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Count vs Noncount

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Alexei Bazhenov

on 25 January 2014

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Transcript of Count vs Noncount

Countable & Uncountable Nouns
What's the Difference?
Uncountable Nouns
Much vs. Many
Partitive Constructions
What do we do when we want to Count Uncountable Nouns?
Special Nouns
Some nouns can be both Countable and Uncountable!
Countable Nouns
Uncountable Nouns
• Can be Expressed in Plural Form
• Can take the indefinite articles a & an
• Can take definite articles (the)
• Counted with Numbers

Cannot
be Expressed in Plural Form

Cannot
take the

indefinite articles a & an
• Can take definite articles (the)
• Counted with Partitive Constructions
an apple, three dogs, many people, a tree, the car
two empanada's
blood, four cups of water, the ice, tennis, soccer
Common Categories of Uncountable Nouns
Things that come in fine or small pieces:
Rice, Sand, Salt

Names of Subjects of Study:
Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Linguistics

Liquids / Fluids:
Blood, Milk, Water

Sports:
Soccer, Tennis, Basketball

Natural Phenomena:
rain, snow, sunshine

Abstractions:
Happiness, Justice, Luck
Countable Nouns refer to things that can be divided into smaller units which are separate and distinct from one another.
Uncountable Nouns refer to things that cannot be counted because they are regarded as "wholes" which cannot be divided into parts
Few vs. Little
Much - Uncountable Nouns
Many - Countable Nouns
• There isn't much poverty in Denmark

• We don't have much time left before the test

• How much water is left?
• She doesn't have many friends.

• How many states are there in America?

• I don't see many dogs around here at night.
Native Note:
Native speakers of English do not generally use "much" or "many" in positive statements. While these constructions are not incorrect, it sounds more natural to use "a lot of" in positive sentences.
"There are a lot of people there" sounds better than "There are many people there"

"There's a lot of blood" sounds better than "There's much blood"

"Do you have a lot of friends?" sounds better than "Do you have many friends?"

"A lot of trees fell last night" sounds better than "Many trees fell last night"
"Little" is only used with Uncountable Nouns
"Few" is only used with Countable Nouns
• Do you have a little money?
• There was a little rice still in the bag
• You need a little luck to win
• They had little food to share
• They had a little food to share
"Little" & "A Little"
The difference between "little" and "a little" is small but important. "Little" by itself has a more negative meaning (i.e. they have almost no food to share) whereas "a little" has a more positive meaning (i.e. they have enough food for themselves and some to share. This same concept applies to "few" and "a few"
• There are a few apples left in the bag
• Do you have a few spare dollars?
• There were few criminals left in the city after the police came.
• I made a few phone calls to my boyfriend but he didn't pick up
_____________ + _____________ + of + ______________
Determiner
Counter / Measurement Word
Uncountable Noun
A loaf of bread
Two Pieces of chocolate
Ten Glasses of wine
Some slices of meat
A bar of soap
A few games of Soccer
Seven teaspoons of Salt
The Partitive Construction
• There are two hairs in my tea / He doesn't have much hair.

• I don't like the bad language on TV / I don't like the languages on TV.

• My house has four rooms / Is there any room in the house?

• How many times have you asked her today? / Have you got time to meet?
How to tell the difference:
• Plural Forms
Nouns with plural forms are almost always countable nouns.
• Much / Many
"Many" can only be used with countable nouns, and "Much" can only be used with uncountable nouns
• Few / Little
"Few" can only be used with countable nouns, and "Little" can only be used with uncountable nouns
• A & An
Only countable nouns take the determiners "a" and "an"
•These & Those
Only countable nouns take the determiners "these" and "those"
What's the difference?
I got a basketball for my Birthday
I love to play basketball
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