[Noun] – Lesson 7: Collective Nouns and Pronouns

Introduction

English nouns are either countable or uncountableCount nouns change in their plural forms by adding “s”, while non-count nouns do not.

Non-Count Nouns

Non-count nouns already refer to an entire group that is composed of various individual parts, so no “s” is added to create a plural form. A few examples are information, furniture, rice, homework and coffee.

Non-count nouns always take singular verbs, as in the following example sentence.

The information in this pamphlet is useful for tourists.

(noncount noun + singular verb)

Collective Nouns

Like non-count nouns, collective nouns also refer to entire groups. Sometimes they refer to groups of people. Examples of this type of collective noun are: crowd, government, team, family, audience, committee, gang, staff, band, orchestra, choir and police.

Collective nouns can also refer to things. Examples are pair, bundle, and bunch.

Finally, collective nouns can refer to animals, birds, fish or insects. Some examples of this type are: pride (for lions), bed (for clams or oysters), flock (for birds or sheep), and swarm (for bees or locusts).

When a collective noun refers to a collection of some sort consisting of different individuals or parts, it is replaced by a plural pronoun that takes a plural verb, as in this example.

The coach is pleased with the team because they are doing well.

(Collective noun “team” replaced by “they” + plural verb)

On the other hand, collective nouns that refer to solitary, impersonal groups or units, are replaced by the singular, impersonal “it”, as in the following example. Therefore, when replacing collective nouns with pronouns, it is important to know whether you are talking about the group as a whole, or to its individual parts.

The team is not doing well this season. It has lost three games in a row.

Note: Only singular determiners (words that help define a noun, such as his, her, their, a, an, the, this, these, that, those) are used with singular, collective nouns. Study the example below.

This gang is responsible for a number of recent car thefts.  arrrow to the right Correct!

These gang is reponsible for a number of recent car thefts.  arrrow to the right Incorrect!

[Noun] – Lesson 6: Irregular Plurals of Nouns

Introduction

Although most nouns have plurals formed according to regular rules, some nouns have unusual, or irregular plurals. This page will introduce the most common ones, so that you can learn them.

Types of irregular plural

There are many types of irregular plural, but these are the most common:

Noun type Forming the plural Example
Ends with -fe Change f to v
then
Add -s
knife arrow to the right knives
life arrow to the right lives
wife arrow to the right wives
Ends with -f Change f to v
then
Add -es
half arrow to the right halves
wolf arrow to the right wolves
loaf arrow to the right loaves
Ends with -o Add -es potato arrow to the right potatoes
tomato arrow to the right tomatoes
volcano arrow to the right volcanoes
ends with -us Change -us to -i cactus arrow to the right cacti
nucleus arrow to the right nuclei
focus arrow to the right foci
ends with -is Change -is to -es analysis arrow to the right analyses
crisis arrow to the right crises
thesis arrow to the right theses
ends with -on Change -on to -a phenomenon arrow to the right phenomena
criterion arrow to the right criteria
ALL KINDS Change the vowel
or
Change the word
or
Add a different ending
man arrow to the right men
foot arrow to the right feet
child arrow to the right children
person arrow to the right people
tooth arrow to the right teeth
mouse arrow to the right mice
Unchanging Singular and plural
are the same
sheep
deer
fish (sometimes)

[Noun] – Lesson 5: Regular Plurals of Nouns

Introduction

Most nouns in English have both singular and plural forms, and the plural is usually formed by adding “-s” to the singular. Most nouns in English have both singular and plural forms, and the plural is usually formed by adding “-s” to the singular. This page explains the basic ways of forming regular plurals in English.

How to form the plural

Noun ending Forming the plural Example
sxch or sh Add -es boss arrow to the right bosses
tax arrow to the right taxes
bush arrow to the right bushes
consonant + y Change y to i then add -es baby arrow to the rightbabies
candy arrow to the rightcandies
curry arrow to the right curries
most others Add -s cat arrow to the right cats
face arrow to the right faces
day arrow to the right days

[Noun] – Lesson 4: How to Count Non-Count Nouns

Introduction

Although non-count nouns are supposed to be uncountable, we sometimes need to count them. At least, we sometimes need to explain the quantity of something which is non-count. We can do this by using a measurement word, or counter, like this:

a bar of chocolate a bar of chocolate
two loaves of bread two loaves of bread
three slices of meat three slices of meat

It’s useful to learn some of the most common measurement words and how they are used. Here are some examples:

Measurement word Nouns used with it
bar chocolate
soap
cube sugar
ice
game tennis
soccer
cards
glass wine
beer
water
juice
piece advice
information
baggage
clothing
furniture
homework
machinery

[Noun] – Lesson 3: Count and Non-Count Nouns (3)

Introduction

Count nouns are the names of objects which can be counted, such as carrots. carrots 3 carrots
Non-Count nouns are the names of things or substances which cannot be counted, such as water. water water

Uses

You need to know the difference between count and non-count nouns in order to:

  • use articles (the and a/an) correctly
  • use plurals correctly
  • use quantity words or quantifiers (e.g. much or many) correctly

[Noun] – Lesson 2: Count and Non-Count Nouns (2)

Introduction

In English, there are two kinds of nouns: count nouns and non-count nouns. It is important to understand the difference between them, because they often use different articles, and non-count nouns usually have no plural. Here is a summary of the differences:

Type of noun Explanation Example
Count nouns Count nouns are things which can be counted. That means that there can be more than one of them. Also, when a count noun is singular and indefinite, the article “a/an” is often used with it. (The real meaning of “a” is “one”.) “There are two books on the table.”“There is an elephant in my car.”
Non-count nouns Non-count nouns (or uncounted nouns) are usually things which cannot be counted, such as rice or water. Non-count nouns have a singular form, but when they are indefinite, we either use the word “some” or nothing at all instead of an article. “Could I have some water please?”“I’d like rice with my steak.”

How to tell whether a noun is count or non-count

You can usually work out whether a noun is count or non-count by thinking about it. Count nouns are usually objects which can be counted. Non-count nouns are often substances (such as sand, water or rice) which cannot be easily counted, or they may be large abstract ideas such as “nature”, “space” or “entertainment”. Here are some more examples:

Count nouns Non-count nouns
pen
table
car
idea
answer
student
exam
shoe
education
intelligence
clothing
soap
air
cheese
grass
literature

[Noun] – Lesson 1: Count and Non-Count Nouns (1)

Countable Nouns

Some words take an ‘s’ when you talk about more than one. These words are called count or countable nouns.

Example

1 apple  apple

2 apples appleapple

Uncountable Nouns

Other words do not take an ‘s’ when you talk about more than one. These words are called non-count or uncountable nouns.

Example

1 piece of cheese   piece of cheese

2 pieces of cheese piece of cheesepiece of cheese

The word “food” is a non-count noun.

Example

I like food.

I like some food for breakfast.

I like a lot of food for dinner.