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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
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
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Plural count nouns 4

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Plural count nouns 5

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Comments

Please help me to understand the use of these two words
The mountain is too dangerous to (climb - be climbed).
The ladder is too long to (put - be put) on the car.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Both options are possible and can be used interchangeably.

In terms of the grammar, the difference is in the choice of an active voice infinitive (to put) or a passive voice infinitive (to be put). We can rephrase the sentences as follows:

The ladder is too long (for me/someone) to put on the car.

The ladder is too long to be put (by me/someone) on the car.

 

This page deals with count nouns rather than active and passive voice. Please try to post questions on relevant pages as it helps to keep the site organised. Your questions and our answers may be helpful to other users learning about the topic and they will find the information more easily if it is on a relevant page.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Please, Help me to differentiate between these two words, (each, both). Some colleagues say that "both" is the only correct one but some others argue that "each" is also correct.
My parents each/both have a mobile phone.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

In this example both words are possible.

In general, 'each' refers to the individuals separately, while 'both' refers to them as a pair. In some situations this is important. For example:

There were two boys. I gave each £10 to each. [£10 for one and £10 for the other]

There were two boys. I gave £10 to both. [this could mean £10 for one and £10 for the other, or it could mean £10 for them to share]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Some of my colleagues say that "each" is not correct as it must have a singular verb "has", what do you say?
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

My answer was in the first reply: In this example both words are possible.

In modern English many people use a plural verb after 'each'. In fact, I would say that it is far more common now to use a plural verb than it is to use a singular verb. It is an example of how the language changes over time.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Are "every" and "each" in this sentence correct?
2- To solve the economic problem, every/each citizen must pay taxes.
Thank you.

Hello again Ahmed Imam,

Yes, both are possible here – please see my comment just below for an explanation of the difference between 'each' and 'every'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Please help me to understand the use of these two words (each, every).
Ex: Tom has seen a lot of films this month. He enjoyed each/every one of them.
Are both of them correct or only one?
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

It's possible to use either 'each' or 'every' in this sentence. There is a slight different of emphasis between them, though essentially the mean the same thing. If you say 'each', you put more emphasis on each individual film – it's as if you were imagining Tom enjoying one film at a time. If you say 'every', there is no emphasis on each individual film – you imagine them more as a group than with 'each'.

Sometimes people use both and say 'each and every one of them'. This is just another way emphasising that he liked each film.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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