Unit 74 - Plural English

Unit 74 - Plural English

Hi everybody, this is Misterduncan in England, how are you today? Are you okay? I hope so! Are you happy? I hope so!

Today’s lesson we are going to take a look at the way in which words change. Depending on the number or amount of things being talked about or described. In this one lesson, we are going to talk about the often confusing and sometimes mistaken rules of… Plural English.

The word plural simply refers to a quantity of more than one.
For one thing we say singular. A single thing is one.
Of course there are some exceptions to the rule of plural in English. For example some words have no plural. This normally occurs with objects. But now I’m getting ahead of myself.
So let’s take a look at each plural rule individually. One by one.

A plural is normally used with nouns. Describing the number of quantity of something totaling more than one in a sentence is plural.

There are six children playing in the garden. There were seven leaders at the conference.

You will notice that besides the use of numbers, there is also a change in the spelling of the nouns. So even if we quantify the amount with a number, the noun will still change in one way or another.
So the plural does not need to be expressed with a number.

For objects we usually add an ‘s’ to the end of the word. So one book becomes ‘books’. One cup becomes cups. One carrot becomes carrots.

Of course this being English, the rule is not always true. For example- for nouns that end in CH, SH, S, X, or Z, we add ‘es’ to the end.

So church becomes churches. Bush becomes bushes. Bus becomes buses. Box becomes boxes. Nouns that end with a vowel and a ‘y’ have an ‘s’ added to them. Boy becomes ‘boys’. Toy becomes toys. Day becomes days. Key becomes keys.

Nouns that end with a consonant and ‘y’ have different spelling. The ‘y’ removed and the word ends with ‘ies’. So baby becomes babies. Country becomes countries. Spy becomes spies.

Most nouns that end with ‘f’ or ‘fe’ have ‘ves’ added and the ‘f’ is removed. So elf becomes elves- shelf becomes shelves- loaf becomes loaves. Most noun which end in ‘o’ simply have an ‘s’ added. So kangaroo becomes kangaroos- piano becomes pianos- video becomes videos.

There are some exceptions to the ‘o’ rule. For example ‘potato’ have an ‘e’ added as well. So the plural of potato is potatoes. Hero becomes heroes, volcano in its plural becomes volcanoes.

The way in which some nouns change depends on whether or not we class them as being countable. Some nouns are not countable. This means that the spelling remains the same, whether the object is singular or plural.

As a general rule countable things are individual. A single thing or item is countable. Each thing can be identified and counted as it appears. So it is countable.

An egg is countable. One egg…5 eggs. The ‘s’ is added to show that there is more than one. We can say ‘egg’ to show the amount without a number. A basket of eggs.

  There are many countable nouns, in fact there are thousands of them. So I will take a closer look at some of the uncountable nouns instead.

Tea and coffee in their basic forms are uncountable. Sugar is uncountable if it is being measured or stored. However, all of these items can be counted if they are being served out. If tea or coffee is in a cup and is being served as a drink, then they can be counted.

‘Can I have three teas and four coffees please?’ The same applies to sugar. If sugar is being served, it can be counted. We can ask ‘How many sugars do you want in your tea?’
 However, when milk is being served it is not countable. ‘How much milk do you take in your coffee?’ This is because liquid is always uncountable.

Milk and water is uncountable. So is petrol and diesel, even the steam produced by boiling water is uncountable. Other uncountable things include gas and air. Although gas can be counted if we are talking about different types of gas at the same time.

“The earth’s atmosphere is made up of many gases.” Some animals are uncountable. (no plural word). Sheep are uncountable. They cannot be expressed in the plural. One sheep. Two sheep. A hundred sheep.

The general term ‘wildlife’ is uncountable. Some people believe that fish are uncountable, however this is not true. If we are talking about many different types of fish together, then we can say fishes.

Okay, we have looked at uncountable nouns, now we will look at those nouns that are only used as plural. . Clothing is often named in the plural. Trousers, shoes, socks, pants, knickers. Then there are glasses, earphones, gloves, and boots.

Other general items include scissors, tongs, shears, skis and skates. This is because most come in pairs or are made up of two identical items. We often proceed the noun with ‘a pair of…’ ‘a pair of shoes’ ‘a pair of trousers’ ‘a pair of scissors’.

Some plural words can cause confusion when we start using them in the possessive sense. The cat’s dish. The dog’s bone. The horse’s food. The children’s playground. The fish’s stomach.

Generally, we will add an apostrophe before the ‘s’. This shows that the plural is now being used possessively. This possessive rule also applies to given names. For example…Duncan’s class, David’s bag, Steve’s car.

But what about names ending with an ‘s’, such as James or Ross? For James you simply add an apostrophe at the end with no ‘s’. So it is James’. That is James’ car.
With Ross you simply add an apostrophe and an ‘s’. This is Ross’s new girlfriend. There are some nouns which change almost completely when used in plural. A goose becomes geese. A man becomes men. A mouse becomes mice. A tooth becomes teeth. Octopus becomes octopi. ‘Cactus’ becomes ‘cacti’.

If we are generally talking about more than one thing then there are many ways of expressing it. This is of course depends on how many things there are. One thing is easy. It is one. The one item. We generally describe two (identical) things as a pair. For example… ‘a pair of curtain’. Anything above two and we tend to use terms such as ‘some’. ‘I need some milk’ ‘I must buy some wine’ ‘I need to get some petrol.’

The most common (liquid) quantities tend to involve uncountable nouns. Of course there are exceptions. ‘I need some batteries for my radio.’ ‘I must buy some carrots and potatoes next week.’

There are other ways of expressing quantity. But we will save that for another lesson. Look what I’ve got…some delicious crunchy toast.  I hope this lesson, just like all my other lessons has been useful and I look forward to seeing you all again very- very soon.

This is the one and only Misterduncan, saying thank you all for watching me, teaching you and of course ta- ta for  now.

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Sentence explanation:

1.But now I’m getting ahead of myself.

Thành ngữ: Get ahead of one's self: Làm việc gì được coi là trước lúc cần thiết, cầm đèn chạy trước ô tô.

=> Tôi lại cầm đèn chạy trước ô tô rồi

2. The way in which some nouns change depends on whether or not we class them as being countable.

Which: đại từ quan hệ.

Depend (on) sth : Phụ thuộc vào cái gì

Whether (or not): Liệu có... hay không

She was undecided about whether she should accept his offer.( Cô ấy đang lưỡng lự về việc nên chấp nhận lời đề nghị của anh ta hay không.)

It all depends on whether she likes him or not. (Tất cả đều phụ thuộc vào việc cô ấy có thích anh ta hay không.)

Class (V): Phân loại.

=> Cách biến đổi của danh từ phụ thuộc vào việc chúng ta phân loại nó là đếm được hay không đếm được.

3. This is because most come in pairs or are made up of two identical items.

Because + clause: Bởi vì

Come in pair: đi thành đôi, đi liền với nhau.

Make up: hình thành, bao gồm. Ở đây dùng dạng bị động (are made up- được tạo thành từ...)

Identical: Giống hệt, y hệt nhau

=> Vì những cái này hầu như chúng đi theo cặp hoặc được tạo thành bởi hai cái giống nhau.

4. So I will take a closer look at some of the uncountable nouns instead.

Take a look: nhìn. xem, xét

Closer: so sánh hơn của close (gần )

Uncountable: Không đếm được

Instead: Thay vào đó

=> Vì vậy thay vào đó thôi sẽ xét kỹ hơn một số danh từ không đếm được.



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