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8. GRAMMAR - Uncountable nouns


You've been learning the use of uncountable nouns since: Básico 1 - Unit 9A - COUNTABLE AND UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS


Countables / uncountables:
Some words are countable in English, but uncountable in other languages or vice versa, e.g. spaghetti is uncountable in English, but countable in Italian.

Uncountable nouns are things that cannot be counted in English. They have no plurals. We don´t use a / an before a countable noun.


a / an + singular contable nouns:
some (+) / any (- / ?) + plural nouns (countable and uncontable):

e.g.
· biscuit. / · apple
· vegetables (countable)
· sugar (uncountable)

+
I have a biscuit. / I have an apple.
I have some oranges.
I have some sugar.

-
I don't have a biscuit. / I don't have an apple.
I don't have any oranges.
I don't have any sugar.

?
Do you have a biscuit? / Do you have an apple?
Do you have any oranges?
Do you have any sugar?






?
Can I have a biscuit?
Would you like a biscuit?
Can I have some oranges?
Would you like some oranges?
Do you want some oranges?
Do you need some oranges?
Can I have some coffee?
Would you like some coffee?
Do you want some coffee?
Do you need some coffee?
some in ? to ask for and offer things

We can also use some in ? to ask for and offer things: Can I have some coffee? / Would you like some biscuits?


Some nouns can be countable or uncountable in these situations:
countable nouns:
uncountable nouns:
a chicken (a whole chicken)
some chicken (chicken pieces)
a beer (a can or glass of beer)
some beer (the liquid in general)
a coffee (a cup of)
some coffee (a quantity of coffee beans, powder in a jar or the liquid in general)
a fruit (one kind of fruit)
some fruit (general fruit to eat)


Let's see other examples of uncountable nouns:
(some) accommodation

(some) information

(some) progress
(some) advice

(some) luck

(some) scenery
(some) behaviour

(some) luggage

(some) traffic
(some) chaos

(some) money

(some) trouble
(some) experience

(some) music

(some) weather
(some) furniture

(some) news

(some) work



news:

When you want to talk about "one" you may say "It's very good news" or "It's a very good piece of news" although you don't need to use such a long expression.

It is true that when you say "I have very good news" the listener doesn't know if you are talking about one or more, well, it doesn't matter because he/she will discover it when you tell him/her: "I have very good news, the baby is finally born" or "I have very good news, the baby is finally born and its mother is fine".

Don't say for example "I have three news for you", instead of that say "I have three pieces of (good / bad) news for you".

SINGULAR:

PLURAL:
It's very good news

They are very good news
I have very good news, the baby is born.

I have very good news, the baby is born and its mother is fine.
It's a very good piece of news

I have three pieces of (good / bad) news for you




With uncountable nouns, we often use the following quantifiers: (they don't necessarity match 100%)
+

-
some

no
plenty of

not much
enough

not enough
a good deal of / a great deal of

any / not any / not any at all

little

more

less




11. GRAMMAR - Emphatic structures



In English we can put our emotion at the front of the sentence to let the speaker know how we feel, to emphasise the point, but also to avoid a long subject before a verb:

short subject + predicate

long subject + predicate
It annoys me when people don't queue at the bus stop.

It annoys me that people don't queue at the bus stop.

.
People not queuing at the bus stop annoys me.
It is scary when you drive on the left for the first time.
It is scary driving on the left for the first time.

.
Driving on the left for the first time is scary.



There are fixed words to start to form the subject that emphasises both the subjects and the objects of the verb (so it is even more emphatic):


11 emphatic structures chart.JPG


Have a look at this contrast:
short subject + predicate

long subject + predicate
What made me laugh was the fact (that) he hadn't even realized there was a hole in this trousers.

He not realizing there was a hole in his trousers made me laugh.
What really scared me was the way people drove so close behind.

The way people drove so close behind really scared me.
What I hate is people beeping you when the lights have only turned green one second ago.

People beeping you when the lights have only turned green one second ago annoys me.

realized / realizing (American English)
realised / realising (British English)



María Ángeles A.


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