Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hello, and welcome to today's Grammar Gameshow! I'm your host, Will! I am rubber, you're glue. It bounces off me and sticks to you. And of course, let's not forget Leslie, our all-knowing voice in the sky. Hello, everyone! Tonight we're going to ask you three questions about… Countable and uncountable nouns. Those people, things, and places that tell us what we're talking about! OK! Now, let's meet our contestants! Hello, all. My name is Bill. And contestant number two? It's nice to meet you. I'm Yun. Nice to see you again Bill. You're making quite a name for yourself in this show. And welcome Yun. OK, let's get going, and don't forget you can play along at home too. Here is our first question. Nouns in English can be divided into countable and uncountable. But, what are the basic differences between them? Countable nouns can be counted. Uncountable nouns can't. Or not can't, they can… but we don't usually… I mean who really wants to sit there and count grains of rice? Leslie? Correct! Countable nouns can be divided into singular and plural. A chair, two chairs, three chairs. Uncountable nouns cannot. With countable nouns we ask how many and use words such as a lot, many and a few. With uncountable nouns, we use how much and words such as a lot, much and a little. All clear on that? Let's have an alphabet battle to check. It's simple. Challenge each other to give examples of countable and uncountable nouns following the order of the alphabet. Yun, you can go first. Ready? Go! Uncountable. A for Art. Correct! Countable. B for Beds. Correct! Countable. C for cars. Correct! Uncountable. D for danger. Correct! Countable. Elephants. Correct! Uncountable. Fish. Correct! But, fish is countable! wait... er… fishes? Oi! What was… sorry I was thinking about something else... She's cheating! Cheating! Well, I didn't see anything. That is a very serious accusation you're making. Do you have any evidence? Roll up her sleeve! I can't, I'm afraid! I can no longer touch the contestants after that unfortunate chainsaw-related game show accident in episode 37 ... but that was such a long time ago. Leslie? Fish? Fish is both countable and uncountable depending on whether you mean the animal – I see three fish – or the food – I eat lots of fish. This is not the only noun like this, so be careful! Well done! I think Yun did better, so twelve points for you. On to our second round, and this is a double-trouble round of two questions about uncountables. Here we go! Question one. If uncountable nouns cannot be counted, how then can we count them? Can't we use a container to make them countable? Correct! She's doing it again! Eh? Yes, you're right! Time for our second uncountable question … now that's a paradox of words! Fruit is an uncountable noun. How then is this sentence correct? There were at least 12 fruits on offer. It's an irregular plural that refers to the different types of thing in the same category. Correct! Will! She's cheating! So, you keep saying, but do you have any evidence? I literally just filmed it on my phone. What are you doing there? You could be blog-tubing the answers! Put that away! Tut, tut, tut! Leslie? Tut, tut, tut, Bill! To make an uncountable noun countable we need to use a container. This is an expression commonly using a and of. For example, a piece of cake or a cup of coffee. Secondly, some nouns, such as fruit and fish, have an irregular plural – fruits and fishes. We use these when we are referring to a number of different types of thing from the same category. For example, the shop sells three fruits – apples, bananas and oranges! Well done, Yun! Another fantastic round and another ten points. OK on to our fi… Look! Hang on a minute! Before we go any further… Can you just please keep an eye on her? Please? Oh, very well. If for no other reason than it's not nice to see a grown man beg ... except for Leslie, of course. Round three! Have a look at these sentences and tell me why the noun used in each one is special in some way. The news was reported. The species is extinct. The team play well. The staff are unhappy. In A the noun news is uncountable. However, many people may see the 's' at the end, and think that it is a plural. Oh no! There is no singular or plural. News is uncountable! Correct! I'm just guessing here, but the noun species in B is unusual because it's singular and has no plural form. So, just to say again, the noun species singular and plural forms are the same. Correct! In C the noun team is a collective. This means it can be singular or plural. It depends on the speaker. Correct! I'm going to go out on a limb here, but the noun staff in D, is singular… just like news. So, just to repeat that. Staff is a collective noun that takes plural verb form.