ELL Grammar Key 5 –Count and Non-Count NounsTypical ELL Errors- If I could have any pet in the world, I would prefer to have a cat because it is very clean and friendly animal.- I like how Mr Johnson teaches, but one thing that I don’t like about his class is that he gives us so many homeworks every night.- I was thinking of dropping out of school, but I talked it over with my uncle. He gave me a really good advice about my future, and I decided to stay in school.- My mother was elementary school teacher from 1992 to 2007, and she taught hundreds of student during this time.
Count Nouns Nouns that name things you can count. These can be singular or plural. Singular Plural A house Some houses A book Ten books My cousin My cousins
Grammar Eplanation – Count Nouns All singular count nouns must have an article (indefinite: a, an; definite: the)or some other determiner before them. Determiner Determiner + Noun Determiner + Descriptive Adjective + Noun Articles A cat A black cat Demonstrative That book That interesting book Number One reason One specific reason Possessive My class My worst class Quantifier Each problem Each serious problem
Non-Count Nouns Nouns that cannot be counted are called non-count nouns.Foods Liquids Ideas Nature Collective WordsSugar Milk Honesty Snow LuggageRice Water Importance Scenery FurnitureFlour Juice Intelligence Thunder FruitSalt Coffee Peace Sunlight AdviceMustard Oil Wisdom Hail Homework
Grammar Explanation – Non-count nounsWhen Natives sometimes use non-count foods and liquids in a countable sense, theyare referring to the container or serving of said thing.For example two coffees means two cups of coffee, two sugars means two packets ofsugar and so on.Many non count nouns are used in a countable sense, but that changes the meaningof the noun to types.For example it is correct to say that France produces over sixty cheeses. Herecheeses, a non-count noun, is used as a count noun and conveys the meaning typeof. (This usage is not very common.)
Words to count non-count nounsIt is not possible to count non-count nouns, but it is possible to quantify them.For Example:- Not much of the furniture is new, only three or four pieces.- I’d like a glass of chocolate milk.- I bought two pounds of ground beef. Easier for ELLS More difficult for ELLS Quantifyers that deal with food: A piece ( they associate it with something that is broken) A cup, a bowl, a slice, a glass A piece of luggage, a piece of furniture, a piece of advice.
How Many vs. How Much We use how many to ask about count nouns and how much to ask aboutnon-count nouns. This may be hard for ELLs since most languages only have one word to ask about quantities.
Many vs. Much We use many with plural count nouns and we use much with non-count nouns. When in doubt, it is always correct to use a lot of with both count and non-count nouns. Many Much A Lot Of Count Many books ------------------- A lot of books Non-Count ------------------- Much money A lot of money
A few / A LittleWe use a few with plural count nouns. We use a little with non-count nouns. A few A little Count A few books ------------------- Non-Count ------------------- A little money
A few vs. Few; A little vs. littleThis difference should not concern beginning or intermediate proficiency ELLs as itis an advanced grammar point.The connotation of a few is positive, whereas the connotation of few is negative.For example:That person has a few friends.VS.I have few friends.The same distinction happens between little and a little.
Advanced Quantity ExpressionsOnce ELLs have mastered a few, a little, many and much, it is time to provide explicitinstruction in variations of these quantifying terms. This will improve the ELLsspeech and writing.Note : words in red can be count or non-count. Count Non-Count 0% No, not any, a No, not any, a (complete) lack of (complete) lack of Few Little A lack of A lack of A few A little A bit of Some Some Several A number of 100% A great number of, a A great deal of, a large great many, a good amount of, a number of, substantial amount of A lot, lots of, plenty of A lot, lots of, plenty of
Common ELLs Mistakes: What your ELLs should know.1-Do not use a singular count noun without an article or other determinerWrong: job, apple, reason, best choice.Correct: a job, an apple, a reason, the best choice.2- Non-count nouns do not have a plural form, so do not add –sWrong: homeworks, informations, equipments.Correct: homework, information, equipment.3- Do not use and article or other determiner before a non-count noun. With non-count nounsyou cannot use a or an for the same reason you cannot use one or two.Wrong: a homework, an information, an equipment.Correct: homework, information, equipment.4-Use many and a few with count nouns. Use much and a little with non-count nounsWrong: much problems, a few difficulty.Correct: many problems, a little difficulty.5- Avoid using much in affirmative statements. It is not necessarily wrong, but it can sound strangein some cases.Unusual: She’s rich. She has much money.Correct: She’s rich. She has a lot of money.6- Do not use a lot of without a noun after it. Add a noun or drop the preposition of.Wrong: do you have any reasons for quitting your job? Yes, a lot of (the correct would be Yes, a lot.)
Count and Non-Count Nouns – Lesson PlanObjective - Have students recognize when to use how many and when to usehow much.Steps1. The students will be given a list of breakfast items. They will also be asked what they had for breakfast. There will be two columns on the board, no title included.2. They will name the food items and we will separate them according to whether they are countable or uncountable, without them knowing.3. After that we will go over why they are separated into those two groups.4. Next exercise will have them for questions with how much/how many.