Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about some nouns that can be used in countable and uncountable ways. I'm going to introduce the noun, the different meanings for the noun, and also, a few example sentences. So let's get started!
Okay, first, I want to start on this side of the board. I'm focusing over here on food. So we're going to talk about some very common food-related nouns that can be countable or uncountable.
Let's start with fruit, fruit.
So, let's look at the uncountable meaning first, and then the countable meaning second.
So, fruit as an uncountable noun, means food from a plant. So, this is food usually with seeds inside or food that comes from a seed of some kind or it's like the fruit is the seed of a plant. So, this is generally known as fruit, fruit, the uncountable meaning.
For example…
"Do you like fruit?"
Do you like fruit?
So this is the uncountable sense of the word.
As a countable noun, fruit means a specific type of fruit.
For example…
"Many fruits grow in warm climates."
So, warm climates means a place that has a warm temperature around the year or year-round. So "Many fruits…" that means many different types of food from a plant, many different kinds of these, many different examples of fruit grow in warm climates. So, this means any food that grows in a warm climate or any fruit that grows in a warm climate. So, we're talking about a specific type when we use it as accountable noun. So, some people might prefer, like, fruits that are very sweet, or some people prefer fruits that are very sour. So, you might want to talk about, kind of categories or very, as I said, specific types. To do that, you can use fruit as a countable noun.
Okay, the next one is meat, meat.
So as a countable noun...I'm sorry as an uncountable noun, meat means food from a cow or a pig or a chicken. So, food that comes from an animal, the parts of an animal, we make food from the parts of the animal.
So, for example…
"She doesn't eat meat."
So in this sense, as an uncountable noun, it means the food that comes from the parts of an animal. So, it's made from the flesh of an animal.
As a countable noun, again just like with fruit and fruits, as a countable noun, meat refers to a specific type of meat, a specific kind of meat.
For example…
"Some meats are healthier than others."
Some meats are healthier than others.
So that means inside the category of meat, some types of meat or instead of saying types of meat, we say, "Some meats are healthier than others." So that might mean for example like, chicken or maybe lean beef. Those things are healthier than pork, for example, I don't know. But, this is how we would use meat as a countable noun to refer to a category or a specific group, a specific type inside meat. We use it as a countable noun.
Okay, onto the next one, the next one is chicken, chicken. So, yes I did mention that chicken is a type of meat, but we also use chicken alone as an uncountable noun. It means meat from a chicken, meat from a chicken, where a chicken, as we will talk about in a moment, is a bird.
So, when we use it as an uncountable noun, we use it to talk about just the meat that comes from the bird.
For example…
"Let's get chicken for dinner!"
Let's get chicken for dinner.
So this is as an uncountable noun, chicken.
When we use it as a countable noun, it refers to a bird raised for eggs and meat. So, this is the animal, in other words, when we say a chicken or the chickens. It refers to the animal, so that's used as a countable noun.
For example…
"Our family has three chickens."
Our family has three chickens.
We have to use the plural form here, chickens, because we have three of them. So this is using it as a countable noun to refer to the bird. This is as an uncountable noun, it refers to the food. So this is a key difference between "chicken" and "a chicken."
Okay, onto the next one, the next one...next two really, are kind of groups.
The first one this is all for drinks.
So, I've labeled this "drink" because we can use the same pattern for all of these things; so beer, coffee, tea, water, juice, whatever. All of these things, we can use them as uncountable nouns to just mean a drink.
For example…
"We drink a lot of coffee."
So this coffee just means in general, as a type of drink, as a kind of drink. We could say, we drink a lot of beer, we drink a lot of water, a lot of juice, and so on. This is as an uncountable noun.
When we use one of these words as a countable noun; however, it means one serving. So usually here, like a cup or a glass of a specific drink, so you'll hear "two beers please," two beers please. That means two servings of beer or "two waters please," you might hear, or "two juices please." So we use these as countable nouns to mean one serving or one portion of that drink.
So when you're speaking generally about like, likes or dislikes or your habits perhaps, you can use it as an uncountable noun. When you're ordering something at a restaurant or you're talking about quantity, you can use it as a countable noun, so just add an S to the end of the noun, here.
Okay, so the same idea applies to this last one in the food group. I have bread, cheese, cake, you might also hear it used with pizza as well, so these foods that are kind of... they're big and we usually need to cut them or slice them. We need to make them smaller before we serve them. We can use this kind of pattern, these kinds of patterns, to talk about them. So, all of these; bread, cheese, cake, these are all food items, usually, food items that need to be made smaller before we serve them.
As an uncountable noun, we use it in a sentence like this…
"We need to buy bread."
Or
"We need to buy cheese."
"We need to buy a cake."
Or
"Let's get some cake."
"Let's get some cheese."
And so on…
This means generally, that food, I want that food, in particular. So we don't...we're not talking about the smaller parts or a specific type.
But, when we use it as a countable noun, it refers to a specific type of that item, so a specific type of bread, or a specific type of cheese, a specific type of cake.
For example…
"Some cheeses are made with mold."
Some cheeses are made with mold, like blue cheese, for example.
So, "Some cheeses…," you'll see here, I've made cheese plural by adding an S to the end. That means, inside the category of cheese, some types are made with mold. So, we would not say, "Some cheese are made with mold." We cannot use it in that sense with the uncountable version. We need to use a countable, so a plural form of the noun.
We could talk about bread as well in this way like…
"Some breads take a long time to make."
Some breads take a long time to make.
That means, within the category of bread, there are some types that take a long time to make. We can do the same thing with cake or with pizza. So yes, it's this uncountable noun, when we talk about it generally, we mean this uncountable noun. But if we want to talk about a specific type or a specific category inside this group, we use it as a countable noun. This is especially helpful when you're talking about flavors or the way something is made.
Okay, let's continue onto the next side, the next side. I have here food, yes. This is generally to talk about all types of food. So as an uncountable noun, we use the word food to talk about everything that people eat, everything that animals eat. So things for people and animals to eat, food, as an uncountable noun.
However, when we use it as a countable noun, we're talking about a specific type of thing to eat. So this follows the same pattern as all of these food-related items, well, except maybe chicken, but it follows the same pattern as these. When we want to talk about a specific category inside food, we can use it as a countable noun.
So as an uncountable noun, we might say something like…
"I ate too much food."
I ate too much food.
But as a countable noun, you might say something like…
"Fried foods are unhealthy."
Fried foods are unhealthy.
So why did we say fried foods are unhealthy? Why not fried food is unhealthy? Actually, both sentences are correct. It's totally fine. The difference, "Fried foods…" this means all types of food which are fried are unhealthy. So that means fried chicken or like a French fries, fried potatoes, anything dipped in oil and cooked at a high temperature, all of those things are unhealthy. So, this is why we use "Fried foods..." We're talking about, specifically, all things inside the category of fried food, so we can use the plural form, here. But yes, fried food is unhealthy is also okay to use, so they communicate the same idea, but you might hear something like this, as well.
So if you want to talk about a specific type of thing, you can use countable, the countable version to do that. You'll hear this a lot when you're talking about like, diets and healthy eating and so on. People will say like try to include more healthy foods in your diet. So that means, try to include more food that is healthy. So, it's like a quicker way to say that.
Okay, onto the next one. So, the last group here, these are quite different from the ones we've talked about before.
Next is glass, glass.
So as an uncountable noun, it means a material. So, glass is the thing that like windows are made of. This window or the window is made of glass. So, it's a material we use for things, for cups or for glasses and so on.
Countable noun then, I've just hinted at it, glass as a countable noun means an object used for drinking liquid. So as a countable noun, yes. Please be careful, this is not the same as glasses. That's a separate situation, so we can use glasses to mean the things we wear on our faces to be able to see better. This is different, so we don't say "glasseses" for the accessory that we wear. This one is different. We use glasses to mean an object used for drinking liquid. So this is the plural form, so one glass, two glasses.
"Bring two glasses from the kitchen."
So that means two things for drinking liquid from the kitchen. So, a material, object for drinking liquid, these are very different. Yes, it's true though, sometimes, you might have a glass that is made of glass. So, in that sense, you can use them together.
Okay, onto the next one, time, time.
So time can be uncountable or countable. Time, as an uncountable noun, means the duration of something, how long something is, so we use clocks to measure time.
In a sentence…
"We don't have enough time to have a meeting today."
"We don't have enough time…," so that means we don't have enough space in the day. So, the duration is not long enough, the duration of this day is not long enough.
As a countable noun; however, it means the number of instances.
So for example…
"I've traveled overseas many times, many times. So, you use this when you're talking about your life experience, for example.
"I've been there three times."
Or
"I've seen him four times today."
So times, in the plural form, is used to talk about the number of instances, the number of times, the number of instances you have experienced something or maybe the number of instances you're planning to experience something in the future. So these two are quite different.
Okay, the next one is work.
This is a very good one to remember, especially if you are in creative-related fields. As an uncountable noun, work refers to one's job, so one here, one means one person, one self, so your job or your profession.
For example…
"She's at work right now."
"I have to go to work."
And so on…
So that refers to your job, your profession, the thing you do for your life.
However, as a countable noun, work means something made by a creative person. So this is like an artist, a musician, an illustrator, whatever kind of creative work it is, I've just used it there, we use work to talk about the things that are made by that person.
For example…
"I love the works of Monet."
I love the works of Monet.
So "works" here, means the things created by Monet. So, "the things created," I used "the" here because I'm talking specifically about the things Monet made. We don't use, "I love a works…" here or "I love a work by Monet" unless you only want to talk about like, one specific thing and you don't remember the name.
So…
"I love the works of Monet."
Or
"I saw a new work by some up-and-coming artist."
So, you might hear it used in a situation like that. Generally, we use "work" for creative-related things. We don't really use this so much for like, maybe, engineering or like math or sciences, stuff like that, so we tend to use this for creative-related things.
Okay, onto the last one, "pronunciation," pronunciation.
Important, I think, for everyone watching this channel. Pronunciation, as an uncountable noun, means the sounds made when speaking a language, so generally, so we have English pronunciation and Chinese pronunciation and French pronunciation. So, those are the sounds made when we speak a certain language.
For example…
"Pronunciation practice is important."
So, those are the sounds that you make when you make...when you are speaking a certain language.
However, as a countable noun, pronunciation means a specific way of saying a word or a sound. So, for example in English, we have like British English, American English, Australian English, Irish English, Scottish English. There are many different types of English, so there are many different pronunciations of the same word.
For example…
"There are two or three different pronunciations of this word."
So that means there are two or three different ways of saying this word, but we use "pronunciations," in the plural form, to make that much easier and shorter to say, so it means a specific way of saying a word or sound. So, you might see pronunciation used as an uncountable noun or as a countable noun in your studies.
Okay, so I hope that this was helpful for you. This is, maybe, a good introduction to some nouns that can be used in both countable and uncountable ways. Please keep in mind, there are more, there are more, but I think that these are some very common ones that you can practice. Of course, if you know of some other nouns that are used in countable and uncountable ways, please feel free to include those in a comment to this video below. If you have any questions or comments or any other things, if you want to practice making some sentences, you can please do that in the comments of this video as well. So, I hope that you enjoyed this lesson. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!

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