Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Welcome to part 2 of this online tutorial on the use of count and non-count nouns. In this segment you are going to learn more about the ways to quantify non-count nouns using unit expressions, and different categories that determine the “non-countability” of certain nouns. We will also be looking into those non-count nouns or “mass” nouns which can also be counted because of its reference to a classification or type And finally see a few uses of the idiomatic forms of counting “non-count” nouns. Almost all of us have been to the grocery store checkout and have seen signs like these wanting to skirt the longer lines! Although we must realize that cultural use changes grammar throughout history, how many of us have stopped to think whether this is “correct” or not. Items are countable things. We have also seen some of the rules regarding quantifiers and determiners before the “countable” and “uncountable” nouns. Typically, we would say “fewer items” …and “less water” (an uncountable noun) This only shows that EVERYONE has some confusion about these categories! As we saw in “count and non-count nouns (part 1)” there is a fundamental difference between “countable” things and “un-countable” things. “Water” is very different in nature than “a cup” or “cups.” Pour some water in a bucket and tell me how many there are… There is one…but one what? Pour some in a paper cup and there is also one…but much smaller! So we count these kinds of things by the measure or amount that we have of it. This leads us to those unit expressions that precede the non-count nouns that help us to “measure” the amount we are talking about. Here are some examples contrasting the reference to the “material” itself, or a “specific amount” of the material: I ate some cheese. I had two slices of cheese. The teacher gets chalk on his clothes every time he uses the board! He needs another piece of chalk to put his example on the board. I like the quality of the paper they used in this book! Could you lend me a sheet of paper to do this assignment? As you can see, the “quantifier” in front of the non-count item helps us to see a specific number or quantity of the item being discussed. Here is a more lengthy list of units of measure that we commonly use. Though there are more, to be sure! (Pause the video here for reference if necessary…) Foods can be counted by their shapes or containers… Liquids are usually counted by their container…but sometimes by their shapes as in “drop or puddle of water.” Containers, shapes and measures frequently apply to other items… …the same is true for items in stationary as well Here is a another way to categorize list of units of measure that we commonly use. Though there are more, to be sure! First in containers… (Pause the video here for reference if necessary…) All of these would be followed by the connector “of” and then by the non-count item described Measurements follow the same rule… And here are some others… As mentioned earlier, we want to look more deeply into the different categories that make up this group of non-count nouns. (You will commonly hear many refer to these as non-count, uncountable, or “mass” nouns… but they are all essentially talking about the same thing…nouns that cannot be counted in English without quantifiers preceding them. Many non-count nouns are usually referring to whole groups made up of similar items Fluids… Solids… Gases… Particles… Languages… Fields of study… Recreation… Activities… Occupations… Natural phenomena… And abstractions… When we are talking about non-count nouns that can play both sides of the fence, one of the meanings refers to different “types” of the item. For example, we all know that “milk” is a liquid that needs to be counted in a bottle, carton, glass, or cup, etc… However, when you travel to another country and sense a taste difference, you might refer to each country’s milk as a different type. Thus, you could say, “The milks of the world vary in their tastes because of the different ways the animals are raised.” If we think of the meaning of a noun as a continuum from being specific to being general and abstract, we can see how it can move from being a count noun to a non-count noun. Consider, for example, the noun experiences. When I say Adverse childhood experiences unfortunately contribute to the makeup of one’s adulthood. I'm referring to specific, countable moments in a child’s life. When I say, Acquiring a position of leadership requires experience. I'm using the word in an abstract way; it is not something you can count; it's more like an idea, a general thing that people need to have in order to apply for this type of job. If I write The talks are taking place in the Student Union. these talks are countable events or lectures. If I say I hate it when a meeting is nothing but talk. the word talk is now uncountable; I'm referring to the general, abstract idea of idle chatter. Evils refers to specific sins — pride, envy, sloth, and everyone's favorite, gluttony — whereas evil refers to a general notion of being bad or ungodly. One more example: "I love the works of Beethoven" means that I like his symphonies, his string quartets, his concerti and sonatas, his choral pieces — all very countable things, works. "I hate work" means that I find the very idea of labor, in a general way, quite unappealing. Notice that the plural form means something quite different from the singular form of this word; they're obviously related, but they're different. What is the relationship between plastic and plastics, wood and woods, ice and [Italian] ices, hair and hairs? There are as well idiomatic expressions that are peculiar to some words. For example, normally when you are referring to butter you would quantify it in the United States with the packages or forms it is found in such as bars, tubs, pounds and so on. In restaurants, it is normally served in wrapped slices or in little packets and it is common to hear the customer mention to the waiter or waitress, “Could we have some more butters at our table?” The same is true for coffees (meaning “cups”), …or smokes (British…meaning cigarettes), In this video we have looked at counting the “uncountable things” with unit expressions We have briefly looked at “types” of non-count items such as “the coffees of the world.” We have seen that there are Individual instances of non-count things that can be treated as countable items And we have looked at a few of the Idiomatic expressions of nouns that are typically uncountable, yet referring to countable things. In all cases you would do best to consult a reference book such as a dictionary to familiarize yourself with questionable words! Happy counting….or not!