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Nouns.

UNIT 1: MEANING AND CREATION

1. A noun is a word used to name a person (a teacher), thing (a cup), place (London), idea (transparency), event (war) or even an action (reading).

In English, nouns make up the most numerous class of words. The potential number of nouns in English is infinite because almost any word there can be made into a noun with or without affixes: Don’t trouble (v) trouble (n) until trouble (n) troubles (v) you.

Nouns can be simple (a book, a ship, a window), compound (a blackbird, a bedroom, a dining-room) or derived (darkness, misprint, unemployment, a jump).

 

2. Derivation by suffixation (development) is more typical of nouns than derivation by prefixation (prehistory, subway, outlook).

 

The major concepts that are named in English by suffixational nouns are:

agent  or  instrument:  -er,  -ant,  -ee,  -ian,  and -ist: worker, assistant, employee, communist; revolver;

result of an action: -ion, -ment, -ing, -ure, -ance, -age: revolution, transmission. development, building, pressure, tolerance, coverage;

abstract quality: -ness, -ancy/-ency,-ism, -ship, -th: darkness, fluency, modernism, hardship, truth.

 

Suffixational nouns are also used to name:

feminine agent: -ess, -ine, -ette: baroness, heroine, cosmonette;

diminution and endearment: -let, -y, -ling, -ette: booklet, doggie, duckling, kitchenette;

the  one  with  a  distinctive  quality (usu. derogatory): -ard,  -ster, -ton: drunkard, gangster, youngster, simpleton;

relatedness to a proper name:-an, -ese: Indian, Japanese;

belonging to, working in or as: -ary: missionary, functionary;

the state or time of being: -hood: childhood, motherhood;

collection: -age: baggage, trackage;

the amount needed to fill a certain container:-ful: a cupful, a handful.

 

Here are the most typical suffixes that make nouns:

from verbs:

-er/ -or: speaker, reader, actor, supervisor

-ent/-ant: assistant, student

-ee: employee, interviewee

-ion: education, relation, invasion, revision

-ment: government, development, imprisonment

-ing: building, writing, setting

-ance/-ence: resistance, difference

-ure: departure, pleasure

-age: leakage, marriage

 

from adjectives:

-ity/-ty: mentality, normality, reality, safety, certainty

-ness: happiness, darkness, deepness

-dom: freedom, wisdom

 

from nouns:

  -hood: childhood, neighbourhood

  -dom: kingdom, dukedom

-ship: friendship, leadership

-ism: capitalism, sexism

-ary: missionary, functionary

-age: hostage, orphanage

-ful: handful, cupful

-ette: kitchenette, launderette

 

3. Besides affixational there are also affixless ways of deriving nouns. The most common of them are:

conversion for deriving nouns from verbs (usually monosyllabic) as in to cut (v) – a cut (n), to drop (v) – a drop (n). (Verbs are also derived from nouns by conversion as in dust (n) – to dust (v). For details see Chapter II);

substantivation for deriving nouns from other parts of speech as in poor (adj) – the poor (n), adult (adj) – an adult (n), and

stress-shift for deriving some two-syllable nouns from verbs of Romance origin borrowed from French: trans`port (v) – `transport (n), re`cord (v) – `record (n), pre`sent (v) – `present (n).

 

E x e r c i s e s

1.1. Single out nouns in the list of words below and in each noun underline the suffix that indicates the word is a noun.

Apply (v), application (n), qualify, quality, barrister, basement, environment, circulation, shutter, versatile, expedition, greedy, possibility, governor, hereditary, shoplifting, burglary, disability, astrology, precision, hostage, kingdom, brotherhood, education, student, colloquialism, commitment, competence, compliance, complicate, compiler, creditor, kitchenette, solicitor.

 

1.2. Think of nouns related to the following words and denoting:

a) agent or instrument: study, work, assist, national, read, impression, reside, receive, transform, economy, law;

b) result of an action: entertain, govern, develop, transmit, legislate, expose, appear, perform, accept, leak, cover, swim, write;

c) abstract quality: kind, expect, modern, race, hard.

1.3. Convert the following words into nouns by adding noun suffixes. Some words may be able to take more than one suffix.

Talk – talker – talking; admit, agree, annihilate, appoint, argue, arrange, arrogant, bitter, blind, cancel, clean, clear, deliver, develop, destruct, drowsy, economic, dumb, eliminate, exaggerate, examine, fly, invest, inform, leak, learn, lease, legislate, mark, moderate, modern, organise, pay, perform, protect, specify.

 

1.4. Name other words morphologically related to the nouns below.

Agent – agency, address, advice, advertisement, allowance, arrival, computer, certificate, competition, corruption, delivery, devaluation, notification, organ, origin, ship.

 

1.5. Convert the following verbs and adjectives into nouns without adding noun suffixes and translate them into Ukrainian.

To answer ‘отвечать’ – an answer ‘ответ’, to bankrupt, blind, to claim, to cost, to discount, to export, to fine, to forecast, to import, to loan, poor, to love, to project, to look, to offer, rival, to protest, to sale, to share, to swim, black, to progress, to supply, to transport, to conduct.

 

1.6. Convert the following nouns into verbs without adding noun suffixes and translate them into Ukrainian.

Dust ‘пыль’– to dust ‘убирать пыль, покрываться пылью’, interest, note, number, nurse, reason, risk, order, sail, stock, tax, value, veto.

 

1.7. Read the text and put in the right noun derived from the word in brackets as in the example below.

(1) A (to compute) – computer built at a college in London often suffers from (2) (to bore). The computer was built to find out about human (3) (to communicate). The computer acquired a simple vocabulary in the same way as babies do: through (4) (to babble). It is common (5) (to know) that when babies babble, it is a (6) (to prepare) for speech. With (7) (to encourage) from their parents, babies quickly build up their vocabulary. In the same way the computer learnt to use real words. For example, it learnt to identify a black cat. It was then shown a white cat to test how good it was at (8) (to recognize). It refused to co-operate because the (9) (to solve) to the problem was too easy. At first this (10) (to refuse) puzzled scientists, but then they decided the computer was having a tantrum. “These computers must also be taught good (11) (to behave),’ a (12) (science) said.


UNIT 2: NOUN CLASSES

Nouns can be proper or common (the latter may be concrete, abstract, collective or mass), countable or uncountable.

 

1. According to the type of referent, nouns can be classified into proper and common.

Proper nouns [from Lat. proprius ‘one’s own’] begin with a capital letter. They are the names of places (California, the Caucasus), specific people or deities (Shakespeare, Jupiter), titles used with names (Professor Higgins), places (Chicago), names of languages, nationalities and religions (Catholicism, Russians) names of holidays (Christmas), names of months and weeks (February, Sunday), names of courses (I’m taking Chemistry), names of specific organizations (Rotary Club), names of parts of the world (the East ‘mainly Asia’, the West ‘mainly western Europe and the United States’,  Far East).

Proper names may consist of more than one word: New York, Kennedy Airport, Uncle George (though ‘my/his uncle, my/his uncle George’), Captain Andrews, the Mississippi River, the French Revolution.

Common nouns [from Lat. communis ‘shared by many’] are nouns that are not names, such as capital in: The capital of the Netherlands is the Hague, or west in  The sun sets in the west.

There are four different groups of common nouns: concrete nouns (a computer, a shop), abstract nouns (humour, action), mass nouns (tea, butter) and collective nouns (fruit, equipment, people).

Depending on the meaning, some proper nouns may be converted into common nouns: the Thompsons I know. The proper noun Thompson cannot ordinarily be made plural, but here the Thompsons means ‘the family with the name Thompson’.

 

2. According to the grammatical form nouns can be classified into countable and uncountable.

Countable nouns refer to entities viewed as countable: a student, a house, and an apple. They can be preceded by a/an or one in the singular and be accompanied by determiners referring to distinctions in number, like many, several, a few, or ten.

Uncountable nouns refer to entities we cannot count furniture, music, speech, water, blood. Uncountable nouns are used either without an article (Music enriches us) or with the definite article the (This is the music I like). They are treated as singular and can be accompanied only by determiners that do not refer to distinctions in number: much, a lot, a little.

There is not, however, a strict borderline between grammatical noun classes either.

Nouns that are ordinarily uncountable can be used as countable nouns in three cases:

a) when the uncountable mass noun refers to a particular kind or variety of kinds: They export wine and cheese but It is a good wine. The store has a large selection of wines and cheeses;

b) when the uncountable mass noun refers to units that are obvious in the situation: I like coffee but I’ll have two coffees, please (‘two cups of coffee’);

c) when the uncountable abstract noun becomes more concrete in the situation: Language is a very complicated system but It’s not easy to learn a foreign language.

And vice versa, some countable nouns may be changed into uncoutable when they denote mass I like the chicken (‘the bird’) but I like chicken (‘flesh of a chicken’).

 

3. There is a tendency for concrete nouns to be countable but for mass and abstract nouns to be uncountable.

 

As for collective nouns they may be: countable (a family – families, a crowd – crowds, a nation – nations) or uncountable.

Uncountable collective nouns may be:

  1. always in singular as foliage, machinery;
  2. always in plural as clothes, remains;
  3. singular in form but plural in meaning: the cattle are grazing, the poultry are kept in the garden, the people are generous, the police are happy;
  4. singular in form but singular and plural in the meaning: The family has lived here for hundreds of years (‘family’ is thought of as the group as a whole). The family have all gone for a holiday (‘family’ is thought of as a number of individuals).

Some of collective nouns can be uncountable in one sense and countable in another: People ‘люди’ (uncountable) want to live in peace. All peoples ‘народы’ (countable) of Africa were dreaming about freedom.

NOTE that the results of this grammatical classification of nouns into countable and uncountable may not coincide in different languages, for example, English nouns knowledge, progress, news are uncountable and are used only in singular in contrast to countable Russian знание, успех, новость

 

E x e r c i s e s

2.1. Proofread the following sentences for errors in capitalization.

  1. In management, professor Crawford made all his students listen to the lectures, take notes and understand Management.
  2. The english instructor asked his students if they had read look back in anger.
  3. The Senator from California voted against the banking act.
  4. Are you going to join the Smith College chapter of the rotary club?
  5. The President of the company spoke at my college graduation.
  6. Will you meet Grandpa Chuck, please?

2.2. Decide which nouns are countable and which are uncountable.

  1. People sell all kinds of things at a flea market. Some vendors sell old jewelry. Others sell old wine bottles and medicine bottles. Old glass is interesting because it was blown by hand. Not everything at the market is antique, however. You can also buy ordinary dishes and glasses, furniture and used clothing. For example, you can pick up a sweater or a dress for just a few dollars. You can save money at a flea market, but you can spend a lot of money, too.
  2. The animals on the Bells’ farm provide many things for the family. The cow produces milk. The sheep produce wool and meat, and the chickens produce eggs and meat. The horse doesn’t do much work, but it provides entertainment for the children, who like to ride it.

2.3. Many countable nouns can be used as uncountable. Notice the difference in their meaning.

  1. War is a poor way to solve problems.
  2. There have been two world wars in the last century.
  3. Wine is very good with good meals.
  4. Moldova produces many fine wines.
  5. It is a good wine.
  6. Please give me a milk and two coffees with cream.
  7. Do you speak German?
  8. There are two Frenchmen and a German in my class.
  9. Language is a fascinating subject.
  10. How many languages do you speak?

 

2.4. Say according to the model if the following nouns, or rather their senses, are countable [C] or uncountable [U]. Check up an explanatory dictionary:

Model: Accommodation

  1. [U] a place to live; a room, a flat, a house, a hotel room, etc.
  2. [U] the act of changing something so that it suits new conditions
  3. [U; C] the act of settling a business disagreement or the ending of a disagreement
  4. [C] something that helps, or makes an action easier

People, advice, departure, fear, fish, friendship, frost, fruit, fun, gossip, grass, hair, homework, joy, job, knowledge, loss, luck, money, news, permission, progress, scenery, terror, travel, trouble, view, wind, work.

 

2.5. Translate into Ukrainian and then back into English. Pay attention to the use of countable and uncountable nouns.

  1. Ann hasn’t got accommodation.
  2. She gave me plenty of good advice.
  3. We shall meet at “Arrivals and departures”.
  4. I have some fears that he would get lost.
  5. It’s a picture of a fish.
  6. I like to eat fish.
  7. There are many fish here.
  8. Real friendship is more valuable than money.
  9. His friendships never last very long.
  10. Frost has killed our young plants.
  11. Early frosts spoil the last of the flowers.

19)       Don’t walk on the grass.

20)       He hid behind some tall grasses.

21)       She has beautiful hair.

22)       There was a hair in the soup.

23)       There is a lot of homework to do.

24)       He was filled with joy.

25)       I saw the joy in her smiling face.

26)       She is such a great joy to me!

27)       He is looking for a new job.

28)       Knowledge is power.

29)       Did you report the loss of your jewellery to the police?

30)       I want to wish you good luck.

  1. Money doesn’t always bring happiness.

32)       I have good news and bad news.

33)       The good news is that he is alive.

12)       Fruit is good for you.

13)       There are many fruits in this store.

14)       We still have much fruit; don’t buy any.

15)       We had a lot of fun.

16)       I don’t listen to gossip.

17)       She is a gossip.

18)       Grass is green.

34)       The bad news is we don’t know where he is now.

  1. Bad news doesn’t make people happy.
  2. The ship made slow progress through the rough sea.
  3. What lovely scenery!
  4. What a lovely view!

39)       I am looking for work.

  1. We made a loss on these shoes.
  2. It’s a great loss for us.

42)       What is the departure time of the flight?

43)       The new system is a departure from our usual way of keeping records.

2.6. Translate into English and explain the use of a plural or singular form of the noun.

  1. Правительство не популярно.
  2. В этой игре «Манчестер Юнайтид» играет плохо.
  3. Математика его любимый предмет.
  4. Его одежда старая и грязная.
  5. Товар все еще не разгружен.
  6. Вся семья в сборе.
  7. Книга – источник знаний.
  8. Пять километров – небольшое расстояние.
  9. В эти минуты полиция допрашивает двух человек.
  10. Новости в 6 часов вечера.
  11. У нее красивые волосы.
  12. Купи 5 кг картошки и полкило морковки.
  13. У нас есть разные сыры и вина.
  14. Вода замерзает при 0°С.
  15. Мне нужна новая мебель.

                                                             ***

English nouns have three grammatical categories: number, case and gender.


UNIT 3: N U M B E R

Most nouns make a distinction between singular and plural numbers, they are variable (a student – students).

But some nouns are invariable, they have only one form, singular (news) or plural (trousers).

3. 1. Variable nouns

Regular plurals

1. Most nouns form their plurals by adding -s to the singular: daughter – daughters, son – sons, mouth – mouths.

2. Nouns ending in -s, -sh, -ch, -x, or -z add -es to the singular: a dish – dishes, a match -- matches.

3. Nouns ending in -y preceded by a consonant change the -y to -i and add -es: a lily – lilies, baby -- babies.

4. Nouns ending in -y preceded by a vowel keep the -y and add -s: a day – days

5. The majority of nouns ending in -o add -es when forming their plurals: a hero – heroes.

6. Compound nouns written as one word make their plurals by adding -s/-es:  sunrise – sunrises or by vowel shift if the second part of the compound needs it: postman – postmen.

7. Compound nouns consisting of a noun plus a modifier pluralize the modified word, NOT the modifier: passer-by – passers-by. If the first part of the compound noun is the word man or woman, then both the parts of the compound become plural: a man-servant – men-servants, a woman-doctor – women-doctors.

8. Letters, signs, and words as countable items add an apostrophe plus -s: one l – two l's, one no – three no's, in 1990 – in the 1990's

 

E x e r c i s e s

3.1. Put the nouns into plural and explain the use of the form.

a) A star, a cloud, a bird, a bottle, a person, a train, a desk, a student, a teacher, a dog, an M.A. degree, a speaker, a lecture, a thing, a machine, a lawyer, an economist;

b) boss, horse, house, gas, class, church, dish, judge, place, prize, tax, waltz;

c) a bottle, a cottage, an egg, an orange, a car, a book, a house, a box, an elephant, a rose, a waltz, a tax, a doll, a desk, a boss, a glass, a dish, a bee, a match, an answer;

d) army, factory, penny, laboratory, city, country, spy, lily;

e) day, boy, key, journey, toy, valley, chimney;

f) buffalo, cargo, domino, embargo, echo, hero, mosquito, potato, tomato;

g) cupful, leftover, schoolboy, housewife, postman, sportsman;h) notary public, brother-in-law, man-of-war, attorney general, editor-in-chief; hotel-keeper, watch-maker;

 

3.2. Supply the plural form for the singular nouns listed below.

A book, a lecture, a computer, gas, dish, tax, country, army, key, day, hero, piano, cargo, leftover, notary public, a brother-in-law, editor-in-chief, watch-maker, drive-in, in 1960.

 

Irregular plurals

1. Nouns ending in -f or -fe change the -f  to -v and add -es: shelf – shelves; wife – wives  but some nouns keep the f and add -s as in roof – roofs, belief – beliefs, chief – chiefs.

2. There are a few irregular plurals that involve a change of vowel. They reflect older English forms as in: man – men, mouse – mice, woman – women, louse – lice, foot – feet, goose – geese.

Some native English words have the en plural: child – children, ox – oxen (also oxes), brother – brethren (in special senses).

Some nouns (mainly names of animals) have the same spoken and written form in both singular and plural: deer – deer, swine – swine, sheep – sheep, fish – fish (or fishes in special senses).

3. There are many nouns borrowed into English from Latin and Greek that retain foreign plurals as: stimulus – stimuli, curriculum – curricula, crisis – crises.

 

Exercises

3.3. Put the nouns into plural and explain the use of the form:

a) Elf, half, wife, shelf, scarf, leaf, knife, loaf, wolf, thief;

b) Roof, chief, cliff, proof

 

3.4. Read the following humorous poem and pay special attention to the correct form of plural nouns:

 

THE CRAZIEST LANGUAGE

We’ll begin with a box and the plural is boxes;

But the plural of ox should oxen not oxes.

Then the fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,

Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse in a nest full of mice;

Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

As the plural of man is always called men,

Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,

And if I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,

Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,

And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also a brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say mothren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,

But imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

So English (I fancy you will agree),

Is the craziest language you ever did see.

 

3.5. Learn the irregular plurals of the following nouns:

Singular                Plural

Singular                Plural

alumna –alumnae

alumnus – alumni

analysis – analyses

antithesis – antitheses

appendix – appendices

axis – axes

bacterium – bacteria

basis –  bases

cannon – cannon

child – children

curriculum – curricula

datum – data

deer – deer

die – dice

dynamo – dynamos

ellipsis – ellipses

emphasis – emphases

fish – fish (fishes – different kinds of fish)

focus – foci

foot – feet

fungus – fungi

goose – geese

hypothesis – hypotheses

louse – lice

man – men

maximum – maxima (maxims)

minimum – minima

mouse – mice

oasis –  oases

ox – oxen

parenthesis – parentheses

phenomenon – phenomena

piano – pianos

radio – radios

sheep – sheep

swine – swine

thesis – theses

tooth – teeth

vertebra – vertebrae

virtuoso – virtuosi

woman – women

3.6. Supply the plural form for the singular nouns listed below and explain the use of the form:

Criterion, deer, datum, analysis, foot, child, loaf, phenomenon, life, basis, woman, alumnus, thief, focus, tooth, sheep, louse, goose, hoof, mouse, fish, swine, elf, ox, curriculum, basis, datum, thesis fisherman, statesman, a woman-doctor, a house-wife, a pocket-knife.

 

3.2. Invariable nouns

Always singular (singularia tantum) are:

1) uncountable nouns that may belong to different grammatical groups: proper nouns (Minsk), mass nouns (butter), most abstract nouns (music) and some collective nouns (furniture).

2) some nouns ending in -s, naming:

a) some diseases: shingles, measles;

b) subject names in -ics: mathematics, economics;

c) some games: billiards, darts, draughts;

d) some proper nouns: Athens, Brussels, Naples, the Thames, Wales.

e) miscellaneous nouns like a chemical works (‘a place of work’), a barracks (‘a building that soldiers live in; a big plain and usually ugly building’), headquarters as in The headquartes consists of the commander and five members of his staff; customs (in the meaning of ‘the agency for collecting duties on import and export’).

 

Always plural (pluralia tantum) are nouns denoting:

1) things consisting of two or more parts: glasses; trousers, pyjamas, shorts, scissors;

2) other pluralia tantum in -s: thanks, customs (in the meaning of ‘duties, tolls imposed on import and export’), lodgings, auspices, arms (in the meaning of ‘guns’), quarters (in the meaning of ‘assigned position, lodgings, esp. for soldiers’), greens, valuables, goods, riches, wages, stairs, clothes, contents;

3) some proper nouns: the Netherlands;

4) some other collective nouns with no -s at the end: cattle, police, the rich.

 

NOTE that the category of number may not coincide in English and Russian nouns.

Thus, nouns potato, onion, carrot, oat may be plural in English (potatoes, onions, carrots, oats) while in Russian they are usually singular: Potatoes are cheap in this country – В этой стране картофель дешевый. ‘A potato’ means ‘одна картошка’.

The words wages and contents are plural in English but their correlated words ‘зарплата’, ‘содержание’ are singular in Russian.

The following English words are always singular advice, information, knowledge, money, news, permission and progress, while their Russian equivalents are either plural (деньги) or can be both singular and plural (новость, новости).

The English nouns watch and sledge are regular nouns and can be used both in singular and plural while Russian часы and сани are pluralia  tantum.

 

E x e r c i s e s

3.7. Read the following sentences and remember the singular nouns that take a singular verb.

  1. This is a mere barracks.
  2. You can’t expect me to live in a barracks like that!
  3. Measles is a catching disease.
  4. Mumps is an infectious illness.
  5. The news is bad today.
  6. Linguistics is very interesting.
  7. Billiards is my favourable game.
  8. Wales is a beautiful country.
  9. Cutlery includes knives and other cutting instruments.
  • 3.8. The following words are always singular and nearly always require singular verbs: Measles is an infectious disease (unless rather unusual occasions as in: The measles which the three children have are of different nature).

Think of sentences with the following nouns paying special attention to the form of the verb in Present Indefinite.

Acoustics, aeronautics, athletics, comics, dynamics, economics, aesthetics, linguistics, mathematics, means, measles, mumps, news, politics, the United States, poetics.

 

3.9. Read the following sentences and pay special attention to the plural nouns that take a plural verb.

  1. The Middle Ages embrace the period in European history between AD 1100 and 1500.
  2. The contents of the book are not much varied.
  3. His earnings are very modest.
  4. Her wits are well known.
  5. Outskirts of the city are still picturesque.
  6. Youth are with you, President.
  7. The cattle on his farm are taken good care of.
  8. Police are after him.
  9. The people there are very caring.

 

3.10. The following nouns  are always plural and they require plural verbs, for example, His clothes are certainly expensive. Think of sentences with the following nouns paying special attention to the form of the verb in Present Indefinite.

Ashes, clothes, contents, goods, links, leavings, oats, pants, pliers, remains, riches, scissors, spectacles, thanks, trousers, vitals, wages.

 

3.11. Read the story about Jeff, a tramp who begs in the town centre. Put in is or are.

Old Jeff sits outside the bus station every day and begs for money. His clothes (1) … old and dirty, his hair (2) … never washed, and his glasses (3) … broken. He takes $ 10 a day in summer. People (4) … generous. $ 10 (5) … not much to live on but he never spends any of it. His savings (6) … hidden away somewhere. Though it is against the law, the police obviously (7) … quite happy about the situation.

3.12. Translate into English.

  1. Его успехи в учебе очевидны.
  2. Эта лестница ведет на задний двор.
  3. Товар только что прибыл. Он еще на корабле.
  4. Ее одежда не новая.
  5. Морковь, лук и картошка – полезные и дешевые овощи.
  6. Ее зарплата мала, а плата за обучение – высокая.
  7. Содержание показывает, что этот учебник очень полезный.
  8. Это оружие вполне современное.
  9. Знания еще никому не мешали.
  10. Ваши советы были весьма полезны.
  11. Деньги на столе, возьмите их.
  12. Все народы мира желают жить в мире.
  13. На востоке страны живут дикие пони, олени и волки.
  14. Фермеры выращивают коров и овец.
  15. На холмах растет много картофеля и помидоров.
  16. Где мои часы?

UNIT 4: C A S E

English nouns have a two case system: the common case that is used ordinarily (a woman, a book) and the possessive case that generally indicates that the noun is dependent on the noun that follows it; this case often corresponds to a structure with of (my father’s hat = the hat of my father, his parents’ consent = the consent of his parents)

4.1. The (determinative) possessive case.

      The noun in the possessive case performs the determinative function for a following noun and has the meaning ‘belonging to’: The student’s suggestions (‘suggestions belonging to the student’). This is the determinative possessive or just the possessive case, for short.

 

The following four animate noun classes normally have the possessive case:

a) personal names: Nelson’s column, John’s coat;

b) personal nouns: the boy’s shirt, my sister-in-law’s pencil;

c) collective nouns: the government’s decision, the nation’s security;

d) higher animals: the horse’s tail, the lion’s mane.

 

Some kinds of inanimate nouns may also have possessive case:

a) geographical names: Europe’s future, London’s water supply;

b) temporal and space nouns: yesterday’s newspaper, a mile’s distance;

c) nouns of special interest to human activity: the ship’s nose, the game’s history.

All other nouns usually take of -structure to reflect possession: the leg of the table, the interior of the room, the title of the book.

 

The possessive case is indicated in writing by an apostrophe () plus -s in the singular (the student’s suggestion) and by an apostrophe following the plural -s inflection in the plural (the students’ suggestions), though in speech three of these forms: students, student’s and students’ are pronounced identically:

                                                           Singular                                              Plural

Common case                       the student                                                          the students

Possessive case                                  the student’s                                        the students’

    suggestions                                         suggestions

The possessive case for irregular nouns, however, distinguishes all four forms in speech as well as in writing:

                                            Singular                                              Plural

Common case                       the child                                               the children

Possessive case                   the child’s toy                                       the children’s toys

 

After proper nouns ending in -s possessive case may be formed only with an apostrophe: Dickens’ novels (though Dickens’s novels is also possible).

 

E x e r c i s e s

4.1. Translate into English the phrases using the possessive case where possible.

Мать друга; книга брата; платье сестры; ноги лошади; окно комнаты; ножка стола; школа сына; квартира друга; смерть героя; сеть рыбака; день рождения матери; рукава пальто (the arms); стена дома; конец фильма; словарь учителя; хвост лисицы; дверь квартиры; портфель ученика; название реки; жена брата; шкура медведя; рассказ женщины; вчерашняя газета.

4.2. Put in an apostrophe where necessary.

  1. My brothers name is Jack.
  2. Brothers friends know English.
  3. A mans hands are stronger than a womans.
  4. The wolfs howl was heard in the forest.
  5. These are Pushkins poems.
  6. Goats milk is good for health.
  7. The girls brother is tall enough to reach the tree.
  8. I had done two hours work when you were in bed.
  9. He is a funny old man with a beard like a goats.
  10. This shop has a large number of childrens books.
  11. Can you show me the way to the boys school?
  12. How many of Dickens novels have you read?
  13. Many tourists visit Shakespeares birthplace every year.
  14. She followed her mothers advice.

 

4.2. The Independent Possessive

Sometimes the possessive is independent; that is, it is not dependent on a following noun. The noun may be omitted because it can be understood from the context: Your ideas are more acceptable than Sandra’s (Sandra’s ideas).  David’s comments are like Peter’s.

The Independent Possessive is also used to refer to places: The party is at Alan’s tonight. I am shopping at Macy’s.

Finally, the Independent Possessive may combine with the of-structure: a friend of Martha’s, a suggestion of Norman’s.

 

The Independent Possessive in the of -structure differs, however, from the Determinative Possessive in its meaning: Martha’s friend means ‘The friend that Martha has’ (the speaker assumes that the hearer knows the identity of the friend) whereas a friend of Martha’s means ‘one of Martha’s friends’.

 

E x e r c i s e s

4.3. Explain the use of the Independent Possessive.

1) "They tell me at the Timothies’", said Nicholas lowering his voice, "that Dartie has gone off at last".

  1. I buy my meat at Johnson’s.
  2. I shall be at the dentist’s.
  3. Call me at Bill’s.
  4. I am going to my friend’s.
  1. He liked living at his daughter’s.
  2. Go to the chemist’s.
  3. We buy bread at the baker’s.
  4. A friend of Karen’s.

4.4. Make up sentences using the following nouns in the Independent Possessive.

A florist’s, a cleaner’s, a hairdresser’s a chemist’s, a butcher’s, a tobacconist’s.


UNIT 5: G E N D E R

Most English nouns have the same form for masculine and feminine: a parent, a child, a cousin, a driver, a teacher, a cook, a singer, a dancer, a journalist. They have common gender.

The nouns for men, boys and male animals are masculine: He is my brother. Though my dog is twenty, he is still strong.

The nouns for women, girls and feminine animals are feminine: She is a girl of ten. This is my dog, her name is Calva.

Inanimate things are neuter: It is a house, I like it.

Countries and ships are usually referred to as feminine: The ship got a hole in her bow. In the war Scotland lost many of her bravest men.

There are also some exclusively male nouns and exclusively female nouns that need to be remembered, for example:, bridegroom – bride, brother – sister, boy – girl, boy-friend – girl-friend, bachelor – spinster, hero – heroine, executor – executrix, bull – cow, cock – hen, drake – duck, father – mother, fox – vixen, gander – goose, he-wolf – she-wolf, Tom-cat – Pussy-cat, hero – heroine, horse – mare, lord – lady, nephew – niece, peacock – peahen, uncle – aunt, widower – widow, actor – actress, baron -- baroness, duke – duchess, host – hostess, lion – lioness, poet – poetess.

NOTE: In the case of people the -ess ending is becoming rare. In the interests of sexual equality, words like author and manager refer to both sexes. 

E x e r c i s e s

5.1. Form the feminine from the masculine by adding -ess. Note that words ending in -er or -or often drop the e or the o as in "actor – actress":

host, lion, tiger, waiter, prince, manager, poet, giant, conductor.

5.2. Give female nouns correspondent to the following male nouns:

Boy – girl, groom, boy, bull, cock (Am. rooster), drake, duke, father, fox, gander, he-wolf, Tom-cat, hero, horse, host, lion, peacock, lord, uncle, widower, baron, bachelor, nephew.

Категорія: English Grammar | Додав: Tan (25.10.2014)
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