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Number of nouns


Number of nouns is another elementary topic of English grammar much disregarded in the EFL teaching. Teachers shouldn't confine themselves to saying that the plural number is formed by adding the -s inflexion to the singular form. In fact number of nouns constitutes a vast problem embracing such notions as policemy, transition of meaning, use of determiners, agreement between the subject-noun and the predicate-verb.

Number shows the difference between one and more than one. If one thing ("thing" in a wide sense of the word) is meant, we use the singular number, if more than one we use the plural number. It is wrong to say that the plural expresses number, it does not, it signals the meaning of "not one."

More attention should be given to the formation of the plural number of nouns since it is far more difficult a problem than we think and it should be treated accordingly.

The plural number isformed with the help of the ending -s or -es.


bees dogs looks watches

days pencils maps boxes

flowers spoons seats wishes


In the following fourteen nouns the final -f is changed into -v and -es is added:

calf knife loaf shelf wharf

elf life seat thief wolf

half leaf self wife

E.g. calves, elves, halves.

All the others have -fs: proofs, cliffs, gulfs.

Some nouns may have either -ves or -fs in the plural number: scarf, dwarf, hoof.


If a noun ends in -o, -es is added in the plural number: tomatoes, potatoes, vetoes. Only -s is added if a noun ends in a vowel + o: bamboos, studios, zoos; in proper names: Romeos, Eskimos, Philipinos; in abbreviations: kilos, photos, pros (professionals); also: stereos, discos, videos, pianos, solos. Some other nouns take -s or -es: cargo, banjo, halo.


If a noun ends in -y, it is changed into -i- and -es is added: armies, duties, stories. If a vowel precedes -y, just -s is added: boys, keys, plays.

Some old English plural forms are still used:

man men goose geese child children

woman women louse lice ox oxen

foot feet mouse mice brother brethren

tooth teeth


Some English nouns keep foreign plurals, sometimes English and foreign plurals are used side by side:

alumna alumnae

alumnus alumni

formula formulae, formulas

index indices, indexes

crisis crises

criterion criteria

phenomenon phenomena

datum data

nucleus nuclei

syllabus syllabi, syllabuses


Compound nouns have three ways of spelling: two components are separated by a hyphen, written in one word or written separately. To form the plural of compound words spelled with a hyphen -s is added to the principal word:

daughters-in-law passersby

editors-in-chief girlfriends

lookers-on watchmakers


When compound singular nouns are spelled as one solid word, they are pluralized by adding -s to the last word:

airships bookcases

baseballs bywords

beefsteaks churchgoers


The plural of compound words with vowel-changing words in them will be:





Compound nouns consisting of two separate components add -s for the plural number to the last component:

apple trees ocean liners

bank books post officers

car fares water jackets

leaf buds wind gauges

Note even: trouser pockets, pyjama jacket.


Proper names form their plurals by adding -s or -es: Adams, Georges, Henries, Dickenses. When a proper name is accompanied by a title, either the proper name or the title may be made plural:

Doctor Hills Mrs Thomases

Doctors Hill Mesdames Thomas

Letters, numerals and symbols are preferably pluralized by the addition of's:


three r's and four s's

my four's and five's

your etc.'s and i.e.'s

all M.P.'s

Some nouns have the same form for the singular and for the plural: cod, deer, grouse, sheep, trout, quail, aircraft;

dozen (twelve), score (twenty), stone (6,35 kg);

means, series, species, works, barracks, headquarters.

Some nouns have two plurals, each plural form differs in meaning from the other:





cloth ;


clothes ,






die , ;

dies ,

dice /


genius ,


genii ,






The irregularities of the formation of the plural number of English nouns are ridiculed in the following poem by an unknown author.

The English Language


We'll begin with box, and the plural is boxes.

But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.


The one fool is a goose, but two are called geese,

Yet the plural of mouse should never be meese.


You may find one mouse, or a whole nest of mice,

But the plural of house is houses, not hice.


If the plural of man is always called men,

Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?


The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,

But bow, if repeated, is never called bine

And the plural of vow is vows, never vine.


If I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,

And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?


If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?


If the singular is this and the plural is these,

Should the plural of kiss ever be nicknamed keese?


Then one may be that and three would be those,

Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,

And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.


We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methren,


Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, him,

But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim!


So English, I think you all will agree,

Is the greatest language you ever did see.



Sometimes the noun in the plural acquires a different meaning:

authority ,

authorities , ,


damage ,

damages ,


development , ,






power , ,

powers , ;



works ; ,


Nouns that can be either singular or plural are called countable. Some nouns can't be used in the singular and in the plural, they are called uncountable. There are uncountable nouns used only in the singular and uncountable nouns used only in the plural.



have singular and plural forms have only one form

take verbs in the singular or in take verbs only in the singular/

the plural only in the plural

can have "a," "an," or "one" cannot have "a," "an," or "one"

before them before them

can have "few," "many" as can have "little," "much" before

modifiers them as modifiers

can be modified by a numeral

can be substituted by "one"

can have "some" before them can have "some" before them

only in the plural

can have "number of" before can have "amount of " before them

them only in the plural


Certain kinds of nouns are usually countable.

1. Names of persons, animals, plants, insects, and the like, and their parts:

Persons Animals Plants Insects Parts

a boy a cat a cactus an ant an ankle

a girl a dog a bush a butterfly a bone

a man a horse a flower a caterpillar a face

a student a mouse an oak a fly a head

a teacher a tiger a potato a mite a nose

a wife a wolf a rose a tick an ear

a woman a zebra a tree a wasp a wing

2. Objects with a definite shape:

a ball a mountain

a building a street

a car a tent

a door a typewriter

a house an umbrella


3. Units of measurement (for length, area, weight, volume, temperature, pressure, speed and so on) and words of classification (often used as measurement and classification with uncountable nouns):

a basket a drop

a gram a degree

an inch a kind

a foot a type

a meter a piece

a pound a bit

a square foot, meter an item

a cubic inch, centimetre a part


4. Classifications in society:

a family a country a language

a clan a state a word

a tribe a city a phrase


5. Some abstract nouns:

a help a plan

a hindrance a rest

an idea a scheme

an invention a taboo

a nuisance


Certain kinds of nouns are uncountable.


1. Names of substances and materials:

Food Materials

bread copper

cake cotton

chocolate concrete

meat grass

spaghetti iron

spinach steel

butter wood

cheese wool


2. Names of liquids, gases, and substances made of many small particles:

Liquids Gases Grains and other solids made

of many small particles

coffee air barley

milk carbon dioxide rice

oil oxygen sugar

tea smoke popcorn


3. Names of languages: Arabic, English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Welsh.

4. Most nouns ending in -ing. Exceptions include "building," "feeling," "dealing," "wedding" and "helping" when it means a portion of food; "a saving" is economy, but "savings" is an amount of money;

"furnishings" is always plural.

camping parking

clothing shopping

dancing smoking

hiking studying

learning trying

lightning waiting


5. Many abstract nouns including those ending in -ness, -ance, -ence, -ity:

beauty peace

equality plenty

happiness sanity

ignorance serenity

importance selfishness

obsolescence verbosity


6. Names of branches of human learning ending in -ics:

acoustics politics


mathematics physics

phonetics statistics


Another group of uncountable nouns occurs only in the plural form. They can take the definite article or no article at all in front of them; no numerals can be used with them. Here is a list of common plural nouns:

archives particulars

congratulations proceeds

contents remains

goods surroundings

odds thanks

outskirts whereabouts

Some plural nouns refer to items of clothing and other objects consisting of two parts:

braces binoculars

breeches glasses

jeans pincers

knickers pliers

leggins scales

pants scissors

pyjamas shears

shorts spectacles

tights tongs

trousers tweezers

"A pair of is used to show that one item is meant.

Many nouns are countable (C) in one meaning and are uncountable (U) in another.

paper n 1 U substance manufactured from wood fibre, etc.

2 newspaper

3 U ~ money, banknotes

4 pi documents showing who sb is

5 set of printed examination questions on a given subject

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


room n 1 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 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







English uncountable singular Russian countable

advice , -

gossip , -

jewellery , -

knowledge , -

research ,

work ,-



English uncountable plural Russian countable

archives , -

congratulations , -

goods , -

outskirts , -

proceeds , -

pyjamas , -

remains , -


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 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 , 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 , ;

a flock of birds, chickens, geese, pigeons , , , ;

a herd of cattle, sheep, cows, goats, deer , , , , ;

a hive of bees ;

a pack of dogs, hyenas, wolves , , ;

a pride of lions ;

a shoal of herring, mackerel , ;

a swarm of ants, bees, flies , , .

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 ... .

4. Alsatians are a breed of ... .

5. Lions and tigers are both types of big ... .

6. Roses and carnations are types of ... .


Key: 1 vehicle; 2 bird; 3 insect; 4 dog; 5 cat; 6 flower.

Complete the definitions below, choosing from the words given below, together with "a" where needed. The first one has been done for you.

faith reason

a faith a reason

glass rubber

a glass a rubber

memory study

a memory a study

1. Memory is the faculty which we use to remember.

2 ... is the process of learning actively.

3 ... is a cause or explanation for something.

4. ... is something we use to erase or remove a mistake.

5. ... is a set of beliefs like a religion.

6. ... is something remembered.

7. ... is a substance used for making tyres and other objects.

8. ... is having confidence in, or believing in, something.

9. ... is a room where people can read and work quietly.

10. ... is the process of working things out rationally.

Key: 1 memory; 2 study; 3 a reason; 4 a rubber; 5 a faith; 6 a memory;

7 rubber; 8 faith; 9 a study; 10 reason.


In the following sentences the underlined nouns can be countable or uncountable depending on the meaning. Decide which meaning is being used in each sentence, and cross out the incorrect noun group. The first one has been done for you.

1. To press clothes you need iron/n iron.

2. Language/A language is unique to humans.

3. In her youth she was beauty/a beauty.

4. We are looking for people with experience/an experience.

5. He kept his money in tin/a tin.

6. She's been looking for work/a work for ages.

7. You should study law/a law at university.

8. Then everybody called for him to make speech/a speech.

9. Plav/A play is more natural for children than adults.

10. Charitv/A charity begins at home.

Key: 1 an iron; 2 Language; 3 a beauty; 4 experience; 5 a tin; 6 work;

7 law; 8 a speech; 9 Play; 10 Charity.

In the expressions below decide if you can cross out the two middle words and in this way convert an uncountable noun to a countable noun. If you can, write "yes." If you cannot, write "no." The first one has been done for you.

1. a cup of coffee yes

2. a pair of scissors

3. a piece of string

4. a sort of cheese

5. a bit of chalk

6. a piece of cake

7. a piece of news

8. a type of beer

9. an item of information

10. a loaf of bread

11. a lump of sugar

12. a bar of soap


Key: 1 yes; 2 no; 3 yes; 4 yes; 5 no; 6 yes; 7 no; 8 yes; 9 no; 10 yes; 11 yes; 12 yes.

Put one of these counting expressions in front of each of the uncountable nouns below. There may be more than one possibility. The first one has been done for you.

a drop of, a grain of, a lump of, an item of, a pair of, a piece of

1. a drop of water

2. ... sugar

3. ... iron

4. ... scissors

5. ... music

6. ... news

7. ... shorts

8. ... meat

9. ... rice

10. ... research

11. ... information

12. ... sand


Key: 1 a drop of; 2 a lump of; 3 a piece/lump of; 4 a pair of; 5 a piece of; 6 an item/ piece of; 7 a pair of; 8 a piece of; 9 a grain of; 10 a piece/item of; 11 a piece/item of; 12 a grain of.


Say whether these sentences need "a(n)" or not. Use the dictionary to check whether the nouns are uncountable.

1. He gave us all ... advice on what to take with us.

2. I'm sorry. I can't come. I have ... homework to do.

3. She's doing ... investigation of teenage slang in English for her university project.

4. You'll need ... rice if you want to make a Chinese meal.

5. Paula getting divorced? That's ... interesting news!

6. I have to by ... film for the holiday. I think I'll get about five rolls.

7. We saw ... beautiful silk and ... cotton on Thailand.

Key: 1 -; 2 -; 3 an; 4 -; 5 -; 6 -; 7 -; -.

Imagine you are going away for a week's holiday and you pack a suitcase with a number of things. Make a list of what you would pack.

Suggestions: soap, a tube of toothpaste, a box of make-up, some writing paper, film, medicine.

Solve a Word Puzzle. The purpose of the game is to learn spelling and pronunciation of school subjects. You have to make copies of the word puzzle for a group of students. Put them in envelopes and distribute puzzles to each team. The team that will make the puzzle first wins.


Fill in the gaps in the sentences below. Use "some," "any" or "no."

0. I'm really thirsty. I'd like some water, please.

1.1 went to the library today, but I couldn't find ... interesting books. They all looked very boring.

2. A: What would you like to eat? Eggs? Toast? Fruit?

B: Could you give me ... toast, please?

3.1 bought ... coffee this morning, but it's too strong for me.

4. A: Would you like something to read?

B: Yes. Could you give me ... magazines, please?

5. A: I've invited some friends for a party tonight, but I've got ... music.

B: Don't worry. I'll bring ... cassettes this afternoon.

6. Could you go to the shop, please? We haven't got ... milk.

7. A: Can you tell me what's happening at the airport?

B: Yes. I'm sorry, but there are ... flights today.

8. I'm going to the shop. I'm going to buy ... bread.

9. A: Would you like to go to the cinema this evening? B: Yes, but I haven't got ... money.

10. A: I've got bananas, apples and pears. What would you like? B: It doesn't matter. I like ... fruit.


Key: 1 any; 2 some; 3 some; 4 some; 5 no; some; 6 any; 7 no; 8 some; 9 any; 10 any.


The same may be practised with nouns ending in -ics: phonetics, politics, statistics, linguistics, acoustics, physics.


Read the story about the Ancient Egyptians.

Do you know these facts about them? Cross out the wrong words.

We have found a lot of interesting information/mfermations about life in Ancient Egypt.

Most Egyptian children went to school when they were eight. There was sport for the boys only, which wasn't a/much fun for the girls. The teachers were very strict, but the Egyptians liked

I musics/music and most children learned to play an instrument.

Egyptian houses didn't have as 2 much/many furniture as our houses. The furniture 3 was/were usually made of 4 /a wood, but rich people had furniture decorated with 5 an/ ivory or gold.

Their clothes were made of linen but in winter some people wore 6 a/ wool. Because of the heat, most people wore their 7 hair/hairs short. Rich people sometimes wore wigs.

Women wore 8 /a beautiful jewellery. Egypt had gold mines, so 9 a lot of/many jewellery was made of 10 /a gold. All men and women, whether rich or poor, wore make-up and perfume. They got milk and

11 meat/meats from goats, and they ate a lot of 12 fish/fishes. They sweetened their 13 food/foods with honey. They baked their 14 bread/breads in mud-brick ovens. They also ate 15 a lot of/many fruit.


Key: 1 music; 2 much; 3 was; 4 ; 5 ; 6 ; 7 hair; 8 ; 9 a lot of; 10 -; 11 meat; 12 fish; 13 food; 14 bread; 15 a lot of.


Say if the sentences are true or false. Correct the false ones. The Ancient Egyptians had a lot of furniture in their houses. False. They didn 't have much furniture in their houses. They didn't wear their hair long. True.

1. We haven't found much information about life in Ancient Egypt.

2. Not much Egyptian jewellery was made of gold.

3. They didn't eat much fruit.

4. They ate a lot of fish.

5. The men wore make-up and perfume.

6. The children had a lot of fun at school.


Key: 1. False. We've found a lot of interesting information about life in Ancient Egypt.


2. False. A lot of Egyptian jewellery was made of gold.

3. False. They ate a lot of fruit.

4. True.

5. True.

6. False. They didn't have much fun at school.

Work with a partner. Ask and answer four questions about the Ancient Egyptians. Ask about their furniture, their clothes, their jewellery, their hair or their food.

You: Did the Ancient Egyptians wear their hair long?

Partner: No, they wore their hair short.


Find the mystery word


Which words are uncountable?

Ring the uncountable words and fit them into the puzzle (across) in order to find the mystery word (down).

suitcase gold furniture

coin fact money

progress luggage story

music news fun

answer chair knowledge

week sandwich song




The mystery word is: ... The mystery word is: information.


Choose the correct word:

Do you know when women first started wearing l.a/- trousers? The first woman to wear 2 /a trousers was the French actress Sarah Bernhardt. She shocked everyone when she wore 3 a pair of/a men's trousers in 1876. She was brave enough to wear 4 it/them in public. Trousers for women 5 was/were not acceptable. It was another forty years before women dared to wear their 6 hair/hairs very short. But Anette Kellerman was even braver than Sarah Bernhardt. Men and women used to wear swimsuits that looked like 7 /a pyjamas, with long sleeves and long legs. In 1909 Annette wore the first swimsuit with short sleeves and she wore 8 a/ shorts ending above the knees. But the police came and 9 it/they arrested her!


Key: 1 ; 2 ; 3 a pair of; 4 them; 5 were; 6 hair; 7 ; 8 ; 9 they.


Jane and Amanda are shopping. Decide if the words in brackets should be singular or plural and cross out the wrong word.

Jane: Is/Are those new sunglasses?

Amanda: Yes. 1 They/It 2 is/are nice, 3 aren't/isn't 4 it/they? Nick gave 5 it/them to me. It's a shame I can't see very well out of 6 it/them. Everything looks funny.

Jane: Look at 7 that/those red trousers.

Amanda: The 8 one/ones beside the T-shirts?

Jane: No. 9 Those/That 10 is/are a pair of yellow pyjamas.

Amanda: Oh. What a lovely blue skirt that is.

Jane: 11 That/Those 12 is/are a pair of pink shorts.

Amanda: 13 They/It would go well with 14 those/that striped tights. And look at 15 that/those jeans! I would love 16 a/some pair of them.

Jane: 17 This/Those 18 is/are the yellow pyjamas again! Amanda, did Nick tell you what kind of sunglasses 19 they/it 20 is/are?


Key: 1 They; 2 are; 3 aren't; 4 they; 5 them; 6 them; 7 those; 8 ones; 9 That; 10 is; 11 That; 12 is; 13 It or They; 14 those; 15 those; 16 a; 17 Those; 18 are; 19 they; 20 are.


Choose the correct word:

Ben: We need 1 some/an information about bus times. If we miss the last bus we'll have to sleep in a field.

Jane: We ought to take 2 some/a warm clothing, just in case. It would be 3 /a fun to sleep in a field. We could collect 4 a/some wood and make a camp fire.

Nick: Yes, and we could tell each other ghost stories. Let's take 5 some/an extra food. We had better not take too much. Walking uphill is 6 /a hard work. We can't carry 7 any/an unnecessary luggage.

Jane: I agree. I'm going to take out my carton of 8 a/ orange juice It's too heavy.

Nick: I hope we'll have 9 a/some good weather. Did anyone listen to the weather forecast?

Ben: Yes, I did. There will be 10 a/some fog on the hills at first, but there will be 11 a/some sunshine later.

Tom: Will there be 12 a/any rain?

Ben: No rain, just 13 a/ hurricane on the hills in the evening

Key: 1 some; 2 some; 3 ; 4 some; 5 some; 6 ; 7 any; 8 of; 9 some; 10 some; 11 some; 12 any; 13 a.


Uncountable nouns are used to describe personal qualities and skills Choose from the list and say what qualities these people should have Say. whether they need "some," "a lot" or "a bit" of the quality Use a dictionary for any difficult words.

Jobs: soldier, nurse, teacher, explorer, actor, athlete, writer, surgeon, receptionist, driver, engineer

Qualities: patience, courage, determination, goodwill, charm, stamina, reliability, loyalty, energy, experience, commitment, talent creativity, intelligence, training.

E. g. soldier a lot of courage, determination, stamina, loyalty and a lot of training.


Could I have ? Practise asking for these everyday items and decide whether you must say "a" or "some":

vinegar butter

duster egg

needle serviette

thread helping

sellotape cup

teabag water

polish fruit


Key: some vinegar, a duster, a needle, some thread, some sellotape, a teabag, some polish, some butter, an egg, a serviette, a helping, a cup, some water, some fruit.

What things which are always plural can be used to:

1. cut a hedge?

2. weigh something?

3. cut paper?

4. see better if you are near-sighted?

5. get a splinter out of your skin?

6. look at distant objects?

7. get a nail out of a piece of wood?

8. pull out a tooth?


Key: 1 shears; 2 scales; 3 scissors; 4 glasses; spectacles; 5 tweezers; 6 binoculars; 7 pincers; pliers; 8 tongs.

Put in the correct words

I'm long-sighted, I wear glasses to read. a glass/glasses

1. You can't wear to a Job interview. a jean/jeans

2. There must be two in the wash. shorts/pairs of shorts

3. I need a to spread the butter. knife/pair of knives

4. I need to cut this article out. a scissor/some scissors

5. I found a in the drawer. tights/pair of tights

6. I'm going to buy . a pyjama/some pyjamas


Key 1 jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 knife, 4 some scissors, 5 pair of tights, 6 some pyjamas


In each case, one of the examples is wrong. Which?

1. Company is often used for: actors, opera singers, swimmers

2. Cast is often used for people in: a play, a book, a film

3. Crew is often used for the staff of: an ambulance, a plane, a hospital

4. Team is often used for: doctors, scientists, passengers

5. Staff is often used for people working: in a school, on a train, in an office.


Key: 1 swimmers; 2 a book; 3 a hospital; 4 passengers; 5 on a train.


Match the words in the list on the left with their partner on the right

1. a hive of quail

2. a pack of lions

3. a shoal of wolves

4. a pride of bees

5. a swarm of herring

6. a herd of ants

7. a covey of cows

8. a flock of chickens


Key: 1 a hive of bees; 2 a pack of wolves; 3 a shoal of herring; 4 a pride of lions; 5 a swarm of ants, bees; 6 a herd of cows; 7 a covey of quail; 8 a flock of chickens.


Complete the conversation. Put in the correct form of the verb.

Keith: These trousers 1 feels/feel a bit tight. And I think the blue ones 2 goes/go better with the jacket.

Jill: That jacket 3 is/are too long.

Keith: Well, the jeans 4 fits/fit all right Peihaps I'll buy the jeans instead.

Jill: Yes, the jeans 5 looks/look good on you. I like the style. They really 6 suits/suit you.

Key: 1 feel; 2 go; 3 is; 4 fit; 5 look; 6 suit.


Organize a role play called "Shopping " Review names of common shop goods, names of shops selling them, names of amounts (half a kilo, etc ), names of packaging (a packet, a Jar, etc ), difference between number and amount (much/many), the English/Russian monetary systems, polite requests for goods, the question "How much/many?"

It is assumed that the students know numbers, greetings, partings, "please," "thank you," "here you are," "What's this called in English?", "Can you show ?"

You will need pictures or realia of common shop goods, price tags, real or toy money, pictures of the shops to be mentioned, role play cards. You will also need several dialogues on tape or read out loud for listening comprehension as examples of possible conversations.

S1: Hello, I'd like a pound of apples.

S2: Here you are, anything else?

S1: No, thank you.

S2: 40p, please.

S1: Here you are.

S2: Thank you, goodbye.

Sl: Goodbye.

S3: Hello, can I help you?

S4: I'd like tea.

S3: How much tea?

S4: A pound.

S3: This tea or that tea?

S4: This tea.

S3: Here you are Anything else?

S4: A pound of coffee.

S3: Here you are Anything else?

S4: No, thank you How much is that?

S3: 3,50.

S4: Here you are Goodbye .

S3: Thank you Goodbye.

: Which shop will we go now?

S: The greengrocer's .

: What do you want to buy?

S: I'd like a pound of tomatoes.


The students work in pairs. Each pair is given a card like the following:

Go into the grocer's and buy three things.


A: Good morning, can I help you?

: I'd like

Continue the dialogue.

When the dialogues have been completed, each pair practises their dialogue orally, accompanying their conversation with the handling of appropriate goods and money.

If a suitable tape is available, it can now be used for listening comprehension to give the better students some ideas of how they can expand the situation.

A: Good morning, Mrs MacDonald.

: Good morning.

A: Lovely day, isn't it?

: Yes, very warm for April.

A: What can I do for you today?

: I'd like half a dozen eggs, some bacon

A: Er Danish or English?

: Danish, I think About a pound, please, and some strawberry jam.

A: Here you are, anything else?

: No, thanks, that's all.

A: That'll be 2, 11.

: The price of things! Here you are.

A: Thank you, and here's your change.

: Goodbye.

A: Goodbye, Mrs MacDonald.


Expanded versions of the dialogues can be recorded and listened to later on or wr

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