Составитель: Жукатинская Виктория Александровна, учитель английского языка, г.Липецк, МАОУ лицей №44,2016-2017 учебный год
Сводная таблица «Two groups of uncountable nouns»
For countable nouns the category of number is a variable feature category, or relative, since countable English nouns have both singular and plural correlative forms (table – tables).
Uncountable nouns can be used either only in the singular or only in the plural; for them the category of number is absolute, or a constant feature category.
two groups of uncountable nouns
singularia tantum, or, absolute singular
usually denote the following referents:
abstract notions – love, hate, despair, etc.;
names of substances and materials – snow, wine, sugar, etc.;
branches of professional activity – politics, linguistics, mathematics;
some collective objects – fruit, machinery.
some are difficult to classify, e.g., advice, news and others.
do not possess any formal marks of their status: their form may either coincide with the regular singular – advice, or with the regular plural – news(formally established in their combinability);
are used with the verbs in the singular; they exclude the use of the numeral “one” or of the indefinite article;
their quantity is expressed with the help of special lexical quantifiers little, much, some, any, a piece, a bit, an item - a piece of advice. pluralia tantum, absolute plural
usually denote the following:
objects consisting of two halves – scissors, trousers, spectacles, etc.;
some diseases and abnormal states – mumps, measles, creeps, hysterics, etc.;
indefinite plurality, collective referents – earnings, police, cattle, etc.
are used with verbs in the plural;
they cannot be combined with numerals;
their quantity is rendered by special lexical quantifiers a pair of, a case of, etc., e.g.: a pair of trousers, several cases of measles, etc.
the weak member of opposition the strong member of opposition
In terms of the oppositional theory one can say that in the formation of the two subclasses of uncountable nouns, the number is “constantly” (lexically) reduced either to singularia tantum or to pluralia tantum.
Absolute singular nouns or absolute plural nouns are “lexicalized” as separate words or as lexico-semantic variants of regular countable nouns. For example: a hair as a countable noun denotes “a threadlike growth from the skin” as in I found a woman’s hair on my husband’s jacket; hair as an uncountable noun denotes a mass of hairs, as in Her hair was long and curly.