In the previous two High English quizzes we were exposed to determiners that included articles, demonstrative determiners and possessive determiners. In this quiz we look at determiners used for countable and uncountable (or quantifying) nouns.
To recapitulate, determiners help to determine the identity of things, places or names. In other words determiners are used to modify nouns. Often, we find occasions to express something in a quantifying manner to ensure our communication drives home a point effectively. In such cases we need determiners that are specifically aimed at quantifying nouns. It is possible that we can be very precise and say exactly ‘how many’, or be general and indicate a range which may give the reader or listener some idea of the magnitude of the things being discussed in the communication.
Countable nouns are those that can be counted using numbers. For instance, in the phrases FIVE TABLES, SIX STUDENTS or ONE CHAIR the nouns mentioned are countable nouns.
Uncountable nouns are nouns to which we cannot attach a number. For instance, we cannot ask for TWO WATER; but we could ask for SOME WATER.
From these examples we can gather that some determiners can be used for countable nouns but not for uncountable nouns. Another facet of countable nouns is the singular and plural forms. For instance, we can say A CHAIR or TWO CHAIRS. Uncountable nouns do not usually have a plural form. We cannot ask for TWO WATERS.
A simple mnemonic to discern between countable and uncountable nouns is to answer the question ‘how many’ for countable nouns and ‘how much’ for uncountable nouns. Also, uncountable nouns do not use the article ‘a’ or ‘an’.
Among the common determiners used for countable nouns are ALL, EVERY, EACH, TWO (or any other number), FEW, MANY and MOST. Among the common determiners used for uncountable nouns are ENOUGH, LITTLE, MORE, SOME and MUCH.
It is just a matter of practice to master the use of determiners for countable and uncountable nouns and the quiz that follows helps you on your way to learning all about them.