Exercise 1

Choose a, some, any to complete the sentences below.

1I need information about the city.

2I always have egg for breakfast.

3Can you help me? I need advice.

4We don't have money.

5Can I have milk, please?

6Have you got pen?

7We didn't see people in the streets.

8Does Peter have magazines in his office?

9Do you want chips?

10My wife doesn't want dog.


 

 

Countable nouns

 
Countable nouns are nouns that we can count: car, house, book, etc. We can say one car, two cars, three cars, etc.
 

Singular and plural

 
Countable nouns have singular and plural forms: a car/cars, a house/houses, a book/books, etc.
 

a/an + singular countable noun

 
We CANNOT use a singular countable noun without a determiner like a/an or the.

  • I have a car. (NOT I have car.)
  • When I was a child(NOT When I was child.)

 

Uncountable nouns

 
Uncountable nouns are nouns that we cannot count: money, milk, rain, etc. We cannot say one money, two moneys, etc.
 

Only singular

 
Uncountable nouns do not have a plural form, they only have a singular form: money/moneys, milk/milks, rain/rains, etc.
 

Not a/an

 
We cannot use a/an + uncountable noun. A/an means ‘one’, and we cannot count uncountable nouns.

  • I need money. (NOT a money.)
  • We need to buy sugar. (NOT a sugar.)

 

Types of words that are uncountable

 
Some types of words that are typically uncountable are:

  • Food, drinks and liquids: cheese, bread, pasta, coffee, milk, petrol, fuel, etc.
  • Materials: iron, wood, metal, paper, plastic, etc.
  • Abstract ideas and feelings: information, advice, strength, time, love, excitement, etc.
  • Illnesses: diabetes, alzheimer, cancer, etc.
  • Languages: English, French, Spanish, etc.

 

Uncountable in English but not in other languages

 
Some nouns are uncountable in English, but they are countable in other languages. Some of them are: advice, news (it ends in -s, but it’s a singular word), furniture, luggage, baggage, bread, cheese, toast, etc.
 

Countable and uncountable

 
Some nouns can be countable and uncountable because they can refer to a unit or to ‘mass’ or ‘material’. Compare:

  • Yesterday I had two coffees. (= two cups of coffee)
  • I love coffee. (= the liquid that we drink)
  • I found one hair in my soup. (one single hair)
  • She has beautiful hair. (= the mass of hair on her head)

 

a/an, some, any

 
a, some, any
 

a/an

 
We use a/an + singular countable noun.

  • I have a new car. 
  • She has a brother and a sister.

We cannot use a/an before a plural noun or an uncountable noun.

  • I need to buy sugar. (NOT a sugar.)
  • We saw very beautiful places(NOT a very beautiful places.)

 

some/any

 
We use some and any before countable plural nouns or singular uncountable nouns.

  • He gave me some coins
  • He didn’t give me any coins.
  • He gave me some money.

 

some

 
We use some in positive sentences.

  • We cooked some cookies

 

any

 
We use any in negative sentences and questions.

  • She didn’t send me any messages.
  • Have you got any brothers or sisters?

But we use some in questions when we are asking for something or we are offering something.

  • Can I have some tea(=I’m asking for some tea.)
  • Would you like some tea(=I’m offering you some tea.)

 


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