STEP 1: DEFINITION
Number refers to singular and plural usage of nouns in English. Nouns must agree in number with their determiners. They are divided into three main categories:
- singular count nouns
- plural count nouns
- noncount nouns
They may be preceded by determiners that agree in number such as:
- one, two, three, etc.
- a, an
- a few
SINGULAR COUNT NOUNS
- use singular determiners: a telephone, an answering machine, the stereo, this calculator, that calendar
- can usually be made plural by adding /s/, /es/ or /ies/: pen/pens, class/classes, variety/varieties
There are many irregular count nouns. Check the Longman Advanced Dictionary at: http://www.longman-elt.com/dictionaries.
PLURAL COUNT NOUNSuse determiners such as:
- a few
1) often represent large categories and abstract concepts. Gerunds and nouns that represent particles too small to count are also noncount nouns. Here are some common noncount nouns:
2) use determiners such as
- a little
3) are always singular and always require singular verbs:
- The mail is late.
- Smoking ruins our health.
- Your financial support helps us succeed.
Errors in number occur when students form singular or plural nouns incorrectly, or when they use incorrect or unnecessary determiners.
Incorrect: His feets hurt.
Correct: His feet hurt.
Incorrect: Who gave you advices?
Correct: Who gave you advice?
Incorrect: These information is good.
Correct: This information is good.
Incorrect: I have a homework.
Correct: I have homework.
STEP 2: PRACTICE EXERCISES
STEP 3: LEARNING MORE
For more information on number, follow these links: