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Unit 70. Countable and uncountable 2




Unit 70; Part A

galka.jpgMany nouns can be used as countable or uncountable nouns, usually with a difference in meaning. Compare:
Countable
    Did you hear a noise just now?
     (= a specific noise)
Uncountable
    I can't work here. There's too much noise
     (not too many noises)
    I bought a paper to read.
     (= a newspaper)
    I need some paper to write on.
     (= material for writing on)
    There's a hair in my soup!
     (= one single hair)
    You've got very long hair.   (not hairs)
     (= all the hair on your head)
    You can stay with us. There is a spare room.
     (= a room in a house)
    You can't sit here. There isn't room.
     (= space)
    I had some interesting experiences while I was travelling.
     (= things that happened to me)
    They offered me the job because I had a lot of experience. 
    (not experiences)
    Enjoy your trip. Have a good time!
    I can't wait. I haven't got time.

Coffee/tea/juice/beer
etc. (drinks) are normally uncountable:
    I don't like coffee very much.

But you can say a coffee
(= a cup of coffee), two coffees (= two cups) etc. :
    Two coffees and an orange juice, please.

Unit 70; Part B

galka.jpgThe following nouns are usually uncountable:

accommodation  
advice
baggage
behaviour   
bread
chaos
damage
furniture
information   
luck
luggage   
news
permission   
progress
scenery
traffic
weather
work

You cannot use a/an with these nouns:

    I'm going to buy some bread.   or   ... a loaf of bread.  (not a bread)
    Enjoy your holiday! I hope you have good weather (not a good weather)

These nouns are not usually plural
(so we do not say 'breads', 'furnitures' etc.):
    Where are you going to put all your furniture (not furnitures)
    Let me know if you need more information.
  (not informations)

News is uncountable, not plural:

    The news was very depressing.  (not The news were)

Travel (noun) means 'travelling in general'
(uncountable). We do not say 'a travel' to mean a trip or a journey:
    They spend a lot of money on travel.
    We had a very good trip/journey.
  (not a good travel)

Compare these countable and uncountable nouns:

Countable
Uncountable
    I'm looking for a job.
    What a beautiful view!
    It's a nice day today.
    We had a lot of bags and cases.   
    These chairs are mine.
    That's a good suggestion.
 
    I'm looking for work.  (not a work)
    What beautiful scenery!
    It's nice weather today.
    We had a lot of baggage/luggage
    This furniture is mine.
    That's good advice.
 



Exercises

flag.jpgWhich of the underlined parts of these sentences is correct?
Key.2    a    a paper b    paper
3    a    a light b  Light
4    a    time      b  a wonderful time
5    a nice room
6    advice
7    nice weather
8    bad luck
9    job
10  journey
11  total chaos
12  some
13  doesn't
14  Your hair is ... it
15  The damage


1    'Did you hear noise / a noise just now?'    'No, I didn't hear anything.'  (a noise is correct).
2    a   If you want to know the news, you can read paper / a paper.
      b   I want to print some documents, but the printer is out of paper / papers.
3    a   I thought there was somebody in the house because there was light /a light on inside.
      b   Light / A light comes from the sun.
4    a   I was in a hurry this morning. I didn't have time / a time for breakfast.
      b   'Did you enjoy your holiday?'    'Yes, we had wonderful time / a wonderful time.'
5    This is nice room / a nice room. Did you decorate it yourself?
6    Sue was very helpful. She gave us some very useful advice / advices.
7    Did you have nice weather / a nice weather when you were away?
8    We were very unfortunate. We had bad luck / a bad luck.
9    Is it difficult to find a work / job at the moment?
10  Our travel / journey from Paris to Moscow by train was very tiring.
11  When the fire alarm rang, there was total chaos / a total chaos.
12  I had to buy a / some bread because I wanted to make some sandwiches.
13  Bad news don't / doesn't make people happy.
14  Your hair is / Your hairs are too long. You should have it / them cut.
15  The damage / the damages caused by the storm will cost a lot to repair.
flag.jpgComplete the sentences using the following words. Use the plural (-s) where necessary.
Key.2    information
3    chairs
4    furniture
5    hair
6    progress
7    job
8    work
9    permission
10  advice
11  experience
12  experiences

 
advice          chair     experience    experience       furniture     hair
information   job        luggage         permission      progress     work
 
1    I didn't have much   luggage   - just two small bags.
2    They'll tell you all you want to know. They'll give you plenty of _____________.
3    There is room for everybody to sit down. There are plenty of _____________.
4    We have no _____________, not even a bed or a table.
5    'What does Alan look like?'    'He's got a long beard and very short _____________.'
6    Carla's English is better than it was. She's made _____________.
7    Mike is unemployed. He can't get a _____________.
8    Mike is unemployed. He can't get _____________.
9    If you want to leave early, you have to ask for _____________.
10  I didn't know what to do. So I asked Chris for _____________.
11  I don't think Dan will get the job. He doesn't have enough _____________.
12  Paul has done many interesting things. He could write a book about his _____________.
flag.jpgWhat do you say in these situations? Complete each sentence using one of the words from Section B.
Key.2    I'd like some information about places to see in the town.
3    Can you give me some advice about which courses to do? / ... courses I can do?
4    What time is the news on (TV)?
5    It's a beautiful view, isn't it?
6    What horrible/awful weather!


1    Your friends have just arrived at the station. You can't see any cases or bags. You ask them:
      Have you got any luggage?  
2    You go into the tourist office. You want to know about places to see in the town. You say:
      I'd like ___________________________?
3    You are a student. You want your teacher to advise you about which courses to do. You say:
      Can you give me ___________________________?
4    You want to watch the news on TV, but you don't know when it is on. You ask your friend:
      What time ___________________________?
5    You are at the top of a mountain. You can see a very long way. It's beautiful. You say:
      It ___________________________, isn't it?
6    You look out of the window. The weather is horrible: cold, wet and windy. You say:
      What ___________________________!


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