Countable and uncountable nouns (Sustantivos contables y no contables)

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(Sustantivos contables y no contables)
En ingles hay dos tipos de sustantivos: contables y no contables. Es importante comprender la diferencia entre ellos, porque generalmente utilizan diferentes artículos y los sustantivos no contables generalmente no tienen plural.

  1. Sustantivos Contables:

Son aquellos que se pueden contar: one dog, a mule, one man, the barber shop.

Generalmente tienen singular y plural: two dogs, ten mules, six men, ten barber shops.

  1. Sustantivos No contables:

Son aquellos que no se pueden contar: tea, sugar, water, air, rice, etc. o para ideas abstractas o cualidades tales como: knowledge, beauty, anger, fear, love.

Generalmente no tienen plural. Ejemplos de sustantivos no constables más comunes: money, advice, information, furniture, happiness, sadness, news, research, evidence, safety, beauty, knowledge.

Por lo general se puede deducir si un sustantivo es contable o no contable. Los sustantivos contables son objetos que generalmente se pueden contar. Los sustantivos no contables generalmente son sustancias (tales como arena {sand}, agua {water} o arroz {rice}) que no pueden ser contadas fácilmente, o pueden ser ideas más abstractas como ‘naturaleza’ {nature}, ‘espacio’ {space} o ‘entretención’ {entertainment}.

Puedes colocar "a" o "an" antes de un sustantivo contable. Ejemplo: I have an apple. She doesn't need a table.

Puedes colocar "some" antes de un sustantivo no contable. Ejemplo: I have some chocolate at the party. I just had some rice for lunch.

3. Container, Piece, and Measurement Words

Muchas cosas que puedes comprar en un supermercado son no contables ej.: soap, cereal, butter, beef, ice, etc. Sin embargo, generalmente queremos hablar de ciertas cantidades de estas cosas. Con el fin de hacerlo, las dividimos en unidades que se puedan contar.

Container words.: a can of..., a box of..., a bowl of ..., a glass of ...i.e. I bought two boxes of cereal.

Piece words: a piece of, a slice of..., a bar of ... a clove of garlic. i.e. A slice of pizza. Who needs a piece of paper?

Measurement words: a quart of..., a liter of...: i.e. She has to get two quarts of milk.


Se utilizan para preguntar por cantidades inexactas de algo. Indican que existe ‘much@’ de algo.

How much/How many se utilizan para preguntar por la cantidad de algo.

Si se trata de sustantivos contables, se aplica How many.

Si se trata de sustantivos no contables, se usa How much.

How many cars do you have?
¿Cuántos autos tienes?

How much money do you have?
¿Cuánto dinero tienes?

How much se utiliza también para preguntar precios.

How much is this car?
¿Cuánto cuesta este auto?

How much are the potatoes?
¿Cuánto cuestan las papas?

También se usan en forma genérica para preguntar "cuánto hay". En este caso, van seguidas del sustantivo y luego, is / are there.

How many cars are there?
¿Cuántos autos hay?

How much money is there?
¿Cuánto dinero hay?

A estas preguntas se responde usando There is / are, dependiendo de si se trata de singular o plural. (there is para singular y there are para plural)

There are nine cars.
Hay nueve autos.

There is one dollar.
Hay un dólar.

Para hacer referencia a los sustantivos incontables, se pueden utilizar los envases o las medidas de los envases que los contienen, los cuales si son contables...

How much milk is there?
¿Cuánta leche hay?

There are three litres.
Hay tres litros.

There are three bottles.
Hay tres botellas.


Se utilizan para indicar una cantidad pequeña de algo (poco). Few se utiliza con sustantivos contables y Little con sustantivos no contables. Al utilizar A antes de las palabras (a few, a Little) indica negatividad en la oración. Ejemplo: I have few apples (todavía me quedan algunas) - I have a few apples (casi se me acaban).

Complete con FEW o LITTLE:

  1. There are only __________ cookies in the package.

  2. There is only __________ tea left in the teapot.

  3. George gave me __________ help with my work.

  4. You made ___________ mistakes in this exercise.

  5. He knows ___________ English.

  6. There are __________ apples on the tree.

  7. She put __________ salt on her potatoes.

  8. There is ___________ coffee in the cup.

  9. There is ___________ dust on the chair.

  10. I know ___________ people who like growing vegetables.

  11. I only have ____________ money for lunch. Let’s go somewhere inexpensive.

  12. Irene is really unfriendly. She has ____________ friends.

  13. Irene also has very __________ patience with other people.

  14. He thinks that it’s better to have __________ close friends, than dozens of acquaintances.

  15. Sarah doesn’t like sweets very much. She likes _________ honey in her tea.


Some y any se utilizan con sustantivos contables e incontables, para describir una cantidad indefinida o incompleta. Some se utiliza en oraciones afirmativas:
I had some rice for lunch

He’s got some books from the library

También se utiliza en preguntas donde estamos seguros de la respuesta:

  • Did he give you some tea? (= I'm sure he did.)

  • Is there some fruit juice in the fridge? (= I think there is)

Some es utilizado en situaciones donde la pregunta no es una solicitud de información, sino un método de hacer una solicitud, alentando o haciendo una invitación.

Could I have some books, please? (me puedes pasar algunos libros por favor)

Why don’t you take some books home with you? (por qué no te llevas algunos libros a tu casa)

Would you like some books? (quieres algunos libros)

Any es utilizado en preguntas y con not en oraciones negativas.
Have you got any tea? (tienes algo de té)

He didn’t give me any tea (el no me dió nada de té)

I don’t think we’ve got any coffe left (no creo que nos quede algo de café)
Más Ejemplos:

SOME en oraciones afirmativas.
a. I will have some news next week.
b. She has some valuable books in her house.
c. Philip wants some help with his exams.
d. There is some butter in the fridge.
e. We need some cheese if we want to make a fondue.

SOME en preguntas.
a. Would you like some help?
b. Will you have some more roast beef?

ANY en oraciones negativas.
a. She doesn't want any kitchen appliances for Christmas.
b. They don't want any help moving to their new house.
c. No, thank you. I don't want any more cake.
d. There isn't any reason to complain.

ANY en preguntas
a. Do you have any friends in London?
b. Have they got any children?
c. Do you want any groceries from the shop?
d. Are there any problems with your work?

Complete con SOME o ANY

  1. I can see a house, a lake and ____ trees.

  2. We’ve got one dog, two cats and ____ fish.

  3. I like _____ songs by Ricky Martin but not all of them.

  4. There are _____ chocolate biscuits in the cupboard.

  5. I can’t find _____ books about dinosaurs.

  6. Natalia hasn’t got ____ friends in Athens.

  7. There aren’t _____ banana trees in Scotland.

  8. Have you got _____ games for your computer?

  9. Are there ____ messages for me?

  10. Would you like ____ grapes?

  1. Terry has ____________ pennies in her pocket.

  2. Tomas doesn’t have __________ pennies in his pocket. His pocket is empty.

  3. Angela doesn’t like to eat __________ vegetables.

  4. She didn’t eat __________ salad. Her mother was angry!

  5. But Angela always likes to have _________ ice cream for dessert.

  6. Marissa cooked ___________ Mexican food for dinner.

  7. Her brother didn’t want to eat _________ food that Marissa cooked.

  8. He decided to have __________ pizza instead.

  9. Would you like __________ help?

  10. I can see a house, a lake and ___________ trees.

Complete esta conversación con SOME o ANY
ADAM: What do you want for the barbecue?

AMANDA: Hmmm. How about chicken and hamburgers?

ADAM: OK. We have __________ chicken in the freezer, but we don’t have ________ hamburger meat.

AMANDA: And there aren’t ________ hamburger rolls.

ADAM: Do we have ________ soda?

AMANDA: No, we don’t. We need ________. Oh, and let’s get _________ lemonade, too.

ADAM: All right. And how about potato salad?

AMANDA: Oh, yeah. Everyone likes potato salad.

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