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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

COUNTABLE & UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS


IS A NOUN COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE?


In English nouns are countable or uncountable


COUNTABLE NOUNS


Countable nouns are easy to recognize. They are things that we can count. For example: pen. We can count pens. We can have one, two, three or more pens. Here are some more countable nouns: 

  • dog, cat, animal, man, person
  • bottle, box, litre
  • coin, note, dollar
  • cup, plate, fork
  • table, chair, suitcase, bag

Countable nouns can be singular or plural:
  • My dog is playing.
  • My dogs are hungry.


We can use the indefinite article a / an with countable nouns: 
  • A dog is an animal. 


When a countable noun is singular, we must use a word like a / the / my / this with it:
  •  I want an orange. (not I want orange)
  • Where is my bottle) (not Where is bottle?)

When a countable noun is plural, we can use it alone:
  • I like oranges.
  • Bottles can break.

We can use some and any with countable nouns:
  • I've got some dollars.
  • Have you got any pens?

We can use a few and many with countable nouns:
  • I've got a few dollars.
  • I haven't got many pens.

UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

Uncountable nouns are substances, concepts, etc. that cannot divide into separate elements. We cannot count them. For example, we cannot count milk. We can count bottles of milk or litres of milk, but we cannot count milk itself. Here are some more uncountable nouns:
  • music, art, love, happiness
  • advice, information, news
  • furniture, luggage
  • rice, sugar, butter, water
  • electricity, gas, power
  • money, currency

We usually treat uncountable nouns as singular. We use a singular verbs. For example:
  • This news is very important.
  • Your luggage looks heavy.


We do not usually use the indefinite article a / an with uncountable noun. We cannot say an information or a music. But we can say a something of
  • a piece of news
  • a bottle of water
  • a grain of rice

We can use some and any with uncountable nouns: 
  • I've got some money.
  • Have you got any rice?

We can use a little and much with uncountable nouns:
  • I've got a little money.
  • I haven't got much rice.

Here are some more examples of countable and uncountable nouns: 

CountableUncountable
dollarmoney
songmusic
suitcaseluggage
tablefurniture
batteryelectricity
bottlewine
reportinformation
tipadvice
journeytravel
jobwork
viewscenery

NOUNS THAT CAN BE COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE

Sometimes, the same noun can be countable or uncountable, often with a change of meaning. Here are some examples of nouns that can be both countable or uncountable:

CountableUncountable
There are two hairs in my coffee!hairI don't have much hair.
There are two lights in our bedroom.lightClose the curtain. There's too much light!
Shhhhh! I thought I heard a noise.
There are so many different noises in the city.
noiseIt's difficult to work when there is too much noise.
Have you got a paper to read? (newspaper)
Hand me those student papers.
paperI want to draw a picture. Have you got some paper?
Our house has seven rooms.roomIs there room for me to sit here?
We had a great time at the party.
How many times have I told you no?
timeHave you got time for a coffee?
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's greatest works.workI have no money. I need work!

Watch this presentation about countable and uncountable nouns that will clarify this concept.

Countable and uncountable nouns from Inma Dominguez


LET'S PRACTISE!!


CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO PRACTISE ON COUNTABLE AND UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS:


EXERCISE 1


EXERCISE 2


EXERCISE 3


EXERCISE 4


EXERCISE 5


EXERCISE 6


EXERCISE 7


Thursday, 26 July 2012

NAMES OF BRITISH TOWNS OR CITIES


DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE NAMES OF TOWNS OR CITIES IN BRITAIN COME FROM?

There are many towns or villages whose names contain the suffix -ford. Not only that, there is an important number of endings that get repeated over and over: -by, -ing, -ham, -bourne, -borough, -burg, etc. Why? These suffixes have a meaning.

The names of towns and cities in Great Britain reflect the history of this nation. We can find workds that come from the different languages that were spoken at a given time in the land. 


Some are Celtic in origin, others are of Latin root and most of them are Anglo-Saxon, but we cannot forget the influence of the Viking invasions, especially in the North-East of Britain. 

Let's have a look at the different name endings that have remained from the peoples that once inhabited Britain:


LATIN
The Romans stayed in Britain for several centuries, but the original inhabitants, the Celts, did not pick their language. 

However, the military influence of the Romans was so overpowering, that the names of their fortifications or “castra” have remained with different spellings. 
 Thus, we can find: Chester, Manchester, Colchester, Lancaster, Gloucester  /ˈglɒstə/, Leicester /ˈlɛstər/ etc.
From the word colonia, meaning settlement, we get the suffix -coln, as in Lincoln.
 
The element port can have two origins, the word porta, meaning gate, or the word portus, meaning harbour, thus, we can find towns inland and by the sea that contain that root: Portsmouth, Stockport. 
 
From the word strata, meaning street, we have the root strat, as in Stratford.


A Roman Castrum



CELTIC
Although the Celts were the oldest inhabitants, not many words of Celtic origin remain in the language. 
From the word aber, meaning mouth of a river, we have Aberistwith in Wales, and Aberdeen in Scotland, but nothing in England.
Other Celtic elements include coombe (deep valley), glen (narrow valley) and pen (hill): Coombe, Glenrothes, Penzance.


OLD ENGLISH

From the middle of the 5th century the Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded the British Isles. They were all Germanic tribes ad their language formed the base of the English language. Thus, the place names that contain Anglo-Saxon elements are numerous. Here are a few:
  • burg, borough, bury, indicate that these places were once fortified settlements. The word derives from Germanic and can be traced in most countries in western Europe, including Spain and Portugal. Edinburgh, Marlborough and Shaftesbury are some examples.
  • burna (-borne) a brook, stream: Winterborne
  • dun - a hill: Ashdon (meaning hill with ash trees)
  • eg (-ey) an island: Aldersey.
  • ford - shallow place where water can be crossed. Oxford was originally a place where oxen used to cross the river.
  • halh - a nook, corner of land, as in Bramhall
  • ham - a homestead. It is found in hundreds of place names. Tottenham, Clapham, Lewisham or Nottingham are just a few examples. The “h” is silent in many of these names.
  • ingas (-ing) the people of …: Charing, Kettering, Ealing. Sometimes -ing is combined with ham or tun: Birmingham, Wellington.
  • leah (-ley) a clearing: Crawley.
  • stede - a place, site of a building, as in Stansted.
  • tun - an enclosure, farmstead, is by far the most common ending of English place names: Luton, Norton.
  • well - a well, spring: Stanwell, Southwell.
  • wic - a farm or settlement: Keswick, Warwick, Norwich. Notice that the “W” is silent in these place names.
  • worth - an enclosure, homestead: Letchworth.

Edimburgh Fountain
OLD NORSE
The Vikings raided and finally settled in England in the 9th century, establishing the Danelaw in the North-East and East of the country. There are many Scandinavian place names, especially in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. These are the most typical endings:
  • by -  a farm, then a village: Grimsby
  • gil -  a ravine: Scargil
  • holmr (-holm) flat ground by a river. There are many places called Holme or containing this word in their names.
  • thorpe - a secondary settlement, farm: Althorpe.
  • thveit (-thwaite) a meadow, a clearing: Gunthwaite.
  • toft - a site of a house and outbuildings, a plot of land: Blacktoft.
Area of Danelaw

FRENCH 
After the conquest, the Normans changed very few place names in England. Most times they just added the name of the family that owned the land. Thus, Ashby-de-la-Zouch or Herstmonceaux state who their owners were in the past. 
Other French names are those beginning with Bel or Beau, meaning fair or beautiful: Beaulieu, Belgrave, Beaumont.
Richmond is also French, meaning strong hill (riche mont).
Richmond Castle
 

As you can see, the different endings or elemnts of place names give us a lot of information as to the origins and history of the place, relating it to the poeple that used to inhabit it long ago.


If you would like to know the original meaning of a place name in England, this website of the University of Nottingham can be of great help.

 

QUESTION WORDS


HAVE A LOOK AT THIS TABLE WITH QUESTION WORDS. DO YOU KNOW ALL THESE QUESTION WORDS?
 

      QUESTION 
        WORD
PARTICULA INTERROGATIVA
EJEMPLOS
  • WHAT?
¿QUÉ, CUÁL?What's your name? 

  • WHEN?
¿CUÁNDO?When is your birthday? 
  • WHERE?
¿DÓNDE?Where do you live? 
  • WHICH?
¿CUÁL? (Cuando hay elección entre varias cosas)Which color do you like? 
  • WHY?
¿POR QUÉ?Why are you sad?
  • WHO?
¿QUIÉN?Who is your teacher? 
  • WHAT TIME?
¿A QUÉ HORA?What time does your train leave? 
  • HOW?
¿CÓMO?How are you? 
  • HOW MUCH?
¿CUÁNTO? (Incontables)How much milk is there in the fridge? 
  • HOW MANY?
¿CUÁNTO? (Contables)How many friends have you got? 
  • HOW OLD?
¿CUÁNTOS AÑOS?How old are you?
  • HOW OFTEN?
¿CON QUÉ FRECUENCIA?How often do you play tennis? 
  • WHOSE?
¿DE QUIÉN?Whose car is this? 

LET'S LEARN MORE ABOUT QUESTION WORDS!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO CONSTRUCT QUESTIONS


AND NOW... 

CLICK ON THE EXERCISE BELOW TO PRACTISE QUESTION WORDS


EXERCISE 1


EXERCISE 2


EXERCISE 3


EXERCISE 4


EXERCISE 5




Sunday, 22 July 2012

LISTENING COMPREHENSION


BEN OR ELIZABETH, THAT IS THE QUESTION

You are going to watch seven people being interviewed about Big Ben. Listen and answer the questions below




1.       Which question are they asked?

2.       How many interviewees give a positive answer and how many provide a negative answer?

3.       Which is the most positive reaction and which is the least positive one about the proposal? Give details.

4.       Where is The Victoria Tower and why is it called like that?

5.       Who is focusing on Big Ben and why?

6.       Do you think the proposal will eventually succeed? In your opinion, is it a good idea? Why/Why not? Leave your comments.


    When you feel you are ready, use this answer key sheet and check how well you have done.
 
 

WINTER HOLIDAY

Hi there! Are you enjoying your winter holidays? I'm sure you are.
Anyhow, remember to update your English from time to time.
So, especially for YOU, here you are ... a festival of ESL fun.

ENJOY!











Click HERE to start playing!



WINTER HOLIDAY


Finally, winter holidays have arrived! Time to rest and recover but also, time to practise not to forget things we have done.

But... Let's practise with fun!! 












Click HERE and solve the riddles. You will find a lot of activities to enjoy while you are learning English.

I hope you will enjoy them!! Miss Liliana

 

SOME & ANY


SOME: for affirmative statements and offers. We use SOME for both countable and uncountable nouns.

ANY: for negative statements and questions. We use SOME for both countable and uncountable nouns.

Examples:
  • I've got SOME English books. (AFFIRMATIVE STATEMENT)
  • Would you like SOME tea?  (OFFER)
  • Have you got ANY money? (QUESTION)
  • Are there ANY dictionaries in this class? (QUESTION)
  • There isn't ANY homework to do. (NEGATIVE STATEMENT)
  • I haven't got ANY stamps left. (NEGATIVE STATEMENT) 

SOME We use "some" in positive sentences. We use some for both countable and uncountable nouns. Example: I have some friends.
ANY We use "any" in negative sentences or questions. We use any for both countable and uncountable nouns. Example: Do you have any cheese? - He doesn't have any friends in Chicago.
EXCEPTION! We use "some" in questions when offering something. Example: Would you like some bread? (offer)

 Now watch this video to clarify SOME & ANY



Some / Any by learnamericanenglish on Youtube


Click on the exercises below to practise SOME & ANY

EXERCISE 1

EXERCISE 2

EXERCISE 3

EXERCISE 4

EXERCISE 5


EXERCISE 7


Friday, 20 July 2012

THERE IS - THERE ARE


There is/are


There is/There are are common phrases in English, used to indicate that something exists - or does not exist - or it is in a certain location. 

The real subject usually comes after there is or there are.

There is is used for singular nouns or things you cannot count.

Examples: 
  • There is an apple on the table.
  • There is a toilet upstairs.
  • There is a cinema in my town.
  • There is oil on the pavement.

There are is used for plural nouns; that is to say we use there are with a plural subject.

Examples:
  • There are two parks in my neighbourhood.
  • There are 600 students in this school.
  • There are four windows in my room.
  • There are a lot of flowers in this park.

To say the opposite - the negative form of this structure - we use there isn't  (is + not) or there aren't (are + not).

Examples:
  • There isn't a telephone in the kitchen.
  • There isn't a balcony in this house.
  • There isn't ice on the lake.
  • There aren't two pictures on the wall. Just one.
  • There aren't chairs in my room.

 To make questions - to aks if something exists or it doesn't - just change the order of there is and there are.

Examples:
  • Is there a balcony in the flat?                         Yes, there is - No, there isn't.
  • Is there a post office near here?                     Yes, there is - No, there isn't.
  •  Are there two telephone lines here?           Yes, there are - No, there aren't.
  •  Are there cafés in this neighbourhood?         Yes, there are - No, there aren't.

To express the idea of quantity, we usually use some and any with there is and there are. This happens when we have to mention an unspecified amount of something, for example, when we are using uncountable nouns. 

Examples: 
  • There is some water in the bottle.
  • There are some Spanish students in this class.
  • There are ten windows in this house.
  • There are two school in this neighbourhood.
 We use SOME for affirmative forms and ANY for negations or questions.  

Examples:
  • There is SOME egg in the pasta.
  • There are SOME immigrants in our nation.
  • Is there ANY cool water in the fridge?
  • Are there ANY ideas for this project?
  • There isn't ANY fruit.
  • There aren't ANY restaurants open at this time. 
To enlarge this explanation click HERE and you will find some useful extended explanatory notes.


And now... watch the video that will clarify your doubts!




Examples!




Clink on the exercises below to practise there is & there are