Count vs. Uncount Nouns

In English there are words that can be counted (boy, book, ring, table, etc), they are called countable nouns. There are als words that cannot be counted. Such words are names of things or materials which cannot be seen as a ‘mass’, and not as separate items (work, furniture, advice, news, etc.). They are called uncountable nouns.

Countable Nouns

Countable nouns have a singular and a plural form. Most plural forms of countable nouns end in -s (boy / boys, house / houses, knife / knives). There are aslo some plural irregular forms of countable nouns (man / men, child / children, foot / feet, mouse / mice, etc.). There are also a sereis of nouns that have the same form in bothe singular and plural number (one sheep / two sheep, one salmon / three salmon).

With countable nouns we can:
1. ask the question How many ………………? How many students are there in your group?
2. use a/an, some, any, one, or any other numbers: Have you got an appartment or a house? He owns three planes. Are there any tickets for the concert?

Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable nouns always go with a verb in the singular. You can:
1. ask questions with: How much …………………? How much sugar have we got?
2. use some or any (but NOT a/an or a number): I’ve got some news. / Have you got any mineral water? / I’m sorry there isn’t any wine left.

Some nouns are countable when they refer to something specific and individual, or men ‘a type of’ / ‘a glass of’, and uncountable when they have a general meaning.
I’d like a coffee, please. (countable)          / Where does coffee come from? (uncountable)
Woul you like a glass of water? (countable) /Windows are made of glass. (uncountable)

Some uncountable nouns may cause confusion because they end in -s: news, athletics, economics, politics, maths, measles, diabetes.
Do you do much athletics these days?   / Politics is boring.

With uncountable nouns, you can use a word or phrase which shows a part or a quantity of something: a pice of news, a litre of milk, half a bottle of water, two bars of soap.

Nouns which refer to groups of things or people (government, team, etc.) can be singular or plural. Sometimes we think of them as a single unit, and sometimes as a collection of different things or people:
Chelsea have / has lost three matches so far.
The class is / are going on a school trip.

Some or Any???

We use some in affirmative sentences for uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns:
There some water in the bottle.   Some friends are coming round tonight.

We use any in negative sentences:
He hasn’t got any money or any friends.  There isn’t any milk left.

We can use either any or some in questions. We usually use any in requests for information (Have you got any notes from the last lecture? / Is there any milk left?). We usually use some in offers and requests (Would you like some fruit? / Can I have some sugar, please?).

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