Топик : Category of number of the noun 

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Category of number of the noun

2. Category of Number of the Noun.

Regular – one.

Plural – more than one.

Regular Plurals:

  1. Nouns ending in vowels & voiced consonants - -s(bee-bees, dog-dogs, [z])

  2. Voiceless consonants - -s(book-books, [s])

  3. s,-sh,-ss,-ch,-x,-z - -es (actress-actresses, [iz])

  4. o: -es-hero-heroes. But:


  1. after a vowel – bamboos, embryos, folios, kangaroos, radios, studios, zoos.

  2. In proper names – Romeos, Eskimos, Filipinos.

  3. In abbreviations - kilos, photos, pros(professional).

  4. Also: pianos, concertos, dynamos, quartos, solos,tangos, tobaccos.

  5. In other cases the spelling is -oes (tomatoes, echoes, Negroes, potatoes, vetoes, torpedoes, embargoes)

  6. –oes/-os : cargo(e)s, banjo(e)s, halo(e)s

  1. Consonant+y - -ies (sky-skies). But:


  1. After vowels, except nouns ending –quy(day-days, soliloquy-soliloquies)

  2. In proper names: the two Germanys, the Kennedys, the Gatsbys

  3. In compounds: stand-bys, lay-bys.

  4. Penny: pence-the British currency(денежная сумма), pennies-for individual coins.

  1. f(e)

  1. ves: wife-wives, life-lives, leaf-leaves, knife-knives, wolf-wolves, calf-calves, half-halves, loaf-loaves, self-selves, shelf-shelves.

  2. s: other nouns(proof-proofs, chief-chefs, safe-safes, cliff-cliffs, gulf-gulfs, dwarf-dwarfs, reef-reefs, grief-griefs

  3. ves/-s: scarf-scarfs/scarves, dwarf-dwarfs/dwarves, hoof-hoofs/hooves.

  1. th - -ths (mouth-mouths)

  2. in abbreviations - -s(M.P.-M.P.s) But: Ms(manuscript)-MSS, p.(page)-pp., Mr-

Irregular Plurals.

  1. By vowel change (Man-men, woman-women, tooth-teeth, foot-feet, goose-geese, mouse-mice, louse-lice).

  2. en (ox-oxen, child-children)

  3. Identical

  1. (sheep-sheep, swine-swine(свинья), deer-deer, grouse-grouse(куропатка). But: 2 variants: fish-fish/fishes, pike-pile/pikes, trout-trout(s), carp-carp(s), salmon-salmon(s). The zero plural is more common to denote hunting quarries. (We caught a few fish, five salmon); the regular plural – different individuals, species.

  2. Nationality nouns in –ese, -ss: Chinese, Swiss. And: Englishmen = the English, Dutchmen = the Dutch.

  3. Latin & French nouns: series-series(ряд, серия), species-species(вид, порода, род), corps [ko:]-corps[ko:z] (корпус, род войск).

  4. Pair, couple, dozen, score(20), stone(6,35 kg), head (поголовье): 2 dozen of children, dozens of children.


  1. Loans of Greek origin -(-is - -es: basis-bases, crisis-crises, analysis, thesis, parenthesis, axis[вал, ось, шпендель], hypothesis, diagnosis; -on – a: criterion – criteria, phenomenon, -a – ata: miasma-miasmata)

  2. Loans of Latin origin (-us - -i, -ora, -era: stimulus-stimuli, nucleus-nuclei[ядро],radius-radii[тело], genus-genera[род]; -a - -ae: formula-formulae(formulas), antenna, vertebra[позвонок]; -um - -a: datum-data[данная величина], stratum-strata[описка], erratum-errata[опечаток]; -es,-ix - -ices, -es: index-indices(indexes), appendix, matrix)

  3. Other loan nouns (-ean - -eaux: tableau-tableaux, bureau; -o - -i: tempo-tempi)

  4. 2 variants (memorandum –memoranda, memorandums, curriculum-curricula, curriculums[курс обучения], formula-formulae, formulas, cherub-cherubim[херувим], cherubs, focus-foci, focuses)

  5. Different meaning index-indexes-list of contents of books, indices-показатель; genius-geniuses-men of talent, genii-духи, домовые)

Plural in compound nouns

  1. The 2nd component takes the plural form as a rule (housewives, tooth-brushes)

  2. ful – at the end of the word(handfuls, spoonfuls)

  3. man & woman –the 1st components(men-servants, women-docters)

  4. ending –man – men(policeman-policemn) But:Germans, Romans(not compounds)

  5. prepositional noun phrase where the preposition is a linking element only – the 1st noun takes the plural form(editors-in-chief-главный редактор, mothers-in-law, commanders-in-chiefs-главнокомандующий, coats-of-mail-кольчуга, men-of-war-военный корабль)

  6. compounds = conjunction as a linking element – the plural is taken by the 2nd noun (gin-and-tonics)

  7. compound=noun+preposition/adverb/adjective-the 1st element-plural(passers-by, lookers-on-зритель, courts-material-военно-полевой суд, attorneys-general-министр юстиции)

  8. when the compound is a substantivized phrase which doesn’t contain a noun, the last element –plural(forget-me-nots-незабудка, breakdowns-поломка, stand-bys-запасной, grown-ups, close-ups-крупный план, pick-ups-случайные знакомства, drop-outs-дезертир, go-betweens-посредник)

Invariable nouns(can’t change their number)

Singular invariable nouns

  1. Non-count

  1. Material(tea, sugar) But:cheeses-kind of cheese

  2. Abstract-music, anger

  1. Proper nouns The Thames, Henry

  2. Some ening-s

  1. news(10 o’clock news), means-by this means(этими средствами), Gallows(виселица)

  2. diseases(mumps-свинка, measles-корь, rickets-рахит, shingles-краснуха)

  3. games(billiards, bowls-гольф, dominoes, draughts)

  4. some proper nouns(Algiers, Athens, Brussels, Flanders, Marseilles, Naples, Wales, The United Nations, the United States.

  5. Nouns ending –ics(classics, phonetics)

Plural invariable nouns

  1. Marked

  1. Names of tools…consisting 2 equal parts(bellows-мехи, binoculars, breeches-бриджи, braces-фигурные скобки, flannels-фланелевые брюки, glasses, pants-брюки, трусы, pincers-щепцы, pliers-щипчики, плоскогубцы, pyjamas, scales, scissors, shorts, spectacles-очки, suspenders-подтяжки, tights-колготки, tongs-щипцы, trousers, tweezers-пинцет)

  2. Miscellaneous nouns(смешанный) (annals, antics, archives, arms, ashes, the Commons, contents, customs, customs-duty, customs-house, earnings, goods, goods train, greens, holidays, manners, minutes, outskirts, quarters, stairs, suds, surroundings, thanks, troops, wages, whereabouts, the Middle Ages)

  3. Some proper nouns (the East Indies, the West Indies, the Hibrides, the Highlands, the Midlands, the Netherlands)

  1. Unmarked(nouns of multitude & collective):

C: the family was large, m: the family were fond of their house.

Ways of showing partition

A piece of, a loaf of, a stick of, a bar of, a sheet of, lump, blade, block, strip, grain, pile, heap, word, item, article, fit

2. Category of Case of the noun

Shows the relation of the noun with other words in the sentence

Common case-zero inflexion

Genitive case-apostrophe s(‘s)

  1. Genitive


  1. [z]-after vowels & voiced consonans-negro’s, dog’s

  2. [s]-after voiceless consonants-student’s

  3. [iz]-after sibilants(свистящий)- prince’s, judge’s; Marx’s ideas

  4. zero ending-girls’, boys’

  1. with regular plural nouns(boys’)

  2. greek nouns in –s(Socrates’ wife, Xerxes’(зерксис)

  3. other names: 2 variants – Burns’ & Burns’s poems

Compound nouns-s joined to the final component(the editor-in chief’s office)

Group genitive(when ‘s can be joined)

  1. 2 persons possess or are related to smth they have in common(mom & dad’s room, John & Mary’s car)

  2. to a more extensive phrase which may even contain a clause(the Duke of Norfolk’s sister, the secretary of state’s room, the man I saw yesterday’s son)

  3. to a noun(pronoun)+a pronoun group(someone else’s benefit)

  4. to a group ending in a numeral(in an hour or two’s time)

The main meaning of the genitive case-possession, Possessive case, main modifications:

  1. the idea of belonging: John’s coat

  2. Different kinds of relations:

  1. Relation of the whole to its part(Jon’s leg)

  2. Personal or social relations(John’s wife)

  1. subjective relations(The doctor’s arrival, the Chekhov’s book)

  2. authorship(Byron’s poem)

  3. objective relations(John’s arrest-he was arrested)

  4. measure(an hour’s trip, a mile’s distance)

s lost the meaning of possession (woman’s work, idiot’s smile, women’s college, angel’s eyes)

The use of genitive case & its equivalent of-phrase

  1. with nouns denoting persons & animals(John’s idea, swalow’s nest). With other nouns-of+noun phrase

  2. with nouns denoting time & distance(minute, moment, year & substantivized adverbs - today)today’s papers-сегодняшние, the papers of today-сегодняшнего дня)

  3. with the names of countries & towns(Britain’s national museum, Canada’s population)

  4. with the names of newspapers denoting different kinds of organizations(company’s plan, Guardian’s analysis, Geographical Society’s gold medal)

  5. with the nouns world, nation, country, city, town(the nation’s health)

  6. with the nouns ship, boat, car(ship’s crew)

  7. with nouns denoting planets(sun, moon, earth)(this earth’s life)

  8. set expressions: to one heart’s content(desire), at death’s door, at arm’s length, out of harm’s way, a hair’s breadth, a needle’s eye, at a stone’s throe, to move at a snail’s pace, at the water’s edge

The syntactical function of the genitive –attribute. It’s always used as a premodifier & sometimes called the depend genitive.

The absolute genitive – when the genitive case is not followed by the headword & when it stands for the whole noun phrase:

It is used:

  1. to avoid repetition(our house is better than Mary’s(house))

  2. after the preposition of(an old frend of my mother’s)

  3. to denote shops(the grocer’s, the baker’s)

  4. saints’ nameSt Paul’s(cathedral)

  5. places of residence(at my uncle’s, at Timothy’s)

Double genitive

  1. My mother’s father’s people

  2. The boy’s half-hour’s run

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