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Исторические личности->Биография
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5 С set of printed examination questions on a given subject

6 С essay, esp one to be read to a learned society

room n 1 С part of a house or a building enclosed by walls or parti­tions, floor, ceiling

2 pi apartments

3 U space that is or might be occupied

4 U scope, opportunity

language n 1 U human and noninstinctive method of communicat­ing ideas

2 С form of ~ used by a people

3 U manner of using words

4 U words, phrases, etc. used by a profession

Of special interest in the EFL teaching should be those English uncountable nouns whose Russian equivalents have a different reference to number since students' errors can be predicted each time they will be used.

English uncountable singular Russian uncountable plural

applause аплодисменты

cash наличные

cutlery режущие столовые предметы

hair волосы

money деньги

English uncountable singular Russian countable

advice совет, -ы

gossip сплетня, -и

jewellery драгоценное украшение, -я

knowledge знание, -я

research исследование, я

work работа,-ы

English uncountable plural Russian countable

archives архив, -ы

congratulations поздравление, -я

goods товар, -ы

outskirts окраина, -ы

proceeds выручка, -и

pyjamas пижама, -ы

remains остаток, -и

Nouns can be converted from uncountable to countable, and vice versa

The uncountable form always has a more generalized meaning, whereas the countable form has a more specified meaning Changing uncountable nouns into countable form usually requires some kind of container or package or unit measure: water → a glass of water, advice → a piece of advice, Life is hard → He had a hard life. On the other hand, changing countable nouns into uncountable forms usually requires changing them into a more abstract or generalized form: a chair → furniture, a book → literature, printed matter, a fact →-> knowledge, data

Many nouns meaning materials can become countable nouns when they are used to refer to an amount of something in a container:

a coffee, a beer, a whisky

beer rum

brandy sherry

coffee sugar

Coke vodka

gin whisky

lager yoghurt

Some of these words are used in restaurants and cafes but not in people's homes. For example, you might ask for "two teas" in a cafe, but someone in their own home would probably say, "Would you like some tea:" or "Would you like a cup of tea:" rather than Would you like а tea? "

Uncountable nouns can also be converted into countable nouns when "a type of" or "a variety of is meant

a local cheese, a very fine jam

beer metal

brandy paint

cheese perfume

coffee sauce

detergent soup

jam tea

lager whisky

meat wine

medicine wood

To express measure of the substance expressed by an uncountable noun the following is used:

a piece of cake

a slice of bread, cake, meat

a loaf of bread

a bar of chocolate

a lump of sugar

a carton of milk

a tin of lemonade

a tube of toothpaste

a bottle of milk

a jar of jam

a grain of rice, barley, wheat

a pinch of salt

a piece/stick of chalk

five pounds of sugar

a blade of grass

a bag of flour

a packet of tea, sugar

a spoonful of sugar, flour, etc.

an amount of leasure

a stroke of luck

a fit of temper

a means of transport

an item of news

a sheet of paper

a yard of cloth

a state of health, disorder, uncertainty

Proper nouns being uncountable by nature can convert into countable nouns and be used in the plural number. There are a number of predictable ways in which proper nouns are used as countable.

1. When we want to suggest that someone or something is similar to someone or something famous:

All his children are Einsteins.

2. When we are talking about a copy or instance of something, especially a newspaper or magazine:

He bought a Times.

3. When we are referring to a product or work by someone:

The trip had taken two days in the shining new Ford.

Would you recognize a Renoir?

Sometimes a trademark for a product is used for all products of the same kind. For example, many people would call any vacuum cleaner a "Hoover," though "Hoover" is a trademark of one particular make.

4. When you want to talk about one branch of a shop or business:

They are making room for the new Woolworth's.

5. When you want to pick out a particular version of something:

This isn't the London I used to know.

6. Proper names are used in the plural to express several or all members of the same family:

The Browns were all present.

Collective nouns are quite special in their reference to number. They express groups of people or animals. Most collective nouns have both singular and plural forms: family — families. The plural form always takes a plural verb. But the singular form may take a singular or a plural verb. The singular verb shows that the noun is acting as a unit, the plural verb shows that the members of the group are acting separately:

The family is large. The family are all at home.

Most common collective nouns are:

army company majority

audience council minority

band crew orchestra

cast crowd population

choir enemy press (= newspapers)

chorus family school

class firm staff

club gang team

college government union

committee group university

community management

Also: the ВВС, the Congress, England (= the English team), Harrod's, the United Nations, The United States, the Vatican, the Kremlin.

The following collective nouns also called nouns of multitude are used with the plural verb only: cattle, clergy, gentry, people, police, poultry, vermin, youth. Reference to individual members of the group is made thus: twenty people, fifty police or fifty policemen, ten head of cattle.

Many collective nouns exist for groups of animals and birds:

a covey of quail — выводок, стая куропаток;

a flock of birds, chickens, geese, pigeons — стая птиц, цыплят, гусей, голубей;

a herd of cattle, sheep, cows, goats, deer— стадо скота, овец, коров, коз, оленей;

a hive of bees — улей пчел;

a pack of dogs, hyenas, wolves — свора собак, стая гиен, волков;

a pride of lions — стая львов;

a shoal of herring, mackerel — косяк сельдей, скумбрий;

a swarm of ants, bees, flies — рой муравьев, пчел, мух.

Some nouns expressing animals, birds and fish keep the singular form in a collective plural meaning:

EFL teachers should teach their students to differentiate between nouns with -s at the end. -S marks the plural number in countable nouns and nouns used in the plural and may be part of the stem of the noun (which in some cases developed from the former plural number) that may be a marker of the plural number or not.

On other hand, the absence of -s at the end of the word is not necessarily a marker of the singular number.

One other problem in connection with number of nouns should be given considerable attention to in the teaching process. This is concord or agreement between forms of the subject-noun and the predicate-verb. The general rule is well-known: the subject-noun in the singular requires the predicate-verb in the singular and the subject-noun in the plural requires the predicate-verb in the plural if the verb form admits of the expression of the singular and the plural. In other words, if the subject is a singular proper name, a singular common noun, a mass noun, or a third person singular pronoun the third person singular inflection is used with the predicate-verb in the present tense or the form "was" is used for the past tense if the verb "to be" is required by the sense. No inflection is used in the present tense and the form "were" in the past (if it is required by the sense) with subjects proper or common plural nouns, or plural pronouns. However, there are many special and difficult cases concerning this rule.

1. Collective nouns can take either a singular or plural inflection depending upon the meaning:

government has


crowd it, they

committee itself its which was

themselves their who were

2. Special care should be taken when the learners deal with nouns ending in -s, since, as is known, they can be considered to be either singular or plural:

No news is good news.

The scissors are on the table.

3. "A number of N" takes the plural, but "the number of N" takes the singular.

4. Fractions and percentage take the singular verb when they modify an uncountable noun and the plural when they modify a countable noun; either a singular or plural verb may be used when they modify a collective noun:

Thirty per cent of water is wasted nowadays.

Thirty per cent of books were sold out.

Thirty per cent of population was/were present.

5. Plural unit words of distance, money, time, etc., take the singular:

distance: Two kilometres is a long distance.

money: Two hundred pounds is to be paid for it.

time: Three years is a long time to do it.

6. Arithmetic operations take the singular:

One plus one is two. Four minus one is three. Two times three is six. Twelve divided by two is six.

Problems may arise when the subject is expressed by a noun-phrase:

Either my friend or my relatives are going to see me soon.

Neither my relatives nor my friend is going to see me soon.

The proximity principle works here: the predicate agrees in number with the closest part of the subject. The same rule is applied in "there is/are" structures.

There is a book and two notebooks on the table.

There are two notebooks and a book

The principle of non-intervention is observed when the subject is a prepositional phrase including "together with," "along with," "as well as," etc.

Nick, together with his friends, is going for a trip.

The subject predicative agreement is problematic in certain types of relative clauses.

She is one of those people who never ceases to work hard.

Practice Activities

TPR Activities

A Monster

1. Make a monster.

2. Pick up the orange crayon.

3. Draw three eyes.

4. Put the orange crayon down.

5. Pick up the blue crayon.

6. Draw four mouths.

7. Put the blue crayon down.

8. Pick up the purple crayon.

9. Draw eight legs.

10. Put the purple crayon down.

11. Pick up the green crayon.

12. Draw three noses.

13. Look at the scary monster.


(Use relevant pictures of: a plate, two hot dogs,

three cherries, three French fries)

1. I'm hungry.

2. I want some lunch.

3. Pick up a hot dog.

4. Pick up another hot dog.

5. Put the hot dogs on the plate.

6. Pick up the cherries.

7. Put the cherries on the plate.

8. Put up two French fries/chips.

9. Put the French fries on the plate.

10. Pick up another French fry.

11. Put it on the plate.

12. That is a funny lunch!

The Dice Game

(Use a dice, a piece of chalk)

1. Pick up the dice.

2. Throw the dice.

3. What did you get?

4. Pick up the chalk.

5. Write the number on the board.

6. Put the chalk down.

7. Pick up the dice.

8. Throw the dice.

9. What did you get?

10. Are you sure?

11. Count it again.

12. Pick up the chalk.

13. Write the number on the board.

14. Put the chalk down.

15. Ask a friend to play with you.

Complete these paragraphs from a geography book. Put the words in brackets into the plural.

This small country is mostly farmland. The (animal) seen most often are (cow) and (sheep). Most (farm) have a few (goose), too. There are (donkey), but not many (horse). There's a lot of wheat and (potato), and there are (tomato) on the south side of the hills. In summer the (man), (woman) and (child) work together in the (field) seven (day) a week. The (person) work hard all their (life).

The only two (factory) in the country are in the capital. One makes (toy) and (game), and the other makes (knife) and (fork). All these (thing) are for export.

The east of the country is thick forest, the home of wild (pony), (deer) and (wolf).

(Photo) of the (cliff) along the coast show how beautiful the country is. But not many (tourist) visit it because the airport is too small for most (aircraft).

Key: animals, cows, sheep, farms, geese, donkeys, horses, potatoes, tomatoes, men, women, children, fields, days, lives, factories, toys, games, knives, forks, things, ponies, deer, wolves, photos, cliffs, tourists, aircraft.

Complete the following sentences with a countable noun converted to an uncountable noun, as in the first sentence, which has been completed for you. Choose from these words:

bird insect

cat spider

dog truck

flower vehicle

1. Cars, lorries and buses are different kinds of vehicle.

2. Ducks are a type of... .

3. Bees, ants and mosquitoes are varieties of ... .

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