— Факультет иностранных языков
1.2. COUNTABLE AND UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
Nouns can be countable (those that can be counted) or uncountable (those that can’t be counted). Uncountable nouns take a singular verb. The most common uncountable nouns are:
• Mass nouns: fluids (blood, tea, coffee, milk etc), solids (bread, butter, china, coal, food, fruit, glass, ice, iron, fish [meaning food], etc), gasses (air, oxygen, pollution, smoke, smog, etc), particles (corn, dust, flour, hair, pepper, rice, salt, sand, etc).
• Subjects of study: chemistry, economics, literature, mathematics, physics, etc.
• Languages: Chinese, English, French, etc.
• Games: billiards, chess, golf, soccer, tennis, etc.
• Diseases: flu, measles, mumps, etc.
• Natural phenomena: darkness, hail, heat, rain (but: the rains = season of continuous rain in tropical countries), humidity, thunder, snow, etc.
• Some abstract nouns: accommodation, advice, anger, applause, assistance, behaviour, business, chaos, countryside, courage, damage, dirt, education, evidence, housework, homework, information, intelligence, knowledge, luck, music, news, peace, progress, seaside, shopping, traffic, trouble, truth, wealth, work, etc.
• Collective nouns: baggage, cutlery, furniture, jewellery, luggage, machinery, money, rubbish, stationery, etc.
• Many uncountable nouns can be made countable by adding a partitive: a piece of paper/cake/advice/information/furniture; a slice/loaf of bread; a(n) item/piece of news, etc.
• Some nouns take only a plural verb. These are objects consisting of two parts: garments (pyjamas, trousers, etc), tools (scissors, etc), instruments (binoculars, compasses, spectacles, etc), or nouns such as: arms, ashes, barracks, clothes, congratulations, earnings, (good) looks, outskirts, people, police, premises, riches, stairs, surroundings, wages, etc.
• Group nouns refer to a group of people. These nouns can take either a singular or a plural verb depending on whether we see the group as a whole or as individuals. Such group nouns are: army, audience, class, club, committee, company, council, crew, crowd, headquarters, family, jury, government, press, public, staff, team, etc.
The team was the best. (the team as a group)
The team were all given medals. (each member separately as individuals)
• With expressions of duration, distance or money meaning ‘a whole amount’ we use a singular verb: Two years is long to wait. Three miles is a long way to go. Nine thousand pounds is a high price to pay.