~ Nouns and determiners

Count and noncount nouns
[ORG 10.4.2]

Some common nouns are count (countable) nouns - like h~'ok-. girl, prahlem; and others are noncount (mass) nouns. eg: r ic e, impfn tance. The distinction is partly related to meaning, but is also very important grammatically, because the usage of determiners with them is different.

Count and noncount nouns

Count nouns must have a determiner (a, one, my, this . . . )in the singular, though this is not necessary in the plural. Noncount nouns do not need a determiner.

Underline all the words that without further alteration can fit into the following sentences. If necessary, consult a good dictionary.

Example: Tom is always offering advice/assistance/idea/suggestion. [idea and suggestion are count nouns. We could say: He is always offering ideas, suggestions. But not *He is always offering ideal/suggestion.]

1 You shouldn't judge him on one achievement/failure/progress/success.

2 It was difficult for him to find career/employment/job/work.

3 His new job is something to do with advertisement/advertising/publicity/ marketing.

4 Buy now - it's a real bargain/saving/savings/reduction.

5 There is a/an fortune/income/money/wealth to be made from computers these days.

6 I need a new clothes/clothing/suit/underwear.

7 Modern ammunition/arms/equipment/weapons/weaponry is sophisticated.

8 You'll have to get a leave/pass/permission/permit to get into the factory.

9 Did you have a good experience/fortune/luck/time while you were away?

10 One scene/scenery/view/countryside particularly stays in my mind.

Count and noncount usage

Many nouns have both count and noncount usage. Sometimes the difference is between unit meaning and more general meaning: a chicken = a bird; chicken = the meat from it. Sometimes there is a greater difference: a sight = something seen; sight = eyesight.

Complete the pairs of sentences below, using the following words, once as a count and once as a noncount noun.

business - cheese - dinner - experience - glass - ice - life - noise -
painting - paper - pleasure - worry

Use a good dictionary to help you if necessary.

1 Where can I get A PAPER? I want to know what's happening. I also need PAPER to wrap up some parcels with.


2 Do y ou sell ............................ ? I mean, could you cut a piece so that I could replace

a broken window? Also I'm hoping to find ........................... to replace one I broke
when I was washing up.
3 Shopping in this huge store is quite .......................... They sell everything, but
some of the sales staff are very young and lack .......................... so they don't
know where anything is.
4 Still. I find it...............................to shop here. I mean I don't exactly shop for

...................... , but I like the atmosphere.

5 I shall have to come back another day and go to the art department. Tom and

Molly have asked for....................... as a wedding present. I don't think they like

(modern)............................ much.
6 so it's ............................. to know what to choose. Silly. isn't it ? Choosing a picture

shouldn't be a cause for ...............

7 Did you hear ............................ ? Of course, there's a lot of .................. , but I heard

something that sounded like a bomb.
8 Thev did have a terrorist bomb go offhere some years ago, but they were open

next day. ' ............................. as usual.' I've sometimes thought I'd like to start
............... but it must be a nightmare these days.

9 Oh. I must go to the food department. They sell (very special) ..............
made from goat's milk, one I can't get in my local grocer's. You don't like

............... '? You don't know what you're missing.

10 And what am I going to cook for .................. this evening? I think something
simple, because tomorrow we're going to ..................... organized by Bill

Brown's family to celebrate his ninetieth birthday.

11 He's led (very active) ................ and climbed almost every mountain you

can think of. But now. poor old chap, he can hardly walk. Still, that's .....................

12 Well, I think we've j ust time for the restaurant. I'm going to have . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What about you ? Are you going to have tea, or will you have your favourite

gin and tonic with .................... ?

Determiners [ORG 6.1]

Count and noncount nouns are partly distinguished by the determiners they can take. A great deal of and much only go with noncount nouns:

The tourist office didn't have a great deal of/much information.

a iot of goes with noncount or plural nouns:

They gave us a lot of advice/a lot of brochures.

Nouns and their determiners

Underline all the words that fit the following sentences without any other alterations. If necessary, consult a good dictionary.

1 Not a great deal of experiments/investigations/work/research has been done
on this.
2 Almost every detail/explanation/information/news he gave us seemed
inaccurate to me.
3 You see a lot of bad behaviour/conduct/custom/manner at football matches.
4 Does it do much damage/harm/hurt/injury?
5 That picture isn't of much importance/price/value/worth.
6 They have such terrible climate/storms/temperature/weather.
7 Each bag/baggage/luggage/suitcase should be labelled.
8 Neither computer/equipment/machine/machinery is suitable.
9 There's not enough fun/joke/joy around these days.
10 - but plenty of complaint/courage/patience.

some, any, no

Complete the following, using some, something, any or no.

1 Tom should be here ANY minute now. He says he forgot before.
2 That's ...................... excuse at all. He's terribly inconsiderate.

3 He certainly knows what he's doing. He's ........................ fool.

4 ......................................... child can see that: it's elementary.

5 You've given yourself quite ....................... problem, promising to help him like
that.

6 Well, ..................................... days you win;
7 and ....................................... days you lose.

8 I'd be grateful for ................................. help you can give.
9 I'll meet you .................................. time you like, to discuss it.
10 There's ............................... time like the present.

11 Some people always want ........................ for nothing;
12 but I believe there's .................................. free lunch!

Central, pre- and post-determiners

When more than one determiner can be used together, there is usually a special order they have to be in.

Unscramble these sentences.

Example: I been have months very all few last these trying
Answer: All these last few months have been very trying.

2 are complaints matter alone one about more several this there

3 both every second these two day surgical dressings be changed have to

4 amount food needed people times for of all that those three they

5 take hours tablet a every four half

6 all few first the those worse were rest than days

7 at because it's now disgraceful half get double a you the packet pric

8 age husbands were Mary's both her twice two last

9 another other new ten the she day dresses bought

10 one one ones you the dozen as for could little big same severe price get

few, a few, little, a little


Few and little are rather negative in meaning, and contrast with a few and a ilttle, which are positive.

Rewrite the following using few, a few, little or a little in place of the underline words, making any other changes necessary.

Example: Not many people are exactly the weight they would like to be.
Answer: Few people are exactly the weight they would like to be.

1 Hardly anv women nowadays want to spend hours cooking, and even fewer
want to spend all day in the kitchen.
2 Some people say they're not interested in food, and a small number actually
mean it.
3 Crazy starvation diets offer hardly any prospect of success.
4 It is all right to have some butter, but try to cut down the amount.
5 Some people do overeat, but not as many as you might think.
6 A small amount of salt is all right, isn't it?
7 There's not much chance of keeping slim, unless you stick to a diet.
8 Many people enjoy foreign restaurants, but not many people know anything
about Tibetan food.

Articles: a or the? [ORG 10.16]

Complete the following using a/an or the.

South Africa became (1) ..................... first country to declare (2) .................

great white shark (3) ................... protected species when (4) ..................... hunting

ban within 200 miles of (5) .............................. coast was imposed yesterday,

(6) jawbone can fetch $4,000.

'If (7) ....................... thief is determined andprofessional, he's going to break into

your house.' This blunt assertion is all (8) ...................... more alarming when
uttered by PC Alan Husher, (9) .................... crime prevention officer for

(10) ...................... Metropolitan Police. More than 500 crimes were committed

every hour in England and Wales last year, according to (11) ....................... latest

figures. In (12) ................... effort to persuade (13) ....................... public to play
(14) ................ greater role in tackling crime, (15) ........................ Home Office

has launched (16) ...................... $4.5 million nationwide advertising campaign.

(17) ...................... public's general attitude, according to PC Husher, is 'It won't

happen to me.'

In his own part of London, many residents head for (18) ......................... country

at (19)....................... weekend, leaving (20) .................... way free for committed

thieves. But he says that 94 per cent of crime against property last year was largely
preventable.

a/an, the or zero [ORG 6.2]

Insert a, an, the (or nothing at all) as necessary.

(1) ................ world wildlife is in (2) ........................ danger. (3)

reasons are complex - (4) ....................... world's population is expanding, and
increasingly (5) ................... man is destroying more and more of (6) ...................
natural environment.

(7) ................... 1ast dodo in (8) ................. world died on (9)..................

island of Mauritius in (10) ................ 1ate seventeenth century. Today, (11).

............... black rhino in Kenya could go (12) .................... same way. There is
(13) world-wide trade - much of it illegal - in (14)........................ rare

animals and birds. (15) ..................... particular favourite, and one severely
threatened with(16) .................... extinction through smuggling is (17) .................

orang-utan, which only survives in (18) ....................... forests of Borneo and
Sumatra.

(19) ................. fierce argument is now raging about how to protect (20)
............... most endangered species. Some people argue that (21) ...............

zoos, with their research work and breeding programmes, offer (22) ...............

best hope, and (23) ...................... protection from international smugglers. But

some of (24) ............. older zoos have (25) .................... disadvantage of (26)
............... cramped city conditions, though (27)..................... zoo with (28)

............... wide open spaces like Whipsnade Zoo in (29)....................

Bedfordshire countryside north of London is seen as offering (30) ...............
pleasant habitat.

However (31) ................ public - at any rate in (32) ..................... West - is

less interested than they once were in looking at (33) ............... captive animals,

so (34) .................... zoos, particularly traditional ones, lose (35) ..................
money.

Some zoos have sought (36) ................ solution in modernising. In (37)

............... recent years, (38) .................... Bronx Zoo in New York, for example,

has increased (39) ................. attendances by introducing (40).....................

natural habitats - (41) ...................... jungle world, (42) ................... Ethiopiar

mountain and so on. But (43).................... increased attendances must be partly

due to (44) ......................... fact that it opens free three days (45).............. week
and (46) ................ zoo still gets (47) ................government subsidy.
Neither (48) .................. traditional zoos, nor (49) ................ 'theme' zoo'

appeal to all animal lovers however. Some 'conservationists' would apparent!,

like to see all zoos abolished, and their inmates returned to (50) ................ wild

But this could perhaps lead to some endangered species becoming extinct.

Articles in flxed phrases

Complete the questionnaire by inserting suitable prepositions, and adding a or the if necessary. (When you have completed the questions, you could try them on a friend! )


1 When you wake up, do you get OUT OF bed immediately?

2 Do you get dressed before or.............. breakfast?

3 Do you walk .............. school/work?

4 If the answer to (3) is yes, do you go .............. foot, because you like th~
exercise, or because there's no suitable transport?

If the answer is no, do you travel ........ car ........ bus/or ........... train?
6 When do you work best? (a) ......... morning (b) ............ afternoo'

(c) ............... evening or (d) .............. night?

7 What time do you normally get ........... home?
8 If you had to work (a) ................ night, could you sleep (b) ...............
day?
9 Do you ever travel .............. air, as part of your job?
10 If yes, what do you do ............... plane (a) read (b) sleep (c) watch th'
movie?
11 Have you ever had ........ infectious disease such as (a) .................

measels(b) ............... mumps (c) ................. whooping cough?

12 If so, were you ................ hospital with it?

13 Do you get up at your usual time when you are ............ holiday?

14 Do you prefer to have a holiday ............. spring/.............. summer/

............... autumn or ................ winter?

Proper nouns

Most names are complete in themselves, but sometimes the is an essential part of the name.

Find out about Scotland by inserting the wherever necessary.

Come to (1)............... spectacular Scotland for a perfect holiday! And first to

(2) ......... Edinburgh, (3)......... Athens of (4) .............. Nortt

Visit (5) ............. Edinburgh Castle, perched on its rock 443 feet above sea-

level. Admire (6) ............... Scott Monument, a memorial to (7) .............

Scotland's most famous novelist, (8) .............. Sir Walter Scott. Wander down

(9) ............... Royal Mile, a series of narrow streets linking the castle to (10)

............... Holyrood House, or (11) .................. Palace of (12) .................

Holyrood House, to give it its full name. Begun by (13) ................ King James

IV of (14) .............. Scotland in 1501, but much restored in the eighteenth

century, (15) ........... Holyrood House is where (16) ............. present

Queen stays when she visits (17) ............... Scottish capital.
Also not to be missed is (18) .............. Edinburgh New Town, which sounds

like a modern housing estate, but actually dates from the seventeenth and

eighteenth centuries.
As a change from sightseeing, shop for souvenirs in (19)............ bustling
Princes Street. Pamper yourself by dining in (20) .............. Hilton Hotel. Seep

yourself in the atmosphere by reading that fine newspaper, (21) ...............

Scotsman.
If you're interested in art, (22) ........... National Gallery of (23) ..............
Scotland is a must. There's also (24) ............. Royal Scottish Academy, which

holds an annual exhibition of work by living artists. But the highlight of (25)

............... Edinburgh year is (26).................. Edinburgh International Festival

held every year in (27) ................. August and September.

But perhaps you want an away-from-it-all holiday. Then to you (28) .............

Highlands and Islands further north beckon. And how hard to choose! Heading

north-west you could drive through (29) ........... Pass of (30)...........

Glencoe, see (31) ......... Scotland's highest mountain, (32)...............

Ben Nevis, and take (33)................ famous Road to (34) .............. Isles. Or

you could travel by train along (35) ................. scenic West Highland line and

cross to (36) ............. Isle of (37) ................Skye. Or you could take a boat

to those remote islands, (38) ................ Outer Hebrides.

Visitors with a taste for active sports will find them in (39) ...............


Highlands. (40) .......... River Dee is famous for its salmon fishing; (41)

............... River Spey area is even more famous for its Scotch whisky. From the

mountain resort of (42) ................. Aviemore, you can go skiing in winter in (43)

............... Cairngorms, which boast the highest restaurant in Britain.

Another sight not to be missed in (44) ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, northern Scotland, is (45)

............... Great Glen (a glen is a mountain valley) stretching from (46)

............... Inverness on the east coast to (47).................. Fort William on the

west. The Glen consists of a series of lochs (lakes) linked by (48) ...............

Caledonian Canal, said to be the home of (49) ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Loch Ness Monster,

a vast prehistoric beast surviving in the deep remote waters of this loch. Some
people doubt the very existence of this strange creature - others are certain that

(50) ............. 'Nessie' is real.

Number and irregular plurals
Most count nouns form their plurals by adding -s or -es, but some have irregular plurals.



[ORG 5.6-8]

Complete the following using the correct plural forms.

Example: I want a chocolate mouse.
Answer: We haven't any edible MICE. Sorry!
1 I want a Christmas card with a snowman on it.
I'm afraid we're out of cards with ....................
2 And I need some sort of bookshelf.
We have some good value wooden ............. at $49.99.

3 And where can I get a silk scarf and a pure linen handkerchief?

We have some beautiful silk .......... , but we only sell cotton ..............

4 And can you ask your food department to send me a large plaice ?

I don't think they've any ............. at all today.

5 Oh, and I need a dozen eggs - no, make it two ...............

6 And I want a story about spacecraft.
I'm afraid there's no demand for ................ about ..............
7 Oh, and I need a hundred pins.
We sell pins in packets of two ............ at 99p. You do seem to want some
rather peculiar things.

8 Yes, well, that's the lot. I've only got about a pound in cash, but I suppose I can

pay by credit card?
All this is rather a tall order! Give me a cheque for ninety-nine ............ 50p.

'Foreign' plurals

Complete the following. There may be alternative answers.

1 Is this the only series of children's books you stock?

No, we have several other SERIES for older children.

2 I'm buying another encyclopaedia.

How many ............. have you got now?

3 She's busy writing an index, and the appendix to her book.

She seems to spend more time writing ........................and

....................... than the actual books

4 This is a crisis.

Oh dear, your whole life is a series of ........................

5 He'll send you a memorandum.

He's always sending .................

6 Have you got a prospectus?

There are two .................. Which do you want ?

7 He needs a stimulus.

But he never reacts to any.................

8 What's your criterion for personal success?

I think different people have different ........................

Singular or plural nouns?

Some nouns ending in-s are not plural (eg:physics); but some nouns without -s are (people).

Collective nouns (eg: audience, committee,family, team) are singular nouns - they need a determiner such as a, the, this - but sometimes take a plural verb:This team have done well this season


Write out all the possible alternatives in the following.

I Some/this/these folk don't/doesn't know how to spend its/their money.
Answers: Some folk don't know how to spend their money.
These folk don't know how to spend their money.
(folk is normally plural]

2 This/these belongings of John's was/were found in the cupboard.

3 This/these family need/needs help.

4 I paid CHF100 for this/these binoculars, but it/they isn't/aren't very good.

5 The police has/have a hard job to do.

6 What was/were the news on television last night?

7 There is/are a couple of people outside who/which want/wants to talk to you.

8 The Prime Minister's office has/have issued a statement.

9 The outskirts of the town is/are rather dull.

10 A majority of the strikers want/wants to return to work.

11 Our MP's majority was/were higher this time than last time.

12 Why is/are there remains of food on the table?

13 The public has/have a right to know what money is being spent in its/their name.

Exercise 59 Genitive or of-construction [ORG 5.10]

Use the information given to complete the sentences using a genitive. In some sentences you will have to use a noun derived from another word in the sentence.

Example: Henry behaved very badly, which upset all of us.
Answer: We were all upset by HENRY S BAD BEHAVIOUR.

1 My parents insisted on taking the dog on holiday. This caused problems.

There were problems because of (2) ................................................
2 My uncle says he was educated during the school holidays.

............................. , he says, took place in the school holidays.

3 My aunt has her initials on all her things.

....................................................... things have her initials on.

4 Bill has been omitted from the team. It is a great surprise to us all.

We are all surprised at..................................................................

5 Bill has been very loyal to them. It impresses me.

I am impressed by .............................

6 My grandmother is always losing her spectacles, and expects us to find them.

We're always looking for ................................... 7
The people who advised my grandfather were not exactly helpful.

My .......................................................................................
8 My mother is very disappointed - that's obvious.

............................ is obvious.