schools
friend > friends

We add –es to nouns ending in –s, –ch, –sh, –ss, –x and –o:  

class > classes
watch > watches
gas > gases
wish > wishes
box > boxes
potato > potatoes

When a noun ends in a consonant and –y, we make the plural with –ies:

lady > ladies
country > countries
party > parties

If a noun ends in a vowel and –y, we simply add –s:

boy > boys
day > days
play > plays

Some common nouns have irregular plurals:

man > men
woman > women
child > children
person > people
foot > feet
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Plural count nouns do not have a general determiner when they refer to people or things in general:

Computers are very expensive.
Do you sell old books?

But they may have a specific determiner:

Those computers are very expensive.
The books in that shop are very expensive. 
Her sisters live there.

or a quantifier:

some new books a few teachers lots of good ideas

or a numeral:

two new books three wishes
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Comments

Sir, 2 days back I saw in a sop opera a board on a shop like 'Shop on sell' . I have always understood 'sell' as a verb and 'sale' as its noun , and have never seen usage of 'see' as a noun. I checked in the cambridge dictionary and there I found 1 last meaning of 'sell' as a noun - though most of the explanation and examples for 'sell' in the dictionary is for its meaning as verb only. And they are very unlikely to be wrong in the sop opera , which is one of the most widely seen in India. Sir, how do I understand the difference between two nouns - 'sell' and 'sale' - and how do I decide on their usage. Thank you Regards Dipak R Gandhi

Hello dipakrgandhi,

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I can't think of a context in which 'Shop on sell' would be correct, at least in standard British or American English. If I owned a shop and wanted to sell it, I'd use a sign saying 'Shop for sale'.

It sounds to me as if you already understand the difference between 'sale' and 'sell'.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello teacher, i have a question related to number :
What is the plural form of number : one, two, three. Is it ones, twos, threes ?
In these sentences:
There are two number three in the lottery.
There are two numbers three in the lottery.
There are twos three in the in the lottery.
Which one is correct, and which one also acceptable in use ?
Thanks !

Hello Jack,

The plural forms of numbers are regular when the word is used as a noun: ones, twos, threes etc. 

None of your examples are correct, I'm afraid! The correct form is as follows:

There are two number threes in the lottery.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please give me some more examples about number in plural form teacher, i try to find it in google but couldn't find any.
Thanks

Hello again Jack,

To use numbers as plurals you need to use them as nouns rather than as numbers. In other words, you need to be describing something real and not just saying how many things there are.

 

In a pack of playing cards there are four suits. Each suit has numbers from 2 to 10, plus the jack, queen, king and ace. You can say therefore that there are four twos in the pack, four threes, four fours etc.

 

You can also use the plural form of numbers to mean 'groups of':

People sat in two and threes around the lake. [groups of two or three people]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Happy New Year. I would like to ask if the following is correct
We will see how the news cover events or
how news cover events or how media cover events
Thank you in advance

Hello Nagie23,

Here I'd use 'the media': 'how the media cover events'. In this usage, 'the media' refers to organisations that report (or 'cover') current events -- the reporting or the things reported are called 'the news'.

Does that make sense?

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, The Team.
I have three questions:
There are 3 cars in front of my house. But these cars have different colour.
My first question is "These cars have different colour" or "different colours" with an 's'?

My second question is, which one is correct? Saying, "There are white, black, and green cars in front of my house." or I will say with "car" as a single "There is white, black and green car in front of my house." for the reason their colour is different.

And My third question is, I realised when I write "colour, realise" in British way in the comment, the red colour appears under the vocabularies. I wonder why The British Council don't except these kinds of writing.

Thanks for your reply in advance.

Hi knownman,

Good questions! I'll put my answers below.

  1. It should be colours (with 's'). Also, it would be more common to say These cars are different colours (instead of 'have').
  2. This should be cars too. You can also say There's a white car, a black car and a green car ... if you want to use the singular 'car'. It's a bit repetitive, though. But if you say There is a white, black and green car, it means there's only one car, with all three colours on it.
  3. This isn't to do with this website - we don't use any spellchecking programs for user comments. I wonder if the language setting on your browser or computer/device is set to US English or another type of English? And those words absolutely are acceptable here, of course :)

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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