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The Noun

What is a noun?
A noun is a part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, or action. A noun can
function as a subject, object, complement, appositive, or object of a preposition.
Plural vs singular
Nouns can be singular or plural. The plural form of a noun is usually formed by adding s at the end of
the noun. But this is not always the case. There are exceptions to the rule. Some plurals are irregular:
Singular Plural
fish fish
tooth teeth
man men
woman women
Different types of nouns
There are different types of nouns:
1. An abstract noun names an idea, event, quality, or concept (freedom, love, courage...) Concrete
nouns name something recognizable through the sense (table, dog, house...)
2. Animate nouns refer to a person, animal, or other creature (man, elephant, chicken...) An inanimate
noun refers to a material object (stone, wood, table...)
3. A collective noun describes a group of things or people as a unit (family, flock, audience...)
4. Common noun is the name of a group of similar things (table, book, window...) Proper nouns,
however, refer to the name of a single person, place or thing (John, Joseph, London...)
5. Compound nouns refer to two or more nouns combined to form a single noun (sister-in-law,
schoolboy, fruit juice)
6. Countable (or count) nouns have a singular and a plural form. In plural, these nouns can be used
with a number- they can be counted. (friends, chairs, houses, boys...) Uncountable (or non count)
nouns, however, can only be used in singular. They can't be counted. (money, bread, water, coffee...)
Countable and uncountable nouns

look at the following chart and study the nouns.


Countable Uncountable
books money
friends meat
teachers juice
tables milk

Countable nouns (count nouns): have a singular and a plural form. In plural, these nouns can be
used with a number- they can be counted. (That's why they are called "countable nouns").
Example:

1 friend, 2 friends, 3 friends...


1 book, 2 books, 3 books...

Countable nouns take many. Example: 100 friends many friends

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Uncountable nouns (uncount / non-count nouns): can only be used in singular. These nouns cannot
be used with a number- they can't be counted. (That's why they are called "uncountable nouns").
Examples:
I have a lot of money. (Not 1000 money)
You say I drink a lot of milk. (Not 5 milk).Uncountable nouns take much.

Example:

100 money much money

Note: Of course you can count money, milk, meat; but then you would use the currency, liter,
kilo, glass,...and say that you have got:

5 euros or dollars... (but not 5 money).


2 liters, pints, glasses... of milk (but not 2 milk)
3 kilos... of meat (but not 3 meat)
10 bottles of mineral water... (but not 10 mineral water)

Much, many and a lot


"Much", "many", and "a lot of" indicate a large quantity of something, for example "I have a
lot of friends " means I have a large quantity of friends.

Much, many, and a lot are quantifiers.

Study the examples below:

I haven't got much money.


How much money have you got? I have got a lot.
I have got a lot of money.

There aren't many.


How many students are in the
classroom? There are a lot.
There are a lot of/lots of students.
In the interrogative forms we use:
-much with uncountable nouns. (money, bread, water...)
Example:
How much money/bread/water...is there?

-many with countable nouns. (students, desks, windows...)


Example:
How many students/teachers/desks... are there?

In the negative forms we use:


-much with uncountable nouns. (money, bread, water...)
Example:
I haven't got much money/bread/water...

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-many with countable nouns. (students, desks, windows...)
Example:
There aren't many students/teachers/desks...

In the affirmative forms:


In spoken English and informal writing we tend to use:

a lot, a lot of, lots of with countable and uncountable nouns.


Example:
"How many students are there in the classroom?"
"There are a lot."
"How many students are there in the classroom?"
"There are a lot of / lots of students"..

In formal written English:

It is also possible (and preferable) to use many and much rather than a lot of, lots of and a
lot in formal written English.
Example:
There are many students.
Much time was spent on studying.

So if you're speaking or writing to friends (informal), use a lot, a lot of, lots of. But if you
want to be more formal, perhaps it is preferable to use much and many.

Remember: In affirmative sentences with so, as or too, we also use much / many.
Examples:
"Carla has so many friends."
"She has as many friends as Sue."
"Kevin has too much money."

Summary:

Interrogative Negative Affirmative


There are a lot.
There are a lot of books.
How many books are There aren't
there? many. There are lots of books.
There are many books
(formal)
I've got a lot.
I've got a lot of money.
How much money have I haven't got
you got? much. I've got lots of money.
I have got much money
(formal)

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A little, a few, very little, very few

The expressions a little and a few mean some or enough.

The expressions (very) little and (very) few mean hardly any or not enough.

A little, a few, (very) little and (very) few are quantifiers

Study the following examples:

Examples Meaning
I've got a little money. I'm going to the cinema.
some/enough
I've got a few friends. We meet everyday.
I've got (very) little money. I need to borrow some.
I've got (very) few friends. I need to make new hardly any / not enough
friends.
The rules: Affirmative sentences:

A little, a few, (very) little and (very) few are generally used in affirmative statements, not negatives
or questions.

Countable and uncountable nouns:


1. A little and (very) little are used with uncountable nouns (money, bread, water...)
2. A few and (very) few are used with countable nouns (friends, tables, teachers..)

Meaning:

-A little and a few mean: some or enough.

Example:

"I have got a little money" = I have got some money. It's enough for me to do what I want.
"I have got a few friends" = I have got some or enough friends. We meet every day.

-(Very) little and (very) few mean; hardly any or not enough.

Examples:

I have got (very) little money = I have got hardly any. I haven't got enough. I'll borrow some from my
friend.
I have got (very) few friends = I have got hardly any. I haven't got enough. I need to make new
friends.

EX 1: Decide whether these nouns are countable (C) or uncountable (U)


The children are playing in the garden.
I don't like milk.
I prefer tea.
Scientists say that the environment is threatened by pollution.
My mother uses butter to prepare cakes.
There are a lot of windows in our classroom.
We need some glue to fix this vase.

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The waiters in this restaurant are very professional.
My father drinks two big glasses of water every morning.
The bread my mother prepares is delicious.
Drivers must be careful; the road is slippery.
Some policemen are organizing road traffic to avoid any accidents.
I bought three bottles of mineral water for our picnic.
I'd like some juice please!
Successful candidates will join the camp later this year.
A rise in oil prices is inevitable since there is more and more world demand for energy.
The exercises on this website are interesting.
Dehydrated babies must drink a lot of water.
Adult illiterates learn through a special government program.
I met some nice people when I was walking along the beach.

EX2: Decide whether you have to use "a little" or "a few".

1. We had . snow last winter.


2. . people were interested in the exhibition.
3. I speak French.
4. There are students in the classroom.
5. She has . relatives.
6. There is . water in the pond.
7. The professor spends .. time playing tennis on Sundays.
8. We have . knowledge of this phenomenon.
9. There are mushrooms in my mushroom soup.
10. animals can survive in the desert.
11.
EX :3 Choose the right answer (much, many, a lot, a lot of, lots)

1. We have .. oranges.
2. We don't have . bananas, and we don't have . fruit juice.
3. Do you have any cereal? Sure, there's . in the kitchen.
4. How.. is this? It's ten dollars.
5. How .. do you want? Six, please.
6. He's very busy; he has .. work to do.
7. David has rice, but Tyler doesn't have .
8. London has beautiful buildings.
9. They eat . apples.
10. I wrote poems.
11. I have got .. money.
12. I visited . European cities.
13. Do you like soccer? Yes, .
14. Were there .. guests in the wedding? Yes, there were. ..
15. Leila is popular. She's got friends. Nancy does not have ...
16. She hasn't got . patience.

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Key : The children are playing in the garden. C
I don't like milk. U
I prefer tea. Uncountable
Scientists say that the environment is threatened by pollution. C
My mother uses butter to prepare cakes. U
There are a lot of windows in our classroom. C
We need some glue to fix this vase. U
The waiters in this restaurant are very professional. C
My father drinks two big glasses of water every morning. C
The bread my mother prepares is delicious. U
Drivers must be careful; the road is slippery. C
Some policemen are organizing road traffic to avoid any accidents. C
I bought three bottles of mineral water for our picnic. C
I'd like some juice please! U
Successful candidates will join the camp later this year. C
A rise in oil prices is inevitable since there is more and more world demand for energy. U
The exercises on this website are interesting. C
Dehydrated babies must drink a lot of water. U
Adult illiterates learn through a special government program. C
I met some nice people when I was walking along the beach. C

EX Decide whether you have to use "a little" or "a few".

1. We had a little snow last winter.


2. A few people were interested in the exhibition.
3. I speak a little French.
4. There are a few students in the classroom.
5. She has a few relatives.
6. There is a little water in the pond.
7. The professor spends a little time playing tennis on Sundays.
8. We have a little knowledge of this phenomenon.
9. There are a few mushrooms in my mushroom soup.
10. A few animals can survive in the desert.

EX Choose the right answer (much, many, a lot, a lot of, lots)

1. We have a lot of oranges.


2. We don't have many bananas, and we don't have much fruit juice.
3. Do you have any cereal? Sure, there's a lot in the kitchen.
4. How much is this? It's ten dollars.
5. How many do you want? Six, please.
6. He's very busy; he has a lot of work to do.
7. David has a lot of rice, but Tyler doesn't have much.
8. London has a lot of beautiful buildings.
9. They eat a lot of apples.
10. I wrote many poems.
11. I have got lots of money.
12. I visited many European cities.
13. Do you like soccer? Yes, a lot.
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14. Were there many guests in the wedding? Yes, there were. a lot
15. Leila is popular. She's got a lot of friends. Nancy does not have many.
16. She hasn't got much patience.