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  • Countable or Uncountable? Become a Noun Expert in 5 Days!

    My students often have difficulties with nouns.  Are they countable or uncountable?  How do we quantify uncountable nouns?  How can I possibly remember which nouns are countable and which ones are not?  This week, I’ve put together a 5-day guide all about nouns.  After completing the 5 days of fun, interactive lessons, you’ll have a much stronger understanding.  Finally, the most beneficial way to improve is always to practice with a native speaker, so schedule some classes with our talented instructors!

     


    DAY 1: COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE?

    First, countable nouns are nouns that can be counted in English.  They can be singular or plural.

    • I have 5 dollars.
    • She has 3 sons.
    • He has two classes today.
    • Their family wants to get a dog.

    Can you think of more examples?

    Now, let’s move on to the trickier nouns.  Uncountable nouns are not counted in English.  The first step in mastering uncountable nouns is to find a reliable way to group them.  Today you’ll learn this, and also get a chance to use uncountable nouns in sentences.  Watch this video up until 6:00, and learn a helpful way to categorize uncountable nouns.

     

    Categorizing nouns is helpful because if we’re not sure about a noun, but it fits into one of these categories, we know it is uncountable.  Complete the chart with more examples from each category.

    1. Whole made of smaller parts:  ______
    2. Foods that can be purchased in different forms: ______
    3. Substances that change shape: ______
    4. Groups of things made from different shapes/sizes: ______
    5. Languages: ______
    6. Ing forms: ______

     

     

    Rule #1:  We cannot put ‘a/an’ before an uncountable noun, because that would make it singular.

    I need to buy a honey at the shop. 

    Rule #2:  We cannot add ‘s’ to the end of an uncountable noun, because that would mean it’s plural.

    I need to buy coffees at the shop.

    Now, use the examples from the video and exercise above to say some sentences with uncountable nouns.

    • I need to buy ______ at the shop.
      • Example: I need to buy bread at the shop.
    • I like ______.
      • Example: I like learning English.
    • I speak ______ very well.
      • Example: I speak Russian very well. 
    • _____ is important.
      • Example: Efficiency is important.

     

    Finally, decide if these sentences are correct or incorrect.  If they’re incorrect, fix them and write your responses in the comments section.

    1. You can’t see the airs in the room.
    2. Your hairs looks really good today!
    3. She makes a lot of moneys from her job.
    4. Can you buy milk on your way home?
    5. Please take out the trashes.

     


    DAY 2: SPECIFIC QUANTIFIERS

    How do we make uncountable nouns plural or singular?  We use quantifiers!  Today you’ll learn various quantifiers and use them in sentences.  First, go back to the video from day 1 and start at 6:00 to learn some examples.

     

    Structure:  a/an/(two or more) + (quantifiers) + of + (uncountable noun)

     

    Rule #3: We can add ‘a/an’ before a quantifier to make it singular

    I need to buy a jar of honey at the shop.

    Rule #4: We can add ‘s’ to the end of a quantifier to make it plural.

    I need to buy two bags of coffee at the shop.

    Possible quantifiers: bar, jar, bag, slice, piece, glass, cup, bottle, game, cube, loaf, kilo, gallon

     

    Now, make sentences with quantifiers for the pictures below.  Remember to write your responses in the comments section!

    1.  Ex: Yesterday, I ate a bar of chocolate.
    2.  I drank _ _______ __ ____.
    3.  I use _ ___ __ ____ in the shower.
    4.  We played _ ____ __ ______ together.
    5.   Have you seen the Friends episode where Joey drinks _ ______ __ ____?
    6.  Let me give you _ ____ __ advice.

     


    DAY 3: NON-SPECIFIC QUANTIFIERS

    Today we’ll look at general quantifiers like some, several, much and many.  First, watch this short video to learn how we use some and any in English.

     

    Now, fill in the blanks using some or any.

    1. Would you like ____ coffee?
    2. I’m sorry, I don’t have ___ patience right now.
    3. Do you have ___ pencils?
    4. Yes, I have ____ money for you.
    5. She had a great day without ___ problems.

     

    Next, take a look at this helpful chart that shows you when you can and cannot use certain quantifiers.

    S=statement

    N=negative statement

    Q=question

     

    Let’s practice!  Use the chart and all your knowledge from days 1-3.  Fill in the following blanks with a countable or uncountable noun.  Remember to write your responses in the comments section, and we’ll respond!

    1. Can you bring a few _____ to the party?
    2. Do you have any ____ that I can use?
    3. I’m sorry, I don’t have enough ______ to help you.
    4. When I got to class, there were several ____.
    5. I have many ______ in my bag.
    6. I don’t have much _______.
    7. The film had a great deal of ______.
    8. Can I have a little _____, please?
    9. I’d like some ______ with my dinner.

     


    DAY 4: GRAMMAR

    Today we’ll take a look at some grammar rules for countable and uncountable nouns.  Study the table below.  Then, fill in the blanks with ‘how much, how many, these/those are, this is, there is, or there are.’

    1. ___ ____ motivation do you have to study English?
    2. ____ software __ helpful for backing up your computer.
    3. _____ __ a dog running in the park.
    4. ___ ____ work do you do at home?
    5. _____ sofas ___ very comfortable.
    6. ___ ____ water do you drink each day?
    7. ___ ____ bottles of beer did you drink last night?
    8. _____ __ a lot of wildlife at that park.
    9. ____ grammar __ easy.
    10. ____ luggage __ heavy.
    11. _____ ___ so many great teachers at LOI.

     


    DAY 5: REVIEW

    I hope you’ve enjoyed these five days of nouns!  By now you should feel more confidence about using countable and uncountable nouns in English.  Today, we’ll review what you’ve learned with a fun, interesting exercise.

    I’ve put together a list of nouns you will hear in today’s video.  Before watching, decide if these nouns are countable (C) or uncountable (U) and use them in a sentence.  We love to hear your ideas, so share your sentences with us in the comments section.

    1. jungle hut
      1. (C): I would love to stay in a jungle hut in the Amazon.
    2. saw
    3. orangutan
    4. opposable thumb
    5. object
    6. precision
    7. pride
    8. work
    9. sawdust
    10. task
    11. novice
    12. momentum
    13. stamina

    Now, listen closely to how the narrator uses these nouns in this video, and go back to make sure you’ve used them correctly.

    Congratulations on completing 5 days of nouns!  For more practice, check out another fun, short lesson on countable and uncountable nouns here!  As always, make sure to practice your new knowledge with a native speaker by scheduling a class with LOI.  New to LOI?  Schedule a free trial class today!