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There are COUNT and NON-COUNT nouns. COUNT or COUNTABLE nouns have both singular and plural forms, and are used in agreement with singular or plural verbs. MASS or NON-COUNT, UNCOUNTABLE nouns have singular form only, and are used in agreement with singular verbs. Often countable nouns are individual persons, things, or places that can be seen and counted individually. Often uncountable nouns are substances and ideas that are shapeless and cannot be seen and counted individually. But it is not always logic that determine whether a noun is count or non-count. Sometimes it's simply a grammatical convention.
57. Count nouns.
Count nouns have both singular and plural forms, and are used in agreement with singular or plural verbs. Plural numbers can precede them.
Some categories of COUNT NOUNS:
1. Names of persons, their relationships and occupations:
one boy two boys
one friend two friends
one student two students
2. Names of animals, plants, insects:
one dog two dogs
one flower two flowers
one bee two bees
3. Names of things with a definite, individual shape: є
one potato two potatoes
one car two cars
one house two houses
one room two rooms
4. Units of measurements:
one inch two inches
one pound two pounds
one degree two degrees
5. Units of classification in society:
one family two families
one country two countries
one language two languages
6. Containers of non-count solids, liquids, pastes, and gases:
one bottle two bottles
one jar two jars
one tube two tubes
7. A limited number of abstract concepts:
one idea two ideas
one invention two inventions
one plan two plans
Plural numbers can precede plural count nouns.
Number(plural) + Noun(count-plural)
Don't use: Plural numbers with singular count nouns.
58. Non-count nouns.
Count nouns have only one (singular) form, and are used in agreement with singular verbs. The word "the" doesn't precede them, and neither do plural numbers.
Some categories of NON-COUNT NOUNS:
2. Names of construction materials that can change shape, depending on what is made: wood , iron, grass
4. Names of substances with many small parts: rice, sand, sugar
5. Names of groups of things that have different sizes and shapes: clothing (a coat, a shirt, a sock) furniture (a table, a hair, a bed), luggage (a suitcase, a trunk, a box)
6. Names of languages: Ukrainian, Japanese, Spanish
7. Names of abstract concepts, often with endings -ness, -ance, -ence, -ity: beauty, ignorance, peace
8. Most -ing forms: learning, shopping, working
No article, no plural:
noun(non-c.) + V(sg)
Friendship is important
Don't use: Plural numbers, "the", "a", plural verbs with non-count nouns.
59. Nouns with count and non-count meanings.
Material and abstract concepts are non-count nouns, but they may be used as COUNT to express specific meanings:
an agreement- an occasion or agreement- abstract concept
I have a paper due Monday. [specific document]
Let's use paper to make the present. [construction material]
Don't confuse count and non-count meanings.
60. Count and non-count nouns with similar meanings.
There are pairs of nouns with similar meanings, but one is a count noun and the other is a non-count noun.
COUNT NOUN NON-COUNT NOUN
a climate weather
a laugh laughter
a human being humanity
a job work
a machine machinery
a man mankind
a person people
a snowflake snow
a sunbeam sunlight
a traffic jam traffic
Don't use "a" with a non-count noun instead of a count noun with similar meaning.