Countable and Uncountable (I'm Starving!)

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Rory is home from school. He's hungry, as usual!

When there is one of something we put a or an in front of the noun.

 

  • a lemon 

When a noun starts with a, e, i, o, or u, it gets an.

 

  • an onion

Is there anything to eat? All I can see is a lemon and an onion in the fridge!

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Seriously, Mac! I need to eat! I AM STARVING!

OK! Don’t panic, Rory! Ehh... look for eggs.

Some things are easy to count, like…

  • one lemon

  • two onions

  • three eggs

 

We call these countable nouns.

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Eggs…where are the eggs?

I definitely saw eggs!

When there is more than one countable thing, we make it a plural by adding an s for most nouns.

 

  • egg….eggs

  • lemon….lemons

  • onion….onions

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When we aren’t specific about the number of things, we use some or any. Any is for the negative and questions.

 

  • There are some eggs.

  • Are there any eggs?

  • There aren’t any eggs.

Are there any eggs? ….Nope, I don’t see any eggs…Oh, I think I see some eggs at the back!

I told you!

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How many eggs are there?

With countable nouns we also use many in how many?

  • How many eggs are there?

  • How many lemons do you need?

  • How many books do you have?

  • How many clouds do you see?

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Let me see... there are two eggs!

Great! Now, look in the cupboard for flour.

Flour is not easy to count. So we call it an uncountable noun.  Here are a few more examples of uncountable nouns…

  • sugar

  • milk

  • salt

  • chocolate

  • water

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Is there any flour?... Let me see…. No, there isn’t any flour…. Oh wait, yes, I have some flour! 

Excellent! Let me check the recipe.

For uncountable nouns we generally don’t use the plural.

  • flour….. flours

  • sugar…. sugars

  • butter… butters

 

And we use the singular of the verb.

  • There is some flour.

  • Is there any flour?

  • No, there isn’t any flour.

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How much flour do we need?

300 grams. We have enough! And we have milk so we can make pancakes.

For uncountable nouns we use much in how much

 

  • How much flour do we need?

  • How much butter is there?

  • How much milk is left?

  • How much chocolate did you eat?

X

X

X

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Pancakes!!!! I LOVE PANCAKES! I love you, Mac!!!

Yeah, yeah! Come on! Start mixing!

...And so Mac saved Rory from a bad attack of the munchies!

  • fridge (UK English) refrigerator (US English) 

  • starving: really hungry

  • panic: feel worried suddenly

  • cupboard: place with a door and shelves where you put things

  • flour: the white powder you use to make cakes

  • recipe: the instructions for making a cake or dinner

  • pancake: flat cake type food made with eggs, flour and milk

  • munchies: a need for food

Glossary

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10 Questions Quiz

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