Nouns, countable or uncountable | SpanishDict Answers
1 Vote

I underline the nouns of this [paragraph, and I wrote besida in brackets if they are countable or uncountable. Can you check them, please?

"The third and final period (U) saw the tragic collapse (U) of the earlier way of life. The causes (U) of the island’s change and decline were complex, but mainly due to one thing (U) – the destruction (U)of a large number of trees (C). Starting at least 1,200 years ago, this meant that there were almost no large trees left by the time the Europeans (C) came in the 18th century."

  • Posted Oct 25, 2010
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6 Answers

0 Vote

All the nouns you have in bold are Countable, with exception of "Destruction."

However, keep in mind that the few rules we have in English always have exceptions.

0 Vote

I think all the nouns in bold are countable with the exception of destruction, which I would normally think of as uncountable- I think to be proper in using it as a countable noun you would have to say "episodes of destruction".

0 Vote

Hola

I am not sure if your language is English.

"The third and final period (C) saw the tragic collapse (c) of the earlier way of life. The causes (C) of the island’s change and decline were complex, but mainly due to one thing (C) – the destruction (C) of a large number of trees (C). Starting at least 1,200 years ago, this meant that there were almost no large trees left by the time the Europeans (C) came in the 18th century."

It seems to me that you think only words that have an S can be countable.

All your nouns above can be counted - so they are all countable.

Look at the first one "the first and third period" - if there can be a first and a third period then they must be countable.

Hope this helps.

PS The reason this is important when learning English is that we use different "quantifiers" for countable and uncountable nouns.

PPS some nouns are both countable and uncountable.

There is some disagreement about the noun destruction. Others think it can not be countable.

Imagine a place (a city for example) that has been destoyed several times then you could / would talk about the 1st - 2nd - 3rd destructions.

  • My language is Spanish, I am learning English! - jortosar Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • Really? How many "destructions" have you counted, lately? I would never say it that way. - pesta Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • Here's a nice review: http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/nouns-un-countable_2.htm - pesta Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • Very good, ian-hill -- this exercise certainly has some ambiguous questions! - pesta Oct 25, 2010 flag
0 Vote

destruction

from this link:

destruction /dɪ'strʌkʃən/ n uncountable

I do not think destruction is a countable noun.

Edit to add another link:

Oxford: destruction

  • Matter of opinion I think Stadt. - ian-hill Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • Nice link. I guess jortosar could have looked up all the nouns. :-) - pesta Oct 25, 2010 flag
0 Vote

We have episodes of destruction, we do not have destructions in normal usage. Rice and sand are uncountable because you count grains of them, not them themselves.

link text

from the above link:

Briefly, the difference countable and uncountable nouns can be explained as follows:

Countable nouns are things we can count, and have both singular and plural forms:

A boy; two boys; a car; two cars

You can use a/an before countable nouns.

Uncountable nouns are things that we cannot count. They do not have a plural form:

Air, sand, ice, wisdom (NOT airs, sands, ices, wisdoms).

You cannot use a/an before an uncountable noun. Instead, you can use a measurement and the word of:

A breath of air A grain of sand A block of ice A lot of wisdom

Uncountable nouns are followed by the singular form of the verb:

The air is clean. The sand feels hot. This coffee tastes horrible.

  • I know what countable and uncountable nouns are. - ian-hill Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • Okay, then I guess we will have to resolve to disagree. - Stadt Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • Agreed Stadt - ian-hill Oct 25, 2010 flag
0 Vote

I think you started a kind of battle. I think Destruction is an uncountable noun. But I have asked if you can see other nouns in the paragraph which are not underlined???????? And maybe I lost something... because I do not understand Ian hill question. I am Argentinean and trying to practise English!!!!!! Thanks

  • The battle is finished. I think ian-hill wins. But his example is so rare, most references will simply show "destruction" is uncountable. - pesta Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • I would still say the first, second or third times it was destroyed- however English grammar is not my area of expertise, so I won't argue further. - Stadt Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • I agree with you on that Stadt :) - ian-hill Oct 25, 2010 flag
  • Can we agree on this?: In the context given it is being used as an uncountable noun, even though there may be some instances where it can be used as countable noun. - Stadt Oct 25, 2010 flag
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