2. Common nouns: dog, woman, man, wind, table, snow, beauty, etc.
There are three groups of common nouns: Class nouns: a shop - shops, a forest - forests, a house -
houses, a boy - boys. Collective nouns: money, police, crowd, linen, furniture, team,
Nouns of material and abstract nouns: gold, water, courage, fear, etc.
Nouns can be countable and uncountable. Countable nouns (that can be counted) have two numbers: the singular and the plural:
a girl - girls, a river - rivers, a son - sons, etc. Before countable nouns we can say a I an / the I some I any I many I a lot of I few I a few I this I these I my I his, etc.
He decided to take his way to Paris for their anniversary. He got on a train and found a seat and stared out of the window.
Uncountable nouns (that we cannot count) are always singular and are not used with a I an (music, blood). Before uncountable
nouns we can say: some I any / no I much I a lot of I little / a little/this /his, etc. Also: a bit ofla slice of/apiece of, etc. a bit of news a piece of advice a bar of chocolate a cake of soap a sheet of paper a slice of bread
I don't want (any) advice or help. Music enriches our life.
Many nouns can be used as countable or uncountable nouns. Usually there is a difference in meaning:
She had beautiful hair. There is a hair in my soup.
I bought some paper. I bought a paper.
We drink wine. but: We enjoy a good wine.
The Singular and the Plural
The general rule for forming the plural is by adding the ending -s (-es) to the singular:
a flower - flowers [z], a hat - hats [s], a bridge - bridges [iz] If the noun ends in -s, -ss, -x, -sh, -ch, -tch, the plural is formed by adding -es to the singular.
bus - buses box - boxes bench - benches
glass - glasses brush - brushes match - matches
If the noun ends in -o preceded by a consonant, the plural is generally formed by adding -es.
hero - heroes piano - pianos
potato - potatoes but: photo - photos
volcano - volcanoes stereo - stereos
tomato - tomatoes kilo - kilos
echo - echoes radio - radios
If the noun ends in -y preceded by a consonant, -y is changed into i before -es.
army - armies but: day - days In proper names:
lady - ladies boy - boys Mary - Marys
The nouns ending in -f (in some cases followed by a mute e) change it into -ves.
NOTE: The nouns scarf, hoof, wharf take either -s or -ves in the plural.
Some words borrowed from Latin or Greek keep their original plural forms:
datum - data phenomenon - phenomena
basis - bases formula - formulae / formulas
crisis - crises memorandum - memoranda / memoran-
thesis - theses dums criterion - criteria
There are seven nouns which form the plural by changing the root vowel and two nouns in the plural end in -en. man - men goose - geese ox - oxen
woman - women mouse - mice child - children
foot - feet louse - lice
tooth - teeth
In some nouns the plural form does not differ from the singular.
deer - deer fruit - fruit (fruits = kinds of fruit)
sheep - sheep fish - fish (fishes = kinds of fish)
swine - swine salmon - salmon
aircraft - aircraft cod - cod
Other nouns add -s: crabs, herrings, sardines, sharks, lobsters, eels.
We can say: one fish, two fish; one deer, two deer; Also: All the fishes in the sea (-the different varieties offish) This is a fine cheese. (- a fine variety or type) These cheeses are produced in Italy. (= these types)
Some uncountable nouns are used only in the singular:
linen money progress food chaos
furniture business traffic sugar machinery
knowledge information hair beef behaviour
advice trouble scenery music failure
luggage accommodation wood bread fear
permission luck weather spaghetti
death equipment sand macaroni
The following nouns ending in -s are usually treated as singular:
the word: news the subjects: economics, mathematics / maths, physics, statistics
the games: billiards, dominoes, darts, bowls the activities: gymnastics, athletics the words: politics, tactics, optics the illness: measles, mumps, rickets, shingles
Mathematics is an exact science. The news is interesting.
Words for drinks are usually uncountable. This means we use no article or we use some/any. Is there any coffee ? Will you have some tea ?
However, when we are ordering or offering drinks we normally treat them as countable nouns.
I'd like a coffee, please. or I'd like a cup of coffee.
Two teas, please. Two teas and a glass of
Some nouns are uncountable when they refer to material and substances, but they are countable when they refer to single items or to an object made from that material.
Would you like some chicken ? We ate a whole chicken!
Glass is made from sand and lime. I've broken a glass.
The following collective nouns are usually singular: family crowd congress majority'
team jury government minority
group public committee audience
staff army media company
But in some cases these nouns are plural if the sentence indicates that the individual members are acting separately (when we think of them as members of a group ("they"), not as a single unit ("it").
The government wants (want is also possible) to reduce taxes. Majority believes that we are in no danger. The majority of the students have passed the exams well.
Some nouns are used only in the plural:
sights contents spectacles congratulations
goods customs opera-glasses surroundings
sweets savings binoculars clothes
arms outskirts lodgings trousers
holidays slums poultry jeans
riches wages gentry shorts
people stairs cattle tights
police scissors jury
These clothes are expensive.
Where are the scissors? - They are on the table.
NOTE: We cannot use a/an or a number with a pair noun (a
thing made of two parts). We use some or a pair of... .
I need some jeans, or: / need a pair of jeans.
She bought a pair of jeans and two pairs of tights.
In the expression a pair of + a pair noun the verb is singular if it is in the same clause; and plural if it is in a relative clause.
This pair of trousers is expensive. I'll buy a pair of trousers which are cheaper.
If the word majority is used alone it is usually singular, if it is followed by a plural noun, it is plural.
As singular and plural may be used the nouns: means a means of transport - various means of transport
series a television series - many television series
species a species of birds - different species of birds
works/factory The steel works has/have closed down
Sometimes we use a plural noun with a singular verb. We often do it when we talk about a sum of money, a period of time, a distance, etc.
Five thousand pounds (=it) was stolen in the robbery. Three years (=it) is a long time to be without work.
Compound nouns form their plural in different ways. As a rule a compound noun forms the plural by adding -s to the headword. If there is no noun-stem in the compound, -s is added to the last element.
brother-in-law - brothers-in-law
forget-me-not - forget-me-nots
merry-go-round - merry-go-rounds
But: man (woman)-driver - men (women)-drivers
Nouns denoting living beings: people and animals (and some nouns denoting lifeless things), have two cases: an unin-flected form called the common case (pen, student, etc.) and the possessive case ... 's (apostrophe 's).
the singular: the plural:
Man's dream the children's toys
the girl's name the girls' names
the butcher's (shop) the eagles' nests
Dickens's novels or Dickens'novels
After a singular noun we use 's. After a plural noun we use only an apostrophe (').
The possessive case expresses possession and answers the question whose? The syntactic function of the nouns used in the possessive case is that of an attribute.
Besides nouns denoting living beings we can use 's when a first noun is:
1) an organization (=a group of people), ships and boats; names of people to mean's house:
the government's decision the ship's captain
the company's success We met at Bill's
2) the place: town, city, country, river, ocean, world, names of the countries:
the city's new center the world's population
Britain's government Russia's exports
3) time and distance:
an hour's rest month's holiday
two hours' drive night's sleep
five minutes' walk in two years' time
4) time words:
tomorrow's meeting yesterday's talks
today's newspaper Sunday's dinner
We can say: ten minutes' break or a ten-minute break.
Also with the nouns: the sun, the moon, the earth, the ship; and 's can be used after more than one noun. The possessive sign is put to the latter.
Jack and Jill's wedding. William and Mary's reign.
Proper names are generally used in the possessive case: Jane's hobby is drawing. This is Tim's car.
NOTE: You can use 's without the following noun:
a / the baker's / butcher's / chemist's, etc. It means a / the
baker's shop, etc.
Tom's report is much more interesting than Ann's. It can also be used after the initials and the names of the owners of some businesses:
the PM's secretary, the MP's briefcase. Self ridge's, Claridge's, Sotheby's (some names drop the apostrophe: Harrods, Foyles).
In compounds and names consisting of several words the last word takes apostrophe 's:
My sister-in-law's guitar. My father-in-law's son. Henry the Eight's wives. The Prince of Wale's plane.
NOTE: When the possessive case is used, the article before the person or thing "possessed" disappears: the question of the teacher - the teacher's question. of + noun is used for:
1) things, ideas, etc.:
the roof of the house, the title of the book, the owner of the cafe.
We can say: the daughter of the politician or the politician's daughter, the plays of Shakespeare or Shakespeare's plays.
We normally use of with the beginning I end I top I bottom I front I back, etc.
the back of the car, the beginning of the year, in the middle of the room
2) We can use o/or 's after an organization:
the decision of the government or the government's decision
3) 0/is used:
a) when the possessor noun is followed by a phrase or clause / took the advice of the policeman I met at the station.
b) with the words denoting quantity: part, piece, slice, bit, etc.
a piece of cake, a slice of bread, a pound of butter, a bit of news
a) However, we often prefer to use a compound noun instead of of- phrase: the river bank, the car keys, the town parks, etc.
b) British nouns render the meaning of Russian cases by means of the prepositions of, to, for, by, with, about with the nouns in the common case and the word order in the sentence:
What caused the explosion at the station ? What was the cause of the explosion ?
Give these papers to the secretary, please. Mrs Green often makes cakes for her children. The program was watched by millions of people. The door was opened with a key. We talked about the entrance examinations.
12. Choose the correct form, singular or plural.
1) The trousers you bought doesn't/don't fit you. They are/It is too short for you.
2) Physics was/were my best subject at school. - Really? But I think mathematics is/are much easier than physics.
3) Fortunately the news wasn't/weren't as bad as we had expected.
4) The police want/wants to interview me about the robbery.
5) Three days isn't/aren't long enough for a good holiday.
6) Where does/do your family live? - All my family live/lives with me.
7) England has/have lost all the football matches this season.
8) Does/do the police know about the stolen money?
9) Can I borrow your scissors? Mine isn't/aren't sharp enough.
10) I'm going to take a taxi. Six miles is/are too far for me to walk.
11) The danger of the forests fires is/are very serious for the environment.
12) The fear of the murder and robbery has/have caused many people to leave big cities.
13) The effects of that crime was/were very devastating for the city.
14) Fifty dollars is/are too much to pay for these trousers.
15) Mr Smith accompanied by his wife and daughter is/are arriving tonight.
16) The doctor and his assistant have/has already finished their work today.
17) The majority of the people believe/believes him to be innocent.
18) Neither Bill nor Mary is/are going to the party tonight.
19) Neither Jane nor her parents was/were at home.
20) The mass media, TV and the press have/has enormous power in any society.
21) The police have /has weighed all the evidence and have/ has found the accused guilty.
22) When is/are the daily news on? - They are/It is on every hour on channel A.
23) Your advice was/were very useful. I usually use your advice/advices when I'm in trouble/troubles.
24) This book contains much/many useful information/informations.
25) Money isn't/aren't everything in my life but it is difficult to live without it/them.
26) Fish/fishes travel long distances and different fish live/lives at different levels of water.
27) Coffee/a coffee or tea/a tea, please? - Two tea/teas and a coffee/coffee, please.
28) People/peoples eat more fruit/fruits now than they used to.
29) The fruits/fruit of nature belong to all mankind.
30) Too much/many knowledge/knowledges makes the head bold.
Fill in the blanks with the appropriate form of the verb to be
1, The crew___rescued by our boat, 2. Her clothes ___very fashionable. 3, Your advice___.always welcome. 4. The information he gave us___very useful. 5A little
money___better than nothing. 6. That species of spiders ___commonly seen in deserts of North Africa. 7.1 think her hair___dyed. 8. No news.___good news. 9.1 don't want to work here. The equipment___too complicated. 10. There___a lot of sheep in the field. 11.1 think this ___detailed research. 12. Where___my spectacles? 13. The phenomena___unusual. 14. Mathematics___ difficult, but physics___more difficult to my mind. 15, The cattle___up the hill.
1. Look out! The stairs___.very old. 2. In my opinion, looks___very important for an actor. 3. The police___ responsible for these actions. 4. Criteria___changing, you know. 5. The committee___set up several months ago. 6. The traffic___very heavy in this street. Be careful
at the corner. When the traffic-lights___red, don't cross the street. 7. The working wages ___ up. 8. The knowledge she has got at college___very deep. 9. The carrots___delicious. 10. The vacation___always fun. 11. The funeral ___ usually a sad occasion. 12. The evidence___against him. 13. The contents of the letter ___made public. 14. The opera-glasses___out of focus.
15. The grapes___ripe.
Ex. 16. Give the plural of
A. A pin, a hat, a fox, a baby, a day, potato, a volcano, a piano, a photo, a knife, a roof, a half, a leaf, a cliff, a chief, a life, a family, a queue, a bath, a berry, a valley, a century, a salmon, a taxi, a person, a penny, a watch, a virtuoso, a lily, a woodworm. 14
B. A man, a woman, a German, a foot, a tooth, a sheep, a ship, a fish, an ox, a fox, a child, a fireman, a mouse, a swine, a house, a louse, a goose, a mongoose, a deer, a means, a series, a species, an aircraft, an offspring, a Swiss, a Japanese, a Maltese, a Portuguese, a Chinese, a Milanese.
C. A passer-by, a mother-in-law, a room-mate, a forget-me-not, a merry-go-round, a fellow-worker, a man-of-war, a school-inspector, a commander-in-chief, a boy-messenger, a personnel-manager, a woman-driver, a man-servant, a hanger-on, a face-lift, a spoonful, a cupful, a boyfriend, a grown-up, an office-block, a workmate.
Paraphrase the following using the possessive case.
Example: The son of our manager — our manager's son
A 1) the house of Mr. Smith; 2) a doll of the girls; 3) the works of Rembrandt; 4) a toy of the baby; 5) a meeting of the employees; 6) the bags of those women; 7) the orders of our boss; 8) the books of the children; 9) the cottage of my parents; 10) a garage of her cousin.
Â 1) coal deposits of the world; 2) the influence of the sun; 3) the atmosphere of the earth; 4) the joys and grieves of life; 5) the arrival of the ship; 6) icy mountains of Greenland; 7) the policy of the company; 8) gold reserves of Russia; 9) the gravitation of the planet; 10) the decisions of the commission.
Ñ 1) the mother of Kate and Mary; 2) the children of my aunt Ann; 3) the paintings by Picasso and Dali; 4) the gun of the commander-in-chief; 5) the times of Ivan the Terrible; 6) the speech of the Minister of Foreign Trade; 7) the correspondent of the Herald Tribune; 8) a flat of my father-in-law; 9) the wives of Henry the Eighth; 10) oil wells of Saudi Arabia.
D 1) a cruise which lasts three weeks; 2) work which takes two hours; 3) a distance of five kilometres; 4) the operation which lasted four hours; 5) the flight which took three hours; 6) a semester of eight weeks; 7) the rest which lasted an hour; 8) a play of three acts; 9) a football
match which lasts ninety minutes; 10) a telephone conversation which lasts three minutes.