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Unit 71. Countable nouns with a/an and some




Unit 71; Part A

galka.jpgCountable nouns can be singular or plural:

a dog    
dogs
a child
some children     
the evening
the evenings    
this party
these parties     
an umbrella
two umbrellas

Before singular countable nouns you can use a/an:

    Goodbye! Have a nice evening.
    Do you need an umbrella?


You cannot use singular countable nouns alone
(without a/the/my etc.):
    She never wears a hat (not She never wears hat)
    Be careful of the dog
(not Be careful of dog)
    What a beautiful day!
    I've got a headache.

Unit 71; Part B

galka.jpgWe use a/an ... to say what kind of thing or person something/somebody is:

    That's a nice table.


In the plural we use the noun alone
(not some ...):
    Those are nice chairs.  (not some nice chairs)

Compare singular and plural:


    A dog is an animal.
    I'm an optimist.
    Tim's father is a doctor
    Are you a good driver?
    Jill is a really nice person
    What a lovely dress!
    Dogs are animals.   
    We're optimists.   
    Most of my friends are students.   
    Are they good students?   
    Jill's parents are really nice people.   
    What awful shoes

We say that somebody has
a long nose / a nice face / blue eyes / small hands etc. :
    Jack has got a long nose.
     (not the long nose)
    Jack has got blue eyes.
     (not the blue eves)
  
Remember to use a/an when you say what somebody's job is:

    Sandra is a nurse.  (not Sandra is nurse)
    Would you like to be an English teacher?

Unit 71; Part C

galka.jpgYou can use some with plural countable nouns. We use some in two ways.
(1) Some = a number of / a few of / a pair of:
    I've seen some good films recently.  (not I've seen good films)
    Some friends of mine are coming to stay at the weekend.
    I need some new sunglasses.
  (= a new pair of sunglasses)

Do not use some when you are talking about things in general
(see Unit 75):
    I love bananas (not some bananas)
    My aunt is a writer. She writes books.  (not some books)

Sometimes you can make sentences with or without some
(with no difference in meaning):
    There are (some) eggs in the fridge if you're hungry.

(2) Some = some but not all:
    Some children learn very quickly.  (but not all children)
    Tomorrow there will be rain in some places, but most of the country will be dry.



Exercises

flag.jpgWhat are these things? Use a dictionary if necessary.
Key.3    It's a vegetable.
4    It's a game. / It's a board game.
5    They're musical instruments.
6    It's a (tall/high) building.
7    They're planets.
8    It's a flower.
9    They're rivers.
10  They're birds.
12  He was a writer / a poet / a playwright / a dramatist.
13  He was a scientist/a physicist.
14  They were U.S. presidents / American presidents / presidents of the U.S.
15  She was an actress / a film star.
16  They were singers.
17  They were painters / artists.


1    an ant?     It's an insect. 
2    ants and bees?   They're insects 
3    a cauliflower? _______________
4    chess? _______________
5    a violin, a trumpet and a flute? _______________
6    a skyscraper? _______________
7    Earth, Mars, Venus and Jupiter? _______________
8    a tulip? _______________
9    the Nile, the Rhine and the Mississippi? _______________
10  a pigeon, an eagle and a crow? _______________

Who were these people?

11    Beethoven?  He was a composer 
12    Shakespeare? _______________
13    Albert Einstein? _______________
14    Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy? _______________
15    Marilyn Monroe? _______________
16    Elvis Presley and John Lennon? _______________
17    Van Gogh, Renoir and Picasso? _______________
flag.jpgRead about what these people do, and say what their jobs are. Choose from:
Key.2    He's a waiter.
3    She's a travel agent.
4    He's a surgeon.
5    He's a chef.
6    She's a journalist.
7    He's a plumber.
8    She's an interpreter.

 
chef     interpreter     journalist      nurse      plumber     surgeon      travel agent      waiter
 
1    Sarah looks after patients in hospital.   She's a nurse.   
2    Gary works in a restaurant. He brings the food to the tables.  He __________________
3    Martina arranges people's holidays for them.  She ____________________
4    Kevin works in a hospital. He operates on people. ____________________
5    Jonathan cooks in a restaurant. ____________________
6    Jane writes articles for a newspaper. ____________________
7    Dave installs and repairs water pipes. ____________________
S    Linda translates what people are saying from one language into another, so that they can understand each other. ____________________
flag.jpgPut in a/an or some where necessary. If no word is necessary, leave the space empty.
Key.4    a
5    an
6    - (Do you collect stamps?)
7    a
8    Some
9    - (Do you enjoy going to concerts?)
10  - (I've got sore feet.)
11  a
12  some
13  a ...a
14  - (Those are nice shoes.)
15  some
16  You need a visa to visit some countries
17  Jane is a teacher. Her parents were teachers too.
18  He's a liar. He's always telling lies.


1    I've seen   some  good films recently.
2    What's wrong with you? Have you got   a  headache?
3    I know a lot of people. Most of them are   -   students.
4    When I was ______ child, I used to be very shy.
5    Would you like to be ______ actor?
6    Do you collect ______ stamps?
7    What ______ beautiful garden!
8    ______ birds, for example the penguin, cannot fly.
9    Do you enjoy going to ______ concerts?
10  I've been walking for three hours. I've got ______ sore feet.   '
11  I don't feel very well this morning. I've got ______ sore throat.
12  Maria speaks ______ English, but not very much.
13  It's a pity we don't have ______ camera. I'd like to take ______ photograph of that house.
14  Those are ______ nice shoes. Where did you get them?
15  I'm going shopping. I want to buy ______ new shoes.
16  You need ______ visa to visit ______ countries, but not all of them.
17  Jane is ______ teacher. Her parents were ______ teachers too.
18  I don't believe him. He's ______ liar. He's always telling ______ lies.


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