Countable nouns, uncountable nouns, and expressions of quantity
Intermediate, B1 level
For students to revise the differences between countable and uncountable nouns, and how to use them with quantity expressions.
For students to use quantity expressions to discuss food and eating habits.
Procedure (37-45 minutes)
I will ask the class to work in groups and imagine that they are a family writing the weekly shopping list. Each group will create a written shopping list that includes some of the food/drink items that they would normally buy from the supermarket. I will ask the students to write clearly as they will be swapping the shopping lists around later on in the lesson. I will ask the students to think about and make note of the quantity of each food/drink item on their shopping lists (how many/much of each food/drink item would they normally buy?). I will give ss. 3 minutes to write their shopping lists and get each group to read out three items on their list to the class.
I will show the class the work sheet, and ask ss. to work in groups to answer the first question. I will ask ss. to first fold their papers so that only the first exercise is visible. I will give ss. two minutes to answer the question and will ask a series of CCQs to the WC to check understanding. - Can you give me an example of a countable noun? ....more CCQs to establish qualities of countable noun. - Can you give me an example of an uncountable noun? ....more CCQs to establish qualities of uncountable noun. - Do countable nouns have a plural form? – Yes. - And a singular form? – Yes. - How many forms do uncountable nouns have? – one. - Can you use numbers with countable nouns? – Yes. - Can you use numbers with uncountable nouns? – No.
I will ask students to unfold their worksheets and look at the images on the right hand side of the page. I will elicit from students that chocolate can be both countable and uncountable depending on the context. - What do you see? - Chocolate. - What do you notice about the two pictures of chocolate? – One is a chocolate bar, and one is a piece of chocolate. - And how are the nouns written? – chocolate – a chocolate - Good, so when is chocolate countable? – When it is in a box – when it is divided into individual pieces - When is chocolate not countable? – when it is in a block (substance, no clear boundaries). - How many chocolates have you eaten today? Am I talking about chocolates in a chocolate box or chocolate bars? - How much chocolate have you eaten today? - Talking about chocolate generally. I will ask ss. to work in groups and complete exercise 2, thinking about which other nouns can be both countable and uncountable, and how their countability affects the meaning. I will ask a ss. from each group to write two of their group's answers on the board. As a class we will go over the answers and I will use CCQs where necessary to clarify properties of the food/drink items, and why and when they can be countable/uncountable.
I will tell the class that we are going to look at the sentence: A little chocolate each day is good for your health. I'll begin by checking if ss. recognise the statement from the previous lesson. CCQs: Is the statement true or false? Is chocolate countable or uncountable in this context? - countable. (I will write the sentence on the board and circle the phrase 'a little'.) What does 'a little' tell us about chocolate? - That a little each day is good for your health. Can we all agree that we can use this expression of quantity for uncountable nouns? - Yes. (WC Drill - pronunciation of 'a little'. Unstressed /t/ phoneme when used with 'a'.) (WC Drill - pronunciation of whole sentence - how does the stress affect the meaning?) Can we use 'a little' for countable nouns? (I will say the sentence: A little apple each day is good for the health.) What is wrong with that sentence? It sounds like we are talking about small apples, no? What about this sentence?: I try to eat as little apples as possible. Again, it doesn't sound right. Can we all agree that we cannot use the expression 'a little' for countable nouns? What about this sentence?: I try to eat as many apples as possible. Drill - WC - 'as many apples as possible'. We can use 'many' for countable nouns but not for uncountable nouns. I will give instructions for exercise 3. Ss. will practice using different quantity expressions for countable and uncountable nouns through exercise and after in pair work. I will give ss. 5 minutes to do this exercise and monitor. I will nominate ss. to feedback their partner's answers to the class.
I will tell ss. that there will be a bit of a competition now. I will tell ss. that I have a series of sentences with quantity expressions and they will have to choose the correct quantity expression to match the sentence. I will tell them that two of the possible quantity expressions are correct and one is incorrect. Ss. will work in groups to decide on the incorrect quantity expression and when they have decided as a group, one person from the group will come to the board and write out one of the correct quantity expressions, whichever one they prefer, on the board. We will agree as a class and then move on to the next sentence. The group that guesses the most correct quantity expressions wins. I will give ss. mini handouts of the sentences so they can compare the answers at the end of the exercise.
I will tell the class that there are other ways of counting nouns. Can you think of any examples? Let's think about an uncountable drink, for example milk. Using CCQs, elicit that some uncountable nouns can become countable once put inside a container. Ie. A bottle of milk. A carton of milk. 5 cartons of milk. We are now counting the container. I will give ss. a new worksheet which I will ask them to fold in half. Ss. will work in pairs to match the words with their containers. CCQ: What is a collocation? I will tell students that they have under a minute to complete task. WC feed back of answers. Ss. will then unfold their worksheets and complete second half of exercise, adding words from the box to column B to make collocations.
I will ask a ss. from each group to pass their group's shopping list clockwise, to the next group. Working in groups ss. will have to write 3 sentences about the eating habits of their group's shopping list, based on the items and the quantity of items they have noted. FB to WC through nomination.