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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
Singular count nouns 1

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Singular count nouns 2

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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 2

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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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Plural count nouns 4

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Plural count nouns 5

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Comments

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

Thanks, Jonathan for the enlightening answers. And, I am sorry for the confusion. You're right. The spelling issue was caused by my browser. When I set a new program or something like that I always choose English(UK) option. Anyway, I changed my language setting to the English(UK). I thank you and am sorry again.

No worries at all :)

Jonathan 

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Could you please help me? Which one is correct?
1- One and a half hours are allowed for the exam.
2- One and a half hours is allowed for the exam.
Thank you. Really, I appreciate your efforts.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Since 'hours' is plural, 1 is the correct choice.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much for your quick reply.
What about the following sentence?
- Five hours is not enough to do this job.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

That's a good point. In this case, I think both 'is' and 'are' are OK. 'hours' is plural and so it's easy to see why 'are' is correct given that. But often people say 'is' here because 'Five hours' is conceptualized as a single period of time and therefore is conceptualized as a single (countable) subject.

Hope that's not too confusing.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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