Unit 66. Countable nouns with a/an and some
Nouns can be countable
. For uncountable
nouns see Unit 65
. Countable nouns are, for example: dog umbrella job suggestion girl
Countable nouns are things we can count. We can make them plural: two dogs six jobs some girls many suggestions
Before singular countable nouns you can use a/an:
That’s a good suggestion. ? Do you need an umbrella?
You cannot use singular countable nouns alone (without a/the/my, etc.):
I’m looking for a job. (not I’m looking for job)
Be careful of the dog. (not Be careful of dog)
I’ve got a headache. ? Would you like a cigarette? For a/an and the see Unit 67.
We often use a/an + noun when we say what something/someone is, or what something / someone is like:
A dog is an animal.
Sue is a very nice person.
This is a really beautiful house.
Jack has a big nose.
What a nice dress!
Remember to use a/an for jobs:
Tom’s mother is a doctor, (not Tom’s mother is doctor)
I wouldn’t like to be an English teacher.
In sentences like these, we use plural countable nouns alone (not with some):
Tom’s parents are very nice people. (not some very nice people)
What awful shoes!
Dogs are animals.
Ann has blue eyes.
Are most of your friends students?
We also use some with plural countable nouns. Some = a number of / a few of (but we don’t know or say exactly how many):
I’ve seen some good movies lately.
Some friends of mine are coming to stay for the weekend.
Do not use some when you are talking about things in general: I love bananas, (not some bananas)
Sometimes you can use some or leave it out:
There are (some) eggs in the refrigerator if you’re hungry. For some and any see Unit 80.
You have to use some when you mean some, but not all I not many, etc. Some children learn very quickly, (but not all children)
Some police officers in Britain carry guns, but most of them don’t.
For plural countable nouns see also Unit 70.