dissabte, 7 de novembre de 2009

Countable and uncountable nouns (2)

Dogs (gossos) are countable in English and Catalan. Rice (arròs) is uncountable in both languages. However, some different or confusing cases include:

PEOPLE – this word is actually the plural of the word person and, hence, is countable. If we think of it in Catalan as "persones", there is no confusion but if we translate it mentally as "gent", we must remember that "la gent" is a singular concept here:
La gent està contenta. The people are happy.

FURNITURE (mobles, mobiliari) – uncountable. If we want to count individual objects in the house we must count ITEMS (or PIECES) OF FURNITURE.

ADVICE (consell) – uncountable. In Catalan, "et dono tres consells". In English, three PIECES OF ADVICE.

NEWS (notícies) – uncountable. Again, either THERE IS SOME NEWS or WE HEARD AN ITEM OF NEWS.

INFORMATION (informació) – uncountable.

GRAPES (raïm) – countable.

Another important point to make regarding this question is the fact that many words in English may be either countable or uncountable depending on the context or meaning. Examples include:
CHOCOLATE (xocolata), uncountable. A CHOCOLATE (un bombó), countable.

COFFEE (cafè), uncountable in general as a powder or liquid. A COFFEE (un cafè) is countable and taken to mean, informally but correctly, a cup of coffee.

PAPER (paper), uncountable. To say “dona’m un paper” we must say “give me a sheet (or piece) of paper”. A PAPER (un diari), countable – an abbreviation of newspaper.

TIME (temps), uncountable. A TIME (un cop, una vegada), countable.

CHICKEN (pollastre, la carn), uncountable. A CHICKEN (un pollastre, l’animal), countable.
I ate too much chicken. There are too many chickens on this farm.
This is a short and simple introduction to the problem - there are many more examples which you may come across when learning or using English. Keep studying!

1 comentari:

  1. Agafaré aquest apunt i el dels comparatius per fer explicacions ràpides a classe i el penjaré al Sitges blog.
    salut i gràcies