Grammar For IELTS: Count Nouns
Check Your Grammar
Three of the five underlined words contain an error related to nouns. Can you explain why each of these underlined words is (or is not) wrong? Discuss with a partner.
The Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agent (EPA) was created by Congress in 1970 to replace the fifteen federal agencies that previously were responsibility for enforcing the legal that regulate environmental pollution.
Nouns that can be counted are called count nouns. They can be singular or plural in form.
Singular: one subject a problem one reason a child
Plural: five subjects two problems three reasons eight children
Singular Count Nouns
Singular count nouns, together with any descriptive adjectives, have an article (a, an, the) or another determiner before them (my, your, this, one, every, each).
For example: an exam, a long exam, my brother, my oldest brother, each chapter, each new chapter
Don’t use a singular count noun without an article or other determiner.
Incorrect: house, new house, car, old car.
Correct: a house, their new house, my car, our old car
However, in a few idiomatic expressions, no article is used:
- have dinner/ in school/ at home/ at work
- by bus (by + transportation) / by phone (by + communication)
Plural Count Nouns
Plural count nouns are sometimes preceded by the definite article the or by another determiner, or they may appear alone. Plural count nouns are NOT preceded by a or an.
Incorrect: a houses/ an expensive houses
Correct: the houses/ some houses/ big houses/ some big houses
Most count nouns form their plural by adding -s to the singular noun.
|cat / cats||tree / trees||taxi / taxis||sweater / sweaters|
|schedule / schedules||course / courses||professor / professors||hat/hats|
A few common count nouns have an irregular plural form.
|man / men||woman / women||child / children|
|fish / fish||tooth / teeth||foot / feet|
|knife / knives||thesis / theses||criterion / criteria|
|self / selves||analysis / analyses||datum / data|
|life / lives||alumnus / alumni||medium / media|
|half / halves||sheep / sheep||hero / heroes|
A few plural nouns do not have a singular form:
Special Spellings of Plurals
A few types of count nouns form their plurals in a slightly different manner. Nouns ending in a CONSONANT + y form their plurals by changing the -y to -i and adding -es.
|library / libraries||lady / ladies||copy / copies||theory / theories|
This rule does not apply to nouns that end in a VOWEL + y.
|tray / trays||monkey / monkeys||survey / surveys||boy / boys|
Nouns ending in -s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, and -z add -es to form the plural.
|class / classes||bush / bushes||bench / benches||box / boxes|
Six of the ten underlined words and phrases in this paragraph contain an error. Circle the errors and write the corrections above.
Current Economic Indicators
All economic indicators are up. People are building new houses at a very high rate. They are also buying a new cars. Among consumer products that are selling well are cellular telephones, computer, and big-screen TV sets. Unemployment is low—jobs are not difficult to find, but a good employees are. Some firms are offering bonuses or stock options to attract capable person. Interest rate are at a comfortable level, resulting in heavy sales of consumer item.
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