Oxford guide to english grammar part 28

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PAGE 183 145 The plural of nouns e Nouns which describe feelings are usually uncountable, e.g. fear, hope. But some can be countable, especially for feelings about something specific. a fear of dogs hopes for the future doubts about the wisdom of the decision an intense dislike of quiz shows Pity, shame, wonder, relief, pleasure and delight are singular as complement. It seemed a pity to break up the party. Thanks very much. ~ It's a pleasure. f When ordering food or drink or talking about portions, we can use countable nouns. I'll have a lager. (= a glass of lager) Three coffees, please. (= three cups of coffee) Two sugars. (= two spoonfuls of sugar) Some nouns can be countable with the meaning 'kind(s) of .' These lagers are all the same. (= kinds of lager) There are lots of different grasses. (= kinds of grass) 'You can get a meal here.' 145 The plural of nouns 'You can buy different kinds of food here.' 1 Form a A countable noun (door, plane, stewardess) has both a singular and a plural form. To form the plural we add s (doors, planes) or es (stewardesses). NOTE a There are some spelling rules for noun plurals. Adding es after a sibilant sound: dish dishes • 290(1) Y changing to ie: baby babies • 294 b For pronunciation of the s/es ending, • 290(3). b Some nouns have an irregular plural, e.g. man men. • 295 c To form the plural of a compound noun or of two nouns together, we add s/es to the end. weekends bedrooms motor-bikes glass dishes We also add s/es to the end of a noun formed from a verb + adverb. breakdowns walk-outs check-ups When a prepositional phrase comes after the noun, we add s/es to the noun. Doctors of Philosophy mothers-in-law And when an adverb follows a noun in er, we add s/es to the noun. passers-by runners-up 17 NOUNS AND NOUN PHRASES In expressions with man/woman + noun, both parts change to the plural. women jockeys (= jockeys who are women) d After a year or an abbreviation, the plural ending can be apostrophe + s. the 1950s/the 1950's most MPs/most MP's 2 Use a We use the singular to talk about one thing. The door was closed. We waited for an hour. There was only one passenger. I've lost my job. b We use the plural for more than one. The doors were all closed. We waited for one and a quarter hours. There were hundreds of passengers. I've got one or two jobs to do. NOTE Some nouns are always plural, e.g. clothes, goods. • 154(1) c For a negative or unknown quantity, we normally use the plural. There were no passengers on the bus. Have you read any good books lately? NOTE We can use the singular after no meaning 'not a single one'. No passenger(s) came to the driver's help when he was attacked. 146 The possessive form 1 Form To form the possessive we add an apostrophe + s to a singular noun; we add an apostrophe to a plural noun ending in s; and we add an apostrophe + s to a plural not ending in s. Singular + 's my friend's name s-plural + ' my friends' names Other plurals + 's the children's names For pronunciation, • 290(4). a After a singular noun ending in s, we normally add 's: the boss's office, Chris's address. But after a surname ending in s, we can add just an apostrophe: Perkins' room/Perkins's room, Yeats' poetry/Yeats's poetry. We can pronounce Perkins' or b If there is a short phrase after the noun, then the possessive ending comes after the phrase. the people next door's cat/the cat belonging to the people next door c We can leave out the noun after the possessive if the meaning is clear without it. That umbrella is my friend's. d Pronouns ending in one/body and the pronouns one, each other and one another can be possessive. I found someone's coat here. They visit each other's rooms. e We can add an apostrophe + s to a phrase with and. I've just been to Peter and Zoe's flat. This is much more usual than Peter's and Zoe's flat. f We can sometimes use two possessive forms together. Anita is my cousin - my mother's brother's daughter. PAGE 185 146 The possessive form 2 Use We use the possessive form to express a relation, often the fact that someone has something or that something belongs to someone. Julia's coat Emma's idea my brother's friend the workers' jobs The possessive usually has a definite meaning. Julia's coat means ' the coat that belongs to Julia'. But we do not say the with a singular name. NOT the Julia's coat For a coat of Julia's, • 174(5). 3 Possessive form or of? a There is a pattern with of which has the same meaning as the possessive. my friend's name/the name of my friend Sometimes we can use either form. But often only one form is possible. your father's car NOT the car of your father the beginning of the term NOT the term's beginning In general we are more likely to use the possessive form with people rather than things and to talk about possession rather than about other relations. b We normally use the possessive with people and animals. my friend's sister the dog's bone the Atkinsons' garden But we use the of-pattern with people when there is a long phrase or a clause. It's the house of a wealthy businessman from Saudi Arabia. In the hall hung the coats of all the people attending the reception. Sometimes both patterns are possible. the Duchess of Glastonbury's jewellery the jewellery of the Duchess of Glastonbury NOTE The of-pattern is sometimes possible for relations between people. the young man's mother/the mother of the young man c We normally use the of-pattern with things. the start of the match the bottom of the bottle the day of the carnival the end of the film d We can use both patterns with nouns that do not refer directly to people but suggest human activity or organization, for example nouns referring to places, companies or newspapers. Scotland's rivers the rivers of Scotland the company's head office the head office of the company the magazine's political views the political views of the magazine 4 Some other uses of the possessive a There's a children's playground here. You can use the customers' car park. The possessive form can express purpose. A children's playground is a playground for children. Other examples: a girls' school, the men's toilet, a boy's jacket. 17 NOUNS AND NOUN PHRASES PAGE 186 b We found a bird's nest. It was a man's voice that I heard. Here man's modifies voice, like an adjective. It tells us what kind of voice. Compare a male voice. c The girl's reply surprised us. Roger's actions were later criticized. This pattern is related to The girl replied. For more examples, • 149(1). NOTE The of-pattern is sometimes possible: the actions of Roger. d The hostages' release came unexpectedly. Susan's promotion is well deserved. This pattern is related to They released the hostages. NOTE The of-pattern is possible here: the release of the hostages. And we always use the of-pattern with things rather than people. the release of the information. NOT the information's release e That man's stupidity is unbelievable. The player's fitness is in question. This pattern is related to That man is stupid. We use it mainly with humans. NOTE The of-pattern is also possible: the stupidity of that man. 5 The pattern yesterday's newspaper The possessive can express time when. Have you seen yesterday's newspaper? Next month's figures are expected to show an improvement. It can also express length of time. We've booked a three weeks' holiday. There's going to be about an hour's delay. NOTE a Sunday's newspaper is a newspaper on one specific Sunday, e.g. last Sunday. A Sunday newspaper is a type of newspaper, one that appears on Sundays. b We can also use the following patterns to express length of time. a holiday of three weeks a delay of one hour a three-week holiday a one-hour delay 6 At Alec's, to the butcher's etc We can use the possessive without a following noun when we talk about someone's home or shop. We're all meeting at Dave's (house/flat). There's a policeman outside the McPhersons' (house/flat). Is there a baker's (shop) near here? I was sitting in the waiting-room at the dentist's. We can also use company names. I'm just going to Tesco's to get some bread. We ate at Maxime's (Restaurant). There's a Barclay's (Bank) on the university campus. NOTE Many companies leave out the apostrophe from their name: Barclays (Bank). PAGE 187 147 Two nouns together 147 Two nouns together 1 We often use one noun before another. a tennis club money problems a microwave oven The first noun modifies the second, tells us something about it, what kind it is or what it is for. a tennis club = a club for playing tennis vitamin pills = pills containing vitamins a train journey = a journey by train a phone bill = a bill for using the phone NOTE When two nouns are regularly used together, they often form a compound noun; • 283. But it is often difficult to tell the difference between two separate nouns and one compound noun, and the difference is not important for the learner of English. 2 Sometimes there is a hyphen (e.g. waste-bin), and sometimes the two nouns are written as one (e.g. armchair). There are no exact rules about whether we join the words or not. • 56(5c) 3 The stress is more often on the first noun. 'tennis club ma'chine-gun 'car park 'fire alarm But sometimes the main stress comes on the second noun. cardboard 'box microwave 'oven town 'hall There are no exact rules about stress, but for more details, • (5). 4 The first noun is not normally plural. The Sock Shop a picture gallery an eye test a book case NOTE Some exceptions are a sports shop, careers information, customs regulations, a clothes rack, a goods train, systems management, an arms dealer. For American English, • 304(2). 5 Here are some examples of the different kinds of noun + noun pattern. a a coffee table (= a table for coffee) a car park security cameras a cricket ball an oil can (= a can for holding oil) • (6) NOTE a The stress is on the first noun: a 'coffee table. b We can use a gerund, e.g. a sewing-machine (= a machine for sewing). • 283(2) b a war film (= a film about war) a crime story pay talks a gardening book a computer magazine NOTE The stress is on the first noun: a 'war film. c a chess player (= someone who plays chess) a lorry driver music lovers a concrete mixer (= a machine that mixes concrete) a potato peeler a food blender a sweet shop (= a shop that sells sweets) a biscuit factory steel production (= the production of steel) life insurance car theft NOTE The stress is usually on the first noun: a 'chess player. Compare these two phrases. Noun + noun: an 'English teacher (= someone who teaches English) Adjective + noun: an English 'teacher (= a teacher who is English) 17 NOUNS AND NOUN PHRASES d a summer holiday (= a holiday in summer) the morning rush a future date breakfast television a country cottage (= a cottage in the country) a motorway bridge Swindon station a hospital doctor a world recession NOTE In these examples we usually stress the second noun: a summer 'holiday. But there are many exceptions, e.g. 'evening classes, a 'Glasgow woman. e a plastic bag (= a bag made of plastic) a paper cup a brick wall a glass vase a tin can NOTE The main stress is on the second noun: a plastic 'bag. the oven door (= the door of the oven) factory chimneys the river bank the town centre NOTE a The main stress is usually on the second noun: the town 'centre. b With top, bottom, side, back and end we normally use the of-pattern. the bottom of the valley the end of the motorway NOT the motorway end But we can say roadside, hillside, hilltop and cliff top. They stood by the roadside/ the side of the road. 6 A milk bottle is a bottle for holding milk. Milk refers to the purpose of the bottle. A bottle of milk is a bottle full of milk. Milk refers to the contents of the bottle. a milk bottle Purpose: Contents: a bottle of milk a wine glass a glass of wine a jam jar a jar of jam a bookshelf a shelf of books 7 There are more complex patterns with nouns. a We can use more than two nouns. Eastbourne town centre a plastic shopping-bag a life insurance policy security video cameras Somerset County Cricket Club summer activity holiday courses We can build up phrases like this. an air accident (= an accident in the air) an investigation team (= a team for investigating something) an air accident investigation team (= a team for investigating accidents in the air) PAGE 188 148 Phrases after a noun b We can use adjectives in these complex noun patterns. a comprehensive road atlas a handy plastic shopping-bag a 'Sunuser' solar heating system British Channel Island Ferries NOTE We can also sometimes use a phrase with a preposition. state-of-the-art technology a sensational end-of-season sale 148 Phrases after a noun 1 We can use a clause or phrase after a noun to modify it. Clause: the fact that I got there first • 262 (7) some of those people who called • 272 a lot of time to spare • 124 Phrase: all these boxes here every day of the week a hot meal for two 2 The phrase after the noun can be a prepositional phrase, an adverb phrase, an adjective phrase or a noun phrase. Prepositional phrase: When will I meet the girl of my dreams? Adverb phrase: We don't talk to the people upstairs. Adjective phrase: The police found parcels full of cocaine. Noun phrase: The weather that day was awful. The phrase modifies the noun, tells us more about it. The prepositional phrase is the most common. The period just after lunch is always quiet. I'd love an apartment on Fifth Avenue. A man with very fair hair was waiting in reception. The idea of space travel has always fascinated me. What are the prospects for a peaceful solution? For noun + preposition, e.g. prospects for, • 237. NOTE We can use a pattern with of with the names of places or months. It is rather formal. Welcome to the city of Coventry. Here is the long-range weather forecast for the month of June. 3 We can sometimes use two or more phrases together after a noun. Here are some examples from British newspapers. Passengers on some services from King's Cross, Euston and Paddington will need a boarding pass. Violence erupted at the mass funeral of African National Congress victims of last week's massacre at Ciskei. Chris Eubank recorded his fourth successful defence of the WBO super- middleweight championship at Glasgow on Saturday with a unanimous points win over America's Tony Thornton. We can also use a mixture of phrases and clauses. The baffling case of a teenage girl who vanished exactly twenty years ago has been re-opened by police. PAGE 189 . of-pattern. the bottom of the valley the end of the motorway NOT the motorway end But we can say roadside, hillside, hilltop and cliff top. They stood by the. oven) factory chimneys the river bank the town centre NOTE a The main stress is usually on the second noun: the town 'centre. b With top, bottom, side,
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