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  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default you get mail. but you dont get mails?

    please help me. I still dont get the concet of plural quite well.

    my native language is japanese so I was not used to differenciating one thing from multiple things by changing the way of saying it. so i had to study very hard in order to get used to it. and now that i'm accustomed with "a book" and "books", i'm having trouble using some words that are already plural and in no need to be changed when there are many of them, like fish, sheep, laundry and mail(is the word email plural also?) are there any reasons? some historical background or something? or i just have to memorize them?

    if i say "there ARE a lot of sheepS"(or " there IS a lot of sheepS""there ARE a lot of sheep.), how weird does it sound to native english speakers? it is something even american or british people confuse every once in a while, or do i sound like japanese trying to learn english? i know I'm better off if i dont any of these kinds of mistakes but i just want to know how big a problem it is.


    i have one more question. is there a word for " a grain of rice"? like ri or something?

    any reply will be appreciated. THANKS!!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Sheep is not already in the plural- it can be both singular and plural without changing:
    There's a sheep in the field.
    There are three sheep in the field.


    Laundry is uncountably when thinking about clothes- I did my laundary. Here we are thinking of an activity and the number of items of clothing is not important.

    I know of know word for a grain of rice.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: you get mail. but you dont get mails?

    Quote Originally Posted by vitamin 2
    please help me. I still dont get the concet of plural quite well.

    my native language is japanese so I was not used to differenciating one thing from multiple things by changing the way of saying it. so i had to study very hard in order to get used to it. and now that i'm accustomed with "a book" and "books", i'm having trouble using some words that are already plural and in no need to be changed when there are many of them, like fish, sheep, laundry and mail(is the word email plural also?) are there any reasons? some historical background or something? or i just have to memorize them?

    if i say "there ARE a lot of sheepS"(or " there IS a lot of sheepS""there ARE a lot of sheep.), how weird does it sound to native english speakers? it is something even american or british people confuse every once in a while, or do i sound like japanese trying to learn english? i know I'm better off if i dont any of these kinds of mistakes but i just want to know how big a problem it is.


    i have one more question. is there a word for " a grain of rice"? like ri or something?

    any reply will be appreciated. THANKS!!
    Hi Vitamin :)
    I agree with tdol, as a matter of fact, there are some words which are already plural, but few(I guess you can learn them by heart or if you read more books, they will be automatically saved in your knowledge) . Besides, there are un-and countable nouns in english, for example " a grain of rice" you can't say one rice or a rice( a grain of sth -a small amount of sth)
    More examples:
    a grain of salt, a grain of truth etc.,
    a piece of advice, a piece of info etc.,
    a glass of water etc.,
    wish a lot of success in learning english
    with great regards,
    Henry

    [/list][/code]

  4. #4
    englishbum Guest

    Default thanks.

    thank you. tdol and henry!

  5. #5
    englishbum Guest

    Default it's me vitamin 2

    i registered right after i posted the message. i totally forgot i was using vitamin 2 as my name.

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: you get mail. but you dont get mails?

    Quote Originally Posted by vitamin 2
    please help me. I still dont get the concet of plural quite well.

    my native language is japanese so I was not used to differenciating one thing from multiple things by changing the way of saying it. so i had to study very hard in order to get used to it. and now that i'm accustomed with "a book" and "books", i'm having trouble using some words that are already plural and in no need to be changed when there are many of them, like fish, sheep, laundry and mail(is the word email plural also?) are there any reasons? some historical background or something? or i just have to memorize them?

    if i say "there ARE a lot of sheepS"(or " there IS a lot of sheepS""there ARE a lot of sheep.), how weird does it sound to native english speakers? it is something even american or british people confuse every once in a while, or do i sound like japanese trying to learn english? i know I'm better off if i dont any of these kinds of mistakes but i just want to know how big a problem it is.


    i have one more question. is there a word for " a grain of rice"? like ri or something?

    any reply will be appreciated. THANKS!!
    You have different types of nouns on your list. As TDOL said, "sheep" is a countable noun, but the same form is used for singular and plural. Using "sheeps" would sound strange to any native speaker. Some other animal names are treated similarly, including deer, antelope, bison, and many species of fish (salmon, trout, pike, etc.) The noun "fish" can be singular or plural, but there is also the plural "fishes". That form is usually reserved for cases in which one is trying to discuss different varieties of fish.

    Nouns, such as salt (table salt), flour, rice, water, laundry (the clothes), mail, etc. are called "mass nouns". They are usually uncountable because they are view as a whole, not as individual parts. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If one was making bread from rye flour and wheat flour, one could say one is using two different flours. One would say "the water in the ocean" but one could say "the waters of the Great Lakes" to describe the different individual lakes.

    Most of these subtleties will come with time. At your stage, lists of countable and uncountable nouns will help get you started.

  7. #7
    englishbum Guest

    Default

    thank you, mike!
    again, it's me, vittamin 2.

  8. #8
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by englishbum
    thank you, mike!
    again, it's me, vittamin 2.
    You're welcome, Vitamin2.

    :wink:

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