Level 1: Lesson 2

Level 1 is the first workbook in the elementary series. Lesson 2 teaches about singular and plural. Nouns show number. Nouns can be counted. English nouns are singular or plural. Singular means “one.” Plural means “not one.”


A Form-Function English Grammar

Level 1

Lesson 2

Singular and Plural

What is a noun?

Remember that notional grammars define the noun as a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. The determiner the can go before a noun. Nouns are open class words, which means you can easily create new nouns. Nouns are also lexical class words, which means nouns are easy to define. Most nouns are easy to draw.

Farmer, playground, pencil, and love are all examples of nouns.

Another test for nouns is that nouns show number. Number is a grammatical category that expresses count distinctions. In other words, most nouns can be counted.

Girl, eye, and bird are all nouns. As nouns, all three can be counted. One girl, two girls, three girls. One eye, two eyes, four eyes. One bird, two birds, ten birds.

English nouns are singular or plural. Singular means “one.” Plural means “not one.” The number one can go before a singular noun. Other numbers including zero and two can go before a plural noun. For example, mom raised the thermostat 1 degree. The noun degree is singular and takes the number one. Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius or today was 70 degrees. The noun degrees is plural and takes the numbers zero and seventy, both of which are not one.

If you are unsure if a word is a noun, see if you can count the word. Is the word rabbit a noun? The rabbit, one rabbit, two rabbits. You can put the before rabbit and count rabbits, so rabbit is a noun. Is the word could a noun? The could, one could, two coulds. No. You cannot put the before could or count could, so could is not a noun.

Look at the sentence My sister ate some chocolate pudding. Which words are nouns? Test each word by putting the determiner the with each word and trying to count each word. The my, one my, two mies. No. The sister, one sister, two sisters. Yes. The ate, one ate, two ates. No. The some, one some, two somes. No. The chocolate, one chocolate, two chocolates. Yes. The pudding, one pudding, two puddings. Yes. The words sister, chocolate, and pudding pass the the-test and the counting test and are thus nouns.

So, what is a noun?

A noun names a person, place, thing, or idea. A noun can take the determiner the. Most nouns are countable, which means most nouns have singular and plural forms. Singular means “one.” Plural means “not one.”

Now practice your knowledge of singular and plural nouns by completing the exercises in Lesson 2 of A Form-Function English Grammar: Level 1, pages 8 through 11.

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