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Common problems

Countable and uncountable nouns


What's wrong?

Please correct the following sentences:

1. I have an information to give you.
2. How many money does he earn?


What's the rule?

Countable nouns have two forms: singular and plural.

Examples

A house is more expensive than a flat.

Houses are more expensive than flats.

Uncountable nouns have only one form and go with a verb in the singular.

Examples

The information you need is in the report.

Last night's news was very bad.

Much or many?

Much is used with uncountable nouns.

Examples

I haven't got much time.

How much sugar would you like in your coffee?


Many is used with countable nouns.

Examples

How many people attended the meeting?

There aren't many mistakes in the report.


A lot/A little/A few?

Be careful! Much and many are more usual in question and negative forms than in positive sentences. "A lot" is more common in positive sentences with both countable and uncountable nouns:

Examples

They have launched a lot of new products in the last few years.

He gave me a lot of advice when I joined the company.


"A little" = not much.

"A little" is used with uncountable nouns:

Example

We've only made a little progress.

"A few" = not many.

"A few" is used with countable nouns:

Example

Could I make a few suggestions?

Test it out!

Put "much", "many", "a little" or "a few" into these sentences:

1. Are there products of that type on the market?
2. How time have you got?
3. I've had ideas about the design of the packaging.
4. He doesn't earn money.
5. There are only women in the engineering profession.
6. Their busy period is during the winter months. They don't have so work to do in the summer.
7. Can you spare me time please? I'd like to talk to you about some ideas I've had.
8. There aren't trains after eleven in the evening.
9. Would you like more coffee?
10. I won't be free until 10 o'clock. I have to see people before our meeting.
   


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