One, Two, Three Little Countable Nouns

Follow ESLTutorial on Twitter Podcasts for Learners of English




This is the ESL Help Desk inviting you to listen to today's podcast.  Our Library of audio stories and grammar lessons is being populated weekly, so hop on over to our library after you finish with today's lesson.  And to all of our listening audience today, welcome to! 

Today we are going to have a grammar lessons. We are going to talk and learn about countable nouns.

The Foundation 

We can categorize nouns into two types:  countable and noncountable.  A countable noun is a common noun that can be counted.  The word friend is countable because you can count one friend, two friends, three friends, etc.

You can see that countable nouns have a singular form (e.g. friend) and a plural form (e.g. friends).

There are two types of countable plural nouns - regular and irregular.

The Grammar and Spelling Rules

  • To form the plural of most regular plural nouns, add ~s to the noun

  • If the noun ends in s, ch, sh, x, or z, form the plural by adding ~es to the noun.

  • If the noun ends in y, form the plural by 1) changing the y to i and 2) adding ~es.

  • Irregular plural countable nouns will follow their own grammar rules to form the plural form. There are some regular patterns but other nouns follow their own pattern. The most common examples of irregular plural nouns are as follows:

person > people;  woman> women;   man > men;  child > children  

Apply Our Rules to New Situations

I live in Boston, which has a population of 600,000 people. Many of Boston's residents were born in the United States.  We also have many immigrants.  Some of the more recent groups to have come are Asian Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Cape Verdeans, and Brazilians.  English, Irish, and Italian people have been here for a while.  

If you are online and reading this passage, you will see the countable nouns in the paragraph above bolded.   Which of them are plural?  Which of the plural nouns are regular?  Which of the plural nouns are irregular?  Which of these follow patterns that are unusual to you?  

Proofreading and Error Correction  

Below is a sentence that one of my ESL students wrote about her experience with the many and varied immigrant groups here in Boston, but watch out, because there is an error in it:

Many people from different country live in Boston.

It's your job to figure out what the error is and how to correct it.  You will also need to pay careful attention to the spelling.  Write your response in the box below. Write the whole sentence.  Then scroll down to see the correct sentence.


And the correct sentence is -

Many people from different countries live in Boston.

Our next activity is an audio one.  Listen to this short recording.  People are eating; what is each one eating?  The answer is at the bottom of this page. 



Our final activity for today is a visual one, so if you are listening on your iPod or other mp3
player, please go to our website and look at the picture of the fruits and vegetables below.

What do you see in each cubicle above?  Feel free to use a dictionary if necessary in order to determine the name of the vegetable or fruit, and to determine the plural form.  Write your answers on a piece of paper that is drawn four by four, like the table below:


Check your answers in HERE.

Now, from the ESL Help Desk, thanks for listening to us this week, and remember to email us your questions about English grammar. At the ESL Help Desk, your feedback is our feed.  

What do you hear? 
Somebody is eating an apple, and somebody else is eating chips.

Subscribe to Our Feed

Apple computers: itunes 1click subscribe  Windows: iTunes 1-click subscribe

copyright 2007 Software for Students Music by Anthony Boris, copyright, All Rights Reserved  

Music Copyright, permission of Luca De Bernardi; Photo of Headphones Copyright Karl-Erik Bennion; Sounds courtesy of, FreqMan, Borah111, Creative Photograph of Vegetables, Courtesy of Carla Saliba, Copyright Carla Saliba.