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Countables and Uncountables
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This is not a difficult topic, but there is a lot of information.
It isn´t difficult because in Spanish there are also countables and uncountables, and 95% of the time they match.
A) Let´s see:
We bought a pizza = Compramos una pizza
I ate some pizza and (some) crisps = Comí pizza y patatas fritas (de bolsa)
James has a fish = James tiene un pez
Today I´m cooking (some) fish = Hoy cocino pescado
How much money do you need? = ¿Cuanto dinero necesitas?
How many notes did he have? = ¿Cuantos billetes tenía?
How much sugar have you got? = ¿Cuanto azucar tienes?
How many sugars do you want in your coffee? = ¿Cuantos azucares quieres en tu café?
B) OK? Translating directly from Spanish is OK, but there are some exceptions, and these are most important. The most important are ‘people’ and ‘furniture’.
1. There were too many people at the wedding (count.)= Había demasiada gente en la boda (uncount.)
(Otra manera de ver eso es decir que la palabra ‘gente’ no existe en Inglés, y que people significa ‘persona’, entonces: too many people = demasiadas personas)
2. They bought so much furniture! (count.) = Compraron tantos muebles (uncount.)
3. Careful with work (=trabajo =uncountable) and works (=obras =plural). Por eso homeworks es incorreto.
4. The same with time (=tiempo/hora del día = uncountable) and times (=veces =countable)
C) No problems? I´m sure that you have noticed (=notado) that:
How many? (=Cuantos/as?)
Too many (=Demasiados/as)
So many (=Tantos/as)
Many (=Muchos/as) are countable
How much? (=Cuanto/a?)
Too much (=Demasiado/a)
So much (=Tanto/a)
Much (=Mucho/a) are uncountable
D) Let´s go up one level! (=Vamos a subir un nivel)
The article ‘a’ (o ‘an’, antes de un vocal) is for the singular.
‘Some’ is for plural and uncountable. For example:
Countable: A book (singular) Some books (plural)
Uncountable: Some water
-In negative sentences you must change ‘some’ for ‘any’ (Y no, no tengo ni idea porque, asi que no me preguntes!!!). Example:
I haven´t got any books (plural)
There isn´t any water (uncount.)
-And the question? It depends……
Preguntar por informacion= any
Are there any sandwiches? (Count) Is there any coke? (Uncount)
(You can see that uncountable nouns use the singular form, as in Spanish- Sugar are is sweet)
Preguntar para Pedir o Ofrecer = some
Would you like some chips? (Count) Could I have some bread? (Uncount)
E) Extra Information
There was some cake = Había pastel
There was some cake left = Quedaba pastel
There was some cake left over = Sobraba pastel
I don’t have any oranges = No tengo naranjas
I don’t have any oranges left = No me quedan naranjas
I don’t have any oranges left over = No me sobran naranjas
F) Almost finished!
Much (=uncountable=mucho/a) and Many (=countable=muchos/as) are normally used for questions and negatives, but not in positive.
It is more common to use ‘a lot (of…algo)’, ‘plenty (of….algo= more formal)’ or ‘loads (of….= more colloquial)’ These are OK for countable and uncountable.
Did you have (much /a lot of / lots of / plenty of / loads of) time?
Not much / a lot- but…..
I hope we have (
much /a lot of / lots of / plenty of / loads of) time on Saturday.
Few = pocos/as = countable, but it is much more common to say ‘not many’
I don´t have many friends.
Little = poco/a = uncountable, but you usually hear ‘not much’
There isn´t much time!
‘Any’ no significa ‘Nada’!
There isn´t any light = There is no light
I don´t have any time = I have no time
‘Any’ or ‘anything’ by itself (=por sí solo) means ‘cualquier’ o ‘cualquier cosa’. Solo significa ‘nada’ cuando va acompañado por ‘not’ en la frase.
Example: What do you want for dinner?
Anything (=cualquier cosa)
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