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
Plural count nouns 1

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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
Plural count nouns 3

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Plural count nouns 4

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Plural count nouns 5

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Hello Maruthi,

That is correct: when you use a quantifier like 'a few', 'some' or 'lots of', or when you use a number, countable nouns must be plural.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zagrus on Sat, 09/11/2013 - 14:38

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Hello, could you tell me the exact usages of the words " love" and "like". I get confused which one to use in my conversations. thanks in advance

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 13/11/2013 - 12:33

In reply to by zagrus

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Hello zagrus,

Generally speaking, in most contexts 'love' is a stronger version of 'like'.  For example:

'Do you like horror films?'

'Oh yes, in fact I absolutely love them!'

I don't think there's anything more complex to it than that, but please reply if there's a specific example that you'd like me to comment on.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Thanks Mr. Peter for your help. Actually, when I tell my male students that I love them they start looking at each other in a suspicious way. So which one would be better " I love you " or " I like you" and what is the difference between these two sentences? thanks in advance

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 15/11/2013 - 13:23

In reply to by zagrus

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Hello zagrus,

If we are talking about activities or objects, then 'love' is simply a stronger form of 'like'.  For example:

'I like playing football' > 'I really like playing football' > 'I love playing football'

'I like ice-cream' > 'I really like ice-cream' > 'I love ice-cream'

However, if we are talking to or about people, then the context is different and the meaning can be different, with 'love' meaning something romantic and deeply emotional rather than simply being a positive opinion on a person.  Of course, context is vital.  I can say 'I love Gene Hackman' and mean simply that he is one of my favourite actors, but if I were to say 'I love you' to a friend of mine then they may well understand something different and altogether more romantic.  On the other hand, if I said to a group 'I love you guys' then it would not have any romantic meaning.  As I said, context is vital.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Zelia Freitas on Sun, 20/10/2013 - 16:00

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Is great, i need practise my English :) Just listen is what i need most :)
Hi Zelia, In case you hadn't seen it, I just wanted to point out that we have a lot of materials that you can use to practice your listening. Just click on "Listen & Watch" above, and you'll find hours and hours of audio and video that you can watch and listen to. Best wishes, Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Alejandero on Wed, 17/07/2013 - 14:58

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HI......

Can we discuss the tow options of question no .8 ;please .

Hi Alejandero,

What would you like to know about them?  The word 'lorry' is a countable noun, so after 'a lot of' it must be plural - i.e. 'lorries' not 'lorry'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by amna7994 on Thu, 04/07/2013 - 07:26

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Good morning,

in question no.2 why the answer is children and not child ?

and please if there is any grammar mistakes or my sentences are not correct please correct it

Thank you

Hello amna7994,

The answer is 'children' because the verb 'watch' is a plural form ('they watch').  If the answer was 'child' then the verb would be 'watches' ('he/she/it watches').

I'm afraid we can't correct the English of LearnEnglish users because there are simply so many!  It takes all our our team's time just to answer the questions, so you'll have to ask your teacher to help you with correction.

Best wishes, and good luck with your learning,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sirilak999 on Tue, 04/06/2013 - 05:55

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thank you for you , l like this web site ^^

Submitted by Kankool on Sat, 25/05/2013 - 03:12

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Hi, I'm kankool. This webside is really usefull for me, I just stay at home and improve my english skill here without go to any english centrer or class. And I have a question about plural nouns that Plural count nouns do not have a determiner when they refer to people or things as a group but in the question 12/12, "The most interesting ________ I have visited are in Asia" why we chose countries but not country, it has determiner "the" at first
I hope this is not a idiot question :)

Hi kankool,

Nice to hear that you find the site useful.

A very clever person once told me that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers, and your question is a good one... I hope my answer is good too!

The sentence has 'the' at the beginning because it has a superlative adjective ('the most interesting') and all superlatives have a definite article.  However, I'm not sure what you mean when you say that plural count nouns do not have a determiner when they refer to people or things as a group.  They can have a determiner if, for example, the sentence makes it clear that we are talking about a specific group.  For example, I might say:

The countries that I visited last year are in Asia.

This sentence has a definite article because the countries that we are talking about are specific - not just any countries but the specific ones I visited last year.  There's no problem using a definite article with these nouns.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Dear Peter, The explanation in 'Plural forms' under 'Count noun' section indicates "Plural count nouns do not have a determiner when they refer to people or things as a group". However, the above explanation implies Plural count noun can have a determiner when the sentence talks about a specific group (Assuming hearer / reader knows exactly what is referred). May I understand from your explanation that determiner 'the' can be used for countable plural nouns and indefinite articles 'a/an' shall not be used for countable plural nouns. Thanks in advance. Regards, Jayakumar

Hello Jayakumar,

When we use a plural noun to refer to things as a group (in other words, with a general meaning about all items of this type) then there is no article:

Computers are expensive. [computers in general]

When we want to refer to a specific group (this group and not that group) then we use a definite article.

The computers in this shop are expensive. [the computers in this shop]

The indefinite article 'a' ('an') is only used with singular countable nouns.

I wrote a long answer about how we use articles with general meaning yesterday. You can find it here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by minhchau2119 on Tue, 23/04/2013 - 07:50

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hello. 

I'm Chau. I learn a lot of new words and how to use English in my work. 

I have a question about plural form of nouns end -o, we add es ?? 

example: tomato plural tomatoes, or potato plural form potatoes

I didn't see mentioned above grammar of plural of noun ending in -o.

Hello Chau!

 

That's a good question! However, the rules for words ending in -o are a little ocmplicated. The two examples you give, potato and tomato both end in -es, but zoo adds -s - one rule is that words with two Os, or another vowel then an O end in -s. 

 

However, there aren't many words ending in -o in English, and a good dictionary (like our online Cambridge dictionary!) will tell you the ending you need - so don't worry about it too much!

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team 

Submitted by Aga0983 on Mon, 04/03/2013 - 13:42

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Hi there,

Could someone please tell me if some and any is compulsory before uncountable nouns and plurals? Or can we skip it? For example:

1) I need cotton wool or I need some cotton wool?

2) I need help or I need some help?

3) Can I have some tablets please or can I have tablets please?

4) There are some chairs in the room or There are chairs in the room.

5) They're books or They're some books ( this one sounds weird with some)

6) She has money or She has some money, ( I think the meaning here is different. First one means she's rich and the second one that she has some money on her?)

7) There aren't any books on the desk or There aren't books on the desk?

8) I need syrup or I need some syrup or I need a syrup ( a = one bottle of syrup)

9) It's nice furniture or It's a nice piece of furniture?

I know it's a lot but could someone please explain this to me? I get the rules but would like to know if it is compulsory to use some, any or a piece of  etc before plural and uncountable nouns?

Submitted by seham fadL on Fri, 15/02/2013 - 12:25

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Hi Adam,

(some new books; a few books; lots of good ideas)

These examples (books, books, ideas) have a quantifier, aren't they Plural?

Why are they mentioned in Singular count nouns section?

Please explain it to me, Thanks.

Submitted by zagrus on Tue, 29/01/2013 - 06:20

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Hi, 

 Which one is correct: Pg. 31,32 and 33 or Pgs. 31,32 and 33

Submitted by Lathankan on Tue, 04/12/2012 - 14:24

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I love this site

 

Submitted by Anthonis on Sat, 03/11/2012 - 10:30

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Your website is very good for beginners. But it would be very helpful if you could add lessons for intermediate and advanced learners.


Thanks a lot.


Anthony

Submitted by Biswajit Chakraborty on Mon, 09/07/2012 - 19:12

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very very soft learning English.

Submitted by Lesley Rickard on Fri, 15/06/2012 - 16:01

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I would like you to clarify the point above concerning singular count nouns.  Under the quantifier and numeral headings you have used plural nouns to illustrate the teaching point.  This has raised some confusion amongst students.  Thanks.

Submitted by mizztrizzy on Wed, 23/05/2012 - 05:28

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Submitted by maano on Mon, 13/02/2012 - 07:07

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is ''The  soldiers'' a proper noun?

Submitted by maano on Mon, 13/02/2012 - 06:49

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can we use ''angry'' as an abstract noun, showing state of some person

Submitted by Anastasia Rybina on Thu, 12/01/2012 - 17:22

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Submitted by ervisi on Tue, 10/01/2012 - 08:31

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