Nouns are words that name persons, places, things, feelings and ideas. In English, as in other languages, nouns can be classified in several ways. First of all there are common and proper nouns
Common nouns: house, axe, lake, rain, sugar, love Proper noun*- Jane London, Spain, Cyprus
Common nouns are further classified according to their meaning into concrete, abstract, material and collective nouns.
Concrete nouns: building, window, box, teacher
Abstract nouns: anger, love, kindness, warmth
Material nouns: flour, light, soup, bacon, sausage
Collective nouns: team, family, crew, staff, army
As in Russian, Belarusian and other languages, English nouns vary in gender, case and number.
The peculiarity of the category of gender in English is that it has no grammatical distinctions. The general rule is that nouns denoting living beings have the so-called "natural" gender and can be classified as belonging to the masculine (a man, a boy, an uncle, a gentleman — ht) or the feminine (a woman, a girl — she/
Lifeless things as well as babies and animals, if their sex is unknown, belong to the neuter gender (a child, a dog, a lion — it). Only some nouns denoting jobs and social status are different in form for males and females: a widow (J) —a widower (m); a prince (m) — a princess (f); a waiter (m) — a waitress (f); a tiger (m) — a tigress (/), etc.
2.1. THE CASE OF ENGLISH NOUNS
There are two cases in English: the common case and the possessive case.
My brother — my brother's job Nick — Nick's friends
The possessive case is used to denote the possession of particular things, qualities and characteristics.
The rules for the formation and pronunciation of the possessive case are the following:
• Singular nouns and names form the possessive case by adding's. the driver's fault, Roger's project
If a singular noun ends in the letter "s", the possessive form is pronounced [iz]: the waitress's duty ['weitresiz].
If a name ends in the letter "s", either 'sor only an apostrophe O is added.
Charles's (or Charles') address
St. Thomas's (or St. Thomas') Hospital
No matter how the possessive form is written in such cases, it is normally pronounced as [iz].
If two or more names form a single team or group, 's is added to the last name only.
Liz and Mary's desk
But's is added after each name to show individual possession.
Mozart's and Beethoven's music
• Regular plurals form the possessive case by just adding an apostrophe (').
my daughters' clothes, MPs' responsibility
• Irregular plural nouns form the possessive case by adding's.
the children's toys, sheep's pastures
• Compound nouns form the possessive case by adding's to the last word.
my brother-in-law's parents This rule also applies to compound titles and time periods.
Henry the Eighth's marriages the Secretary of State's visit a week or two's time
• Indefinite and negative pronouns replacing nouns in a sentence can also have the possessive case forms.
everybody's duty, nobody's business
If the pronoun is used in combination with some other words, the possessive case is formed by adding's to the last word.
somebody else's mistake each other's houses
The noun in the possessive case can be used on its own when it refers to:
• where someone lives at my aunt's, at the Watsons'
the dentist's, the doctor's
|• The pronunciation of's depends on the sound that precedes it. It is similar to the pronunciation of the plural nouns ending in -s/es. [s] Pat's hat; Jack's job; a month's club [z] Ben's opinion; the worker's club [iz] an actress's career, the boss's office; Mrs. Page's jam As seen from the examples given above, possessive forms are typically used with nouns denoting living beings. These are, in particular: the teacher's salary, my father's glasses, the Stones' cottage, somebody's umbrella, St. Paul's Cathedral|
|proper and common personal nouns and indefinite pronouns replacing them|
|• nouns denoting animals the pig's sty, a swallow's nest The possessive case may also be used with some groups of nouns denoting lifeless things:|
|geographical names institutions time references "money's worth" reference to cars, planes, ships|
the butcher's, the hairdresser's, the chemist's*
the team's sporting spirit, the committee's decision
America's policy, Hong Kong's future
the European Economic Committee's
|medical practitioners shops and business|
an hour's delay, a month's salary, today's '*Guardian ", ten minutes' drive
|' When we refer to well-known stores an apostrophe before -s is usually omitted: Macys, Harrods (or HarrocT s).|
a pound's worth of chips
the car's exhaust, the plane's engine
1. In each of these sentences there is a mistake in the use of the possessive case. Correct the mistakes by putting an apostrophe (') in its proper place and adding final -s/-es where necessary or crossing out the markers of the possessive case.
1. My uncle is my father brother.
2. He enjoys visiting friend houses.
3. When I was in Moscow, I stayed at a friend house.
4. These gloves look familiar. I think they are Mary.
5. The villa they are borrowing belongs to his brother's-in-law's parents.
6. Quite a few diplomats are assigned to our city. Almost all the diplomat children attend a special school.
7. I've got three aunts. All of my aunt homes are within a walking distance of my mother apartment.
8. The childrens' clothes were dirty and I put them into the washing machine.
9. As the English say, one's home is ones' castle.
10. There were a lot of spelling mistakes in Ann and Liz essays.
11. Somebodys' gain is often somebody else loss.
2. Translate the Russian fragments into English using possessive nouns. Insert articles where necessary.
1. They went on playing the piano in spite of the (соседских) complaints.
2. There are so many problems in (сегодняшний) world.
3. Do you know my (сестер) husbands?
4. It would cost me (месячную) salary.
5. The (женская) clothes are sold on the third floor.
6. The university is (в десяти минутах) ride from the dormitory.
7. The factory manufactures cheap (для медсестер) uniforms.
8. Tom and Paul are married. Their (жен) names are Cindy and Jane, respectively.
9. It is (горожан) right to know what the city is going to do about the housing problem.
10. It was (пешехода) fault, not (водителя).
11. There's a new (врачебный) surgery on the comer of Greenfield Street.
12. The (писателя) house contained a fascinating collection of old photographs.
13. The results of the (ученых) analyses of the (обезьян) behaviour are very interesting.
14. I'm quite frightened of my (шурина) dog. He seems very aggressive tome.
15. The (пациента) heartbeat seemed to be rather irregular.
16. The village nearest to my (дедушкин и бабушкин) house is four miles away, their farm is veiy isolated.
17. It's (чей-то еще) umbrella, it's not mine.
18. (Толстого и Тургенева) styles are quite different.
19. They had respect for (один другому) opinions.
20. She is quite sensitive to (других людей) problems.
21. (Смитов) luggage hasn't arrived yet, has it?
22. As a result of the (пилотов) strike, all flights have had to be cancelled.
23. She married Paul despite her (родителей) disapproval.
24. They've just announced there'll be (часовая) delay of the flight.
25. On my way to (булочная) I met James, a friend of mine.
2.2. THE NUMBER OF ENGLISH NOUNS For study
According to number nouns in English can be in singular and plural.
a table — tables, a cup — cups, a boat — boats, etc.
However, only countable nouns have both singular and plural forms. Uncountable nouns which include material and abstract nouns are used mainly in the singular form.
water, weather, courage, love, anger, etc.
Most countable nouns are made plural by adding -s/-es. These are regular plural nouns. The rules of their formation are the following:
• -s is added to nouns ending in
a) vowels or single consonants
a bee — bees, a buck — books, a uog — dogs, a hurse — horses
b) -y preceded by a short vowel
a day — days, a toy — toys, a boy — boys
• -es is added to nouns ending in
a) -s, -sh, -ch, -x, -z
a dress — dresses, a box — boxes, a bench — benches
b) -o preceded by a consonant
a potato — potatoes, a htro — heroes, a,i echo — echoes
but: a kilo — kilns, a piano — pianos, a photo — photos, a radio — radios
c) - y preieded by a consonant where -y is changed into -i
a story — stories, a city — cities, a lily — lilies
d) -f where -f is changed into -v
a wife — wives, a leaf — leaves, a hulf — halves, a shelf — shelves
but: a roof — roofs, a chief — chiefs, a proof — p> oofs, a cliff— cliffs Note that some words have two plural form^.
c scarf — scarfs/scarves, a hoof — hoofs/hooves
The pronunciation of the plural ending -s/-es depends on the sound "»receding the ending.
|after voiceless||after voiced consonant||after|
|c insonantb||except||[s, z, 3, J, d3, tf]|
|[z, and vowels|
Irregular plural nouns
• Some nouns are made plural by changing their root vowel or by adding the ending -en.
ox — oxen louse — lice foot — feet
man — men mouse — mice tooth — teeth
woman — women child — children goose — geese
Some nouns remain unchanged in the plural:
a) a sheep — sheep a craft — craft a deer — deer a fish — fish
b) a means — means a series — series
a works — works a species — species
• With compound nouns it is usually the final component that is made plural: bookcases, postmen, forget-me-nots, grown-ups, take-offs, but: passers-by, fathers-in-law, women-doctors.
It must be remembered that some nouns in English are always
a) plural both in form and meaning
arms, glasses, clothes, goods, pyjamas, scales, scissors, etc.
Where are your clothes ?
Your jeans are dirty. Change them.
b) plural in form but singular in meaning
billiards, draughts, dominoes; physics, maths, economics; mumps,
No news is good news.
Measles is an infectious disease.
His maths is poor.
c) singular in form but plural in meaning.
cattle, police, people
The police are investigating the case.
There are so many people around.
To express the plural meaning some uncountable nouns are used in combination with such words as a piece(s), a slice(s), a lump(s), an item(s), a bar(s), a loaffves), an article(s), etc.
|items of news pieces of advice|
|news (sing) advice (sing)|
|coal/sugar (sing) bread (sing)|
lumps of coal/sugar loaves of bread
|a cup of tea/coffee articles of furniture bars of chocolate slices of lemon, etc.|
coffee/tea (sing) furniture (sing) chocolate (sing) lemon (sing)
Some nouns can be uncountable or countable but with different meanings.
room (uncount) — место
a room (count) — комната
work (uncount) — работа
a work (count) — произведение
iron (uncount) — железо
an iron (count) — утюг
paper (uncount) — бумага
a paper (count) — газета
glass (uncount) — стекло как материал
a glass (count) — стакан
stone (uncount) — камень как строительный материал a stone (count) — камень coffee/tea (uncount) — напитки a coffee/a tea (count) — чашка кофе/чая
2.3. SUBJECT-PREDICATE AGREEMENT For study
COUNTABLE NOUNS AS SUBJECTS
• The subject of a sentence in English normally agrees with the predicate. This means that they have the same number: singular or plural. According to the general rule a singular subject takes a singular verb and a plural subject takes a plural verb.
An hour is a period of time equal to 60 minutes. (a singular subject + a singular verb)
Opening hours are from 10 to 6 every day. (a plural subject + a plural verb)
• The agreement of a verb with its subject is not changed by any interrupting words (phrases, clauses).
The day. that we spent on the beach, was enjoyable.
sing-subject attributive clause modifying the subject -ing verb
The three days that we spent in London were unforgettable.
pi.subject attributive clause modifying the subject pi.verb
• In sentences with a compound nominal predicate the subject and the predicative noun normally coincide in number. When the subject and the predicative noun do not have the same number, the linking verb agrees with the subject, not with the predicative noun. Compare, e.g.
The most exciting event was the rowing finals.
sing, sing pi.
The rowing finals were the most exciting event.
pi pi sing.
• There are special rules of agreeme nt for compound subjects:
O When the words forming a compound subject are joined by either... or, or neither... nor, the verb agrees with the closer word. A singular verb is used if the last word is singular and a plural verb if it is plural.
A pencil or a pen is fine for the test.
Either Ann or Jane is always nearby to help you with the computer.
Neither the President nor his representatives are to attend the
O When compound subjects are joined by and or both/and, the verb is always plural. However, when nouns joined by "and" denote a single unit, as in combinations like bacon and eggs, bread and butter, fish and chips, fruit and cheese, sausage(s) and mash, etc., the verb is singular. If they are thought of as "separate", they take a plural verb. Compare, e.g.
Fish and chips is a popular meal in Britain.
fish and chips make a good meal.
3 Compound subjects in book or film titles, etc. are also treated like singular ideas and used with a singular verb.
"The Sunday Times" is a popular magazine
"Romeo and Juliet" is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays.
• In sentences beginning with "here"or "there", the verb is singular, if a noun in such a sentence is singular. If the noun is plural, the verb is plural, too.
Here comes a taxi.
Here come two buses.
There is an old man sitting on the bench.
There are two scales of temperature used in science.
If the noun phrase following the verb in such sentences consists of two or more nouns in an enumeration, a singular verb is used if the first noun is singular or uncountable. A plural verb is used when the first noun is plural.
When I opened the fridge there was only a bottle of milk, some eggs and butter.
When I opened the fridge there were only some eggs, a bottle of milk and butter.
• When the subject of an attributive clause is a relative pronoun (who, which or that), the verb in the clause must agree with the word preceding the relative pronoun.
Bart caught a trout that was 18 inches long. (Since trout is singular, the verb is also singular.)
Find the titles of three books that deal with space exploration. (Since books is plural, the verb is also plural.)
If an attributive clause is preceded by the expression one of in the main clause, then the verb in the clause is plural.
Patience is one of the requirements that make a good leader.
• When an indefinite pronoun or a quantifier is used as a subject, the verb must agree in number with that particular pronoun. (See the chart below.)
|№ I Form ' of the verb||Examples||Pronouns/Quantifiers|
|Singular||anybody, anyone, anything, everybody, everyone, everything, nobody, no one, nothing, somebody, someone, something||Someone tells him these silly things, and he believes every word without a question. Nothing stands in the way of Caroline when she puts her mind to a problem.|
|№||Form of the verb||Examples||Pronouns/Quantifiers|
|each, either, every, neither* a great/good deal of, a large/small amount of, a large/small quantity of, little, a little, much, the number (of)||Each employee has to sign a contract. Neither of the boys is good enough for the team, (formal writing) A great deal of research has already been completed. The number of students considering college increases each year. There was little difficulty in getting the visa.|
|Plural||both, either, few, a few, neither, many, several, a couple of, a number of**||Both of the stories appear equally true. A number of students intend to go to college. Many of the tapes are broken.|
|Singular/ Plural||all, any, no, not any, none***, some, a lot of, lots of, plenty of, half of, most of||All the furniture was destroyed by fire. Most of the book was bound in suede. Most of the world's diamonds come from Africa. Most of the bread is fresh.|
|* Either and neither as pronouns are usually singular in formal writing, but often plural in speech when they are followed by a plural noun or a pronoun. Compare, e.g.|
Either of them have (formal has) promised to help me.
Neither of the books are (format is) very interesting.
** The expressions the number of and a number of differ in the way they agree with the verb. The number of takes a singular verb, and a number of takes a plural verb. Compare, e.g.
The number of students at our college increases each year
A number of students of our college intend to take part in the conference.
*** None, unlike either or neither is usually plural in formal writing but often singular in speech when it is followed by a plural countable noun or a pronoun. But when none is followed by an uncountable noun, the verb is always singular. Compare, e.g.
None of the books are/is very interesting.
None of them have/has been to Paris.
None of the stolen money has been found.
On the Way to Success
UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS AS SUBJECTS
Uncountable nouns are generally singular in form and take a verb in the singular. The most common uncountable nouns of this type are those which denote:
O Food and drinks; liquids and gases
bacon, beef, bread, cabbage, caviar, chocolate, flour, fruit, mustard, mutton, poultry, sausage, yogurt;gas, hydrogen, ink, oil, oxygen, petrol, shampoo, steam, smoke, water, etc.
Rice is grown in India and China. In England most bread is made from wheat. This shampoo is for dry hair. When water boils it changes into steam.
O Some kinds of plants, herbs, flowers and cereals
barley, grass, jasmine, lilac, mint, moss, nettle, rye, wheat, etc.
Nettle has leaves with hairs which may sting. Rye gets ripe at the end of July.
O Textiles and fabrics; materials and metals; clothing
brass, canvas, china, copper, denim, flax, leather, linen, plastic, rubber, satin, velvet, wood, wool, etc.
Denim is a strong cotton cloth used for jeans. Plastic isn't recycled.
O Some diseases, illnesses and treatment
asthma, cholera, flu, malaria, ointment, pneumonia, etc.
Malaria is a disease that causes fever and shivering. Ointment is a substance containing oil and fat.
О Some sports and games
badminton, camping, cricket, football, golf, jogging, racing, etc.
Cycling is an outdoor kind of sport. О Time and natural phenomena
air, dawn, fog, lightning, thunder, twilight, rain, smog, snow, weather, etc.
Smog means thick fog.
The weather is unpredictable in England.
О Abstract notions: feelings, generalizations, ideas, states, etc.
accommodation, advice, anger, applause, assistance, attention, business, charity, countryside, courage, damage, education, evidence, experience, housework, homework, information, intelligence, knowledge, luck, permission, progress, sadness, traffic, travel, work, etc.
Andrew's accommodation seems luxurious. The advice she gave me was good but I didn't listen. His knowledge of ancient history is poor.
• Some uncountable nouns are plural in form but singular in meaning because they name single things. Such nouns usually take a singular verb. Here belong:
О Academic subjects ending in -ics, illnesses, sports activities and games
economics [^ks'nDimks] — экономика ethics ['eGiks] — этика linguistics [liq'gwistiks] — лингвистика mathematics ^iraeGo'mastiks] — математика mechanics [mi'kasniks] — механика
optics ['optiks] — оптика phonetics [fou'netiks] — фонетика physics ['fiziks] — физика politics ['pDlitiks] — политика statistics [sta'tistiks] — статистика
Physics is a difficult subject, diabetes [,dai3'bi:ti:z] — диабет herpes ['li3:pi:z] — лишай measles [mi:zlz] — корь mumps [mAmps] — свинка rabies ['reibi:z] — бешенство rickets ['rikits] — рахит shingles ['Jigglz] — опоясывающий лишай
Measles is in most cases a relatively harmless disease.
athletics [asG'letiks] — атлетика billiards ['biliadz] — биллиард bowls [bsulz] — игра в шары checkers ['tjeksz] — американские шашки darts [da:ts] — метание дротиков dominoes ['dDminauz] — домино gymnastics [d3imWstiks] — гимнастика
Darts is a very competitive sport. The group of uncountable nouns plural in form but singular in meaning also includes the noun news.
The news from our partners seems very encouraging.
• There are some uncountable nouns which are plural in form and always take a plural verb. These are:
О Garments consisting of two parts
braces ['breisiz] — подтяжки jeans [d3i:nz] — джинсы leggings ['legirjz] — легинсы overalls ['suvaroilz] — комбинезон pants [pasnts] — брюки, штаны pyjamas [pi'd3a:m9z] — пижама shorts [Jo:ts] — шорты
tights [taits] — колготки trousers f'trauzsz] — брюки
The child's jeans need washing.
Bis trousers were new and fitted him perfectly.
О Tools and instruments consisting of two parts
binoculars [bi'nokjalaz] — бинокль glasses ['glcnsiz] — очки scales [skeilz] — весы scissors fsizsz] — ножницы sunglasses ['sAi^glaisiz] — темные очки
The kitchen scales are in the corner. Where are my scissors?
О Some other nouns
arms [a:mz] — оружие authorities [oi'QDritiz] — власти belongings [bi'lDrjigz] — пожитки brains [breinz] — умственные способности clothes [khu6z] — одежда
congratulations [k3n,gra2tju:'leij(3)nz] — поздравление
contents fkontents] — оглавление, содержание, содержимое
customs ['Lvstamz] — таможня, таможенные пошлины
expenses [iks'pensiz] — расходы
goods [gudz] — товары
looks [loks] — вид, наружность
manners ['тгепэг] — манеры, умение держать себя
memories ['memariz] — воспоминания
regards [n'ga:dz] — поклон, привет
riches ['ritjiz] — богатства
stairs [steaz] — лестница
talks [to:ks] — переговоры
wages ['weid3iz] — заработная плата
The British authorities are investigating the problem.
Sports goods are sold on the second floor.
The talks are going ahead between the Government and the Unions.
• Sonic nouns are singular in form bui plural in meaning ^collective nouns). Such nouns take a singular verb.
luggage, crockery, cutlery, equipment, furniture, hair, jewellery, linen,
luggage, machinery; money, ruboish, stationery, etc.
The furniture was delivered vesterdav morning. His luggage t extremely heavy. Money doesn't a'ways bring happiness. Her hair is beautiful.
• There are collective noun» which are always plural in meaning and must be followed by a plural vei b. pt ople, cattle, the clergy, the military, the police
Some people are never satisfied. The cattle are fed on barley and grass.
• Some collective nouns can b^ used either with a singular or a plur°l verb"*. The choice depends on whether we see the group as a whole or as a gr^up of individuals. Here belong the following nouns" choir, committee, compcny, crew, crowd, band, fandly, government, group, population, public, staff, team, university, etc.
Very often it doesn't matter whether the verb is singular or plural.
The team was/were playing well.
The family is/are gathering for Christmas.
• Words that express amounts, measurements, or weights usually have a plural form hut are often considered to be a singular unit and taite a singul tr verb
Six months is needed to complete the project. (Six months is one period of time.)
These words can be followed by a plural form when they are thought
about as separate units.
Six monthj have passed since school began. (The six months are being thought as six indiviaual months.)
When the subject is a fraction or a percent (per cent), the verb agrees with the object that follows the preposition "of".
Two thirds of the planet's surface is covered with water.
Two thirds of Chad's exports were cotton.
90 percent of most food is water.
About 70 percent of accountants here are women.
1. Make the following plural nouns singular, observing spelling changes where necessary.
Knives, churches, parties, houses, keys, policies, stores, stories, babies, people, lives, pence, youths, garages, scarves, passers-by, tomatoes, families, umbrellas, halves, mosquitoes, watches, bees, plays, leaves, pennies, pianos, sisters-in law, cloths, pen-friends
2. Make the following singular nouns plural, putting each noun into the appropriate column below.
Photo, goose, sheep, kilo, piano, belief, mouse, chief, zoo, tooth, handkerchief, radio, foot, proof, thief, solo, louse, grief, woman, volcano, leaf, swine, hero, wolf, echo, half, cliff, scarf, hoof
3. Group the following nouns in accordance with their type, putting them in the appropriate column.
Advice, species, politics, staff, clothes, measles, shorts, money, knowledge, darts, news, means, goods, jeans, physics, series, luggage, rubbish, draughts, scissors, clergy, army, tights, research, weather, cattle, accommodation, works, jewellery, company
4. Translate the Russian fragments into English.
A. Observing the spelling of plural nouns.
1. How many (зоопарков) are there in your country? 2.1 helped him put up some (полок) in his bedroom.
3. (Помидоры) are my favourite vegetables.
4. Last night the storm did much damage to the (крышам) of the houses.
5. In these two (фотографиях) Ann and Linda look very much alike.
6. Her (обязанности) included cleaning and cooking.
7. (Зубы) should be brushed twice a day.
8. Most male (олени) have horns in the shape of (ветвей).
9. (Ученые) do a lot of research to find cures for various (болезней). 10. There were so many flowery (кустов) with large shiny (листьями).
B. Observing the use of singular/plural nouns and subject/predicate agreement.
1. Buses (являются средством) of transport.
2. The (ножницы) in the sewing box (необходимо) sharpening.
3. In my new job the (деньги) much better.
4. Go straight for two blocks and at the (перекрестке) turn round.
5. None of the (пассажиров были) injured.
6. As far as I remember (биллиард был) one of his favourite games.
7. At present (полиция) looking for a black-haired man in his twenties.
8. The (новости) not very encouraging, I am afraid.
9. The Frosts family (все собираются) here for Christmas.
10. Unfortunately (есть немного) information about the college.
11. (Аэробика) really popular these days, particulady with older people.
12. Five hundred thousand dollars (были) donated to build a new hospital.
13. His (советы) always useful.
14. Your toast and marmalade (лежат) on the tray.
15. A great number of scientists (изучают) this unusual phenomenon now.
16. (Статистика) a comparatively a new subject at our University.
17. Draughts (часто играют) in his family.
18. Fve collected (серию статей) on this issue.
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