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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Maahir 提交于 周日, 26/09/2021 - 08:36

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Hi there, I was wondering if we can say persons instead of people. I see some people use persons as the plural form of person. so is it grammatically correct?

Hi Maahir,

People is always used when we are talking about nations or ethnic groups: the French people, the Japanese people etc. When we are talking about several different groups we can even use a plural form of this word: the peoples of Africa.

 

People is also much more common when we talk about groups of individuals:

There are ten people in the room.

The match was watched by 100,000 people.

 

Persons is reserved for very formal contexts:

Any persons trespassing will be prosecuted.

 

You can read a good explanation here:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/person-persons-or-people

 

For a more detailed discussion including some historical analysis you can look here:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/people-vs-persons

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周六, 26/06/2021 - 12:17

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Hello team. Is it correct to say "jobs opportunities" as in the following example? I think it is 100% wrong and it must be " job opportunities", right? - Being jobless and illiterate are the main factors of committing crimes, so it is necessary to create jobs opportunities for young people. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Yes, you are right. 'job opportunities' is a noun-noun combination, and in noun-noun combinations of this type, the first word is always in the singular.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周三, 02/06/2021 - 21:15

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Hello. Is the following sentence correct? If so, could you please explain more about that? - The projects carried out all over the country is the result of hard work. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

No, I'm afraid that is not correct. 'projects' is plural and so the verb 'is' should also be plural ('are').

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

dipakrgandhi 提交于 周一, 08/03/2021 - 12:05

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Sir, this is the comment my friend posted on the WhatsApp group on the occasion of Women's day : Happy Women's day to the spouses of my friends. Now I can very well understand the intended meaning of the message, and the reason he used the plural 'spouses' - each friend having one ! My question : Can the message also mean the spouses of each friend - as if each friend has more than one wife - as he has written 'spouses of friends', though he doesn't intend it. Thank you ! Regards !

Hello dipakrgandhi,

Yes, indeed, that sentence is ambiguous. It could refer to one or many.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周二, 02/03/2021 - 19:27

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Hello Team. I'm in a restaurant. Which one is correct? - I'd like (a - no article) chicken, please. Not some. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

If you say 'I'd like a chicken' then you mean a whole chicken. You'd perhaps say this in a shop, but not a restaurant.

If you say 'I'd like chicken' then you are making a general statement about the kind of food you are interested in. The waiter might respond by showing you all the possible options which include chicken.

If you want to ask for a particular version of a dish which can have different ingredients then you would usually use 'the': 'I'd like the chicken' in the sense of 'not the beef or the fish options'.

If you are talking about particular dishes then you can use either 'the' or no article: 'I'd like (the) chicken in lemon sauce', 'I'd like (the) chicken tandoori' etc.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter. Please be patient with me. You said, "If you say 'I'd like a chicken' then you mean a whole chicken. You'd perhaps say this in a shop, but not a restaurant." When I'm to pay for the food I have had at a restaurant, I have to pay for the amount or number of things I have eaten. So how to talk about the amount of "chicken" or numbers of "chickens" I had? I hope you get what I mean. Thank you.

Nevı 提交于 周四, 25/02/2021 - 13:18

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Hi I want to learn something. I have been learning prepositional phrases act as an adjective. For example,"book on the table." But I am confused when I am trying to write following sentence "I am going to school on Monday" Is it also adjectival phrase? or different thing? Could you explain Thanks a lot

Hello Nevı,

Prepositional phrases can have adjectival or adverbial functions.

 

As adjectives, prepositional phrases answer the question 'Which one?'

the book on the table

the man by the car

 

As adverbs, prepositional phrases answer the questions 'Where?', 'When?', 'Who with?' or 'How?'

dance in the club

meet on Saturday

go with my friend

 

In your example, on Monday has an adverbial function.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Got that teacher.But I don't understand one thing. I want to explain in this example sentence; "China is collaborated with Argentina on buying Vaccines." Here, Is "with Argentina" an adverb? or a prepositional object? My book says prepositional object? İn Your example sentence (go with my friend), you said 'with my friend' acts an adverb -Could you tell me please How I can seperate prepositional object and prepositional adverb? Thank you (I am working English by myself)

Hello again Nevı,

I think you're confusing two separate things here: what the prepositional phrase is comprised of and how it is used in the sentence.

 

A prepositional phrase contains a preposition (with) and the object of that preposition (my friend). These are the elements which make it up.

 

The prepositional phrase's function in the sentence is a different thing. This can be adjectival (describing a noun) or adverbial (adding information about an action).

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

dipakrgandhi 提交于 周四, 25/02/2021 - 06:54

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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

Thank you Sir, But, there is a last entry for 'sell' in the cambridge dictionary which explains 'sell' as a noun also . It also asks us to compare this noun 'sell' with 'sale'. And that is what I wish to know from you - the usage of noun 'sell' and noun 'sale' Thank you Regards

Hello dipakrgandhi,

The usage of the noun 'sell' is shown in the example sentences on the Cambridge Dictionary page. I'd suggest you also look up 'sell' in other dictionaries (here's one, here's another) to see other explanations.

I'd be happy to explain the way 'sell' was used on the sign that you spoke about if it were used correctly, but it is not used correctly. I'm afraid I can't explain why they've used it incorrectly.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Jack 提交于 周日, 21/02/2021 - 15:58

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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

Nagie23 提交于 周日, 03/01/2021 - 17:18

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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

knownman 提交于 周一, 14/12/2020 - 20:28

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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.

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周六, 24/10/2020 - 18:41

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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.
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

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周二, 20/10/2020 - 08:49

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Hello. Please! Which one is correct? Why - There are fewer pirates today than in the past. - There are less pirates today than in the past. Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

We use less with uncountable nouns and fewer with countable nouns. 'Pirates' is a countable noun. Therefore, the first sentence is correct.

 

Note that not all native speakers use standard grammar forms all the time, so you may well hear people using less with countable nouns. It may be that the language will change in the future, but for now the rule is as stated above.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

CHÉKYTAN 提交于 周二, 01/09/2020 - 13:21

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Dear Sir, This is about noun phrases. Following phrases are noun phrases. Do we need to use comma between noun phrases when using it with actual sentence? an eight-year, old boy with a gun, who tried to rob a sweet shop that girl over there, in a green dress, drinking a Coke

Hello Chekytan,

I'd say your question is more about punctuation than about noun phrases. Punctuation is usually something done at the level of the sentence -- in other words, I'd need to see the complete sentences these phrases are a part of to be able to recommend adequate punctuation.

But, at a glance, I can say that the second one would probably be OK in many situations. The second one would probably be punctuated something like 'an eight-year-old boy with a gun who tried to rob a sweet shop'. But as I said, it depends on the complete sentence it is a part of.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir, which group of sentences is correct, especially about the usage of punctuation? Some people saw an eight-year old boy, with a gun, who tried to rob a sweet shop. I love that girl over there, in a green dress, drinking a Coke. or Some people saw an eight-year old boy with a gun who tried to rob a sweet shop. I love that girl over there in a green dress drinking a Coke.

Hello CHEKYTAN,

In your second sentence you should say 'the green dress' rather than 'a green dress'.

As far as punctuation goes, I think the most likely option for the first sentence is this:

Some people saw an eight-year old boy with a gun, who tried to rob a sweet shop.

 

For the second sentence there are various possibilities. You could have no comma:

I love that girl over there in the green dress drinking a Coke.

Alternatively, you could include one or more commas:

I love that girl over there, in the green dress, drinking a Coke.

It really depends on the context and the author's intention and style.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

anie1 提交于 周一, 11/11/2019 - 14:12

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Hello, I would like to ask which of the following is correct 1.The house has got a lot of windows or 2. The house has got lots of windows? Thank you in advance

anie1 提交于 周六, 26/10/2019 - 15:03

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Hello I would like to ask which of the following is correct 1.The house is close to shops, schools and mall Or 2.The house is close to the shops, the schools and a mall? Thank you in advance

Hello agie,

Neither is incorrect. As is often the case with articles, it depends upon the context in which the sentence is used and what knowledge is already shared between the interlocutors.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

anie1 提交于 周六, 26/10/2019 - 15:01

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Hello, I would like to ask you which of the following is correct When we sell a house we say. 1.The good/bad thing is that it has a small garden and a small kitchen or 2. The good /bad things are the..and the.. Thank you in advance

anie1 提交于 周五, 25/10/2019 - 10:46

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Hello, I would like to ask if the following is correct 1.When we post a video or photo from our holidays, and send it to friends can we say Hello /Goodmorning from Italy/Rome etc The preposition from is ok? Thank you in advance

Hello agie

Yes, 'from' is correct and very commonly used in this kind of sentence.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

anie1 提交于 周二, 22/10/2019 - 16:54

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Hello, I would like to ask which of the following is correct 1.He is the Basketball player who played for the LA team or 2.He is the Basketball player who played with the LA team? Thank you in advance

Hello agie,

Both 'for' and 'with' are possible. I think 'for' is more common, at least in UK English.

I suspect there are problems with articles in both sentences, however, though it is not possible to be sure without knowing the context in which the sentences appear.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

anie1 提交于 周六, 19/10/2019 - 17:34

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Hello, I would like to ask which of the following is correct 1.I still have some free teaching hours in maths or 2.I still have some free hours of teaching in maths Thank you in advance