(1) What is a noun? 甚麼是名詞?

A noun is a name given to a person, place or thing.

(2) Five types of nouns 五種名詞

(a) Common Noun(普通名詞) --- a general name for a person, a place or a thing.

(b) Proper Noun(專有名詞) --- a specific name given to a specific person, place or thing. We need to write the first letter of this kind of noun in capital letter.

(c) Collective Noun(集合名詞) --- a name given to a group of people, places or things.

(d) Material Noun(物質名詞) --- a name given to a certain kind of materials.

(e) Abstract Noun(抽象名詞) --- a name which describes a certain feeling, state, idea or movement.

(3) Countable and Uncountable Nouns 可數及不可數名詞

Countable Nouns 可數名詞

(a) When the number is only one (i.e. singular), we do not need to change the form of the noun. However, we will add the article "a" or "an" in front of the noun.
當數量是只有一個時 (即單數),我們不需把名詞作任何變化;但我們會在名詞前加上冠詞 "a" 或 "an"。

(b) When the number of persons/places/things are more than one (i.e. plural), we add "s" at the end of the noun.
當某個人物/地方/東西的數量多過一個的時候 (即複數),我們會在名詞後面加上"s"。

(c) Some nouns which end in "s", "sh", "ch" or "x" need to have "es" instead of "s" added at the end when they are in plural number.
如果一些名詞有 "s", "sh", "ch" 或 "x" 字母在字的最後,便需要在字的最尾加上 "es",而非 "s"。

(d) Some nouns which have the letter "y" at the end and the letter before "y" are not vowels (i.e. not a, e, i, o, u), we add "ies" instead of "s" for plural number.
如果一些名詞有字母 "y" 在字的最後,而 "y" 前面的字母不是響音 (即不是 a, e, i , o, u 這些音),這些名詞的複數式是在最尾加上 "ies",而非 "s"。

(e) Some nouns which have "f" or "fe" at the end need to have "ves" instead of "s" for plural number.
如果一些名詞有 "f" or "fe" 字母在字的最後,我們需要在字的最尾加上 "ves",而非 "s",以表示複數。

Uncountable Nouns 不可數名詞

Some nouns cannot be counted. It means we cannot use number to count them. For example, we cannot count *one water, *two waters… (wrong examples) So we cannot add "s" or "es" at the end of these nouns or "a" or "an" in front of them.
有一些名詞是不可數的,意思是我們不能直接數算它們的數量,如 "*one water"、 "*two waters" … (錯誤例子) 因此,我們不能在這些名詞後加上"s" 或 "es",也不能在它們前方加上 "a" 或 "an"。

Besides, most of the proper nouns, material nouns and abstract nouns are uncountable.

(2) Five types of nouns 五種名詞

(a) Common Noun (普通名詞)
Persons人物 – teacher(老師), student(學生), boy(男孩), girl(女孩)
Place地方 – park(公園), home(家), library(圖書館), restaurant(餐廳)
Thing (including animals) 東西 (包括動物) – chair(椅子), desk(桌子), book(書), dog(狗), cat(貓)

(b) Proper Noun (專有名詞)
People人物 – John, Donna, Mr. Chan
Place地方 – Hong Kong(香港), New Territories(新界), America(美洲), Ocean Park(海洋公園)
Thing東西 – Friday, October, Mars(火星), Internet(互聯網)

(c) Collective Noun (集合名詞)
class(班級), team(隊伍), family(家庭), fleet(艦隊), audience(觀眾)

(d) Material Noun (物質名詞)
paper(紙), juice(果汁), glass(玻璃), iron(鐵), wood(木), air(空氣)

(e)Abstract Noun (抽象名詞)
Feeling 感情 – love (愛), peace (平安), sympathy(同情), pride(自豪)
State狀態 – strength(力量), length(長度), health(健康), freedom(自由), success(成功)
Idea/Concept 主意/概念 – kindness(仁慈), beauty(美), wisdom(智慧), trust(信任), culture(文化)
Movement/Event 動作/事件 – laughter(笑聲), choice(選擇), leisure(娛樂), Education(教育), trouble(麻煩的事)

(3) Countable and Uncountable Nouns 可數及不可數名詞

Countable Nouns 可數名詞

(a) Singular nouns (單數名詞):
a photo, a boy, an apple, an umbrella

(b) Nouns with "s" (有 "s" 的名詞):
picture --> pictures
teacher --> teachers
head --> heads

(c) Nouns with "es" (有 "es"的名詞):
watch --> watches
bus --> buses
box --> boxes
dish --> dishes

(d) Nouns with "ies" (有 "ies"的名詞) [Not vowel(非響音) + y]:
baby --> babies
ferry --> ferries
[Vowel(響音) + y]:
day --> days
toy --> toys

(e) Nouns with "ves" (有 "ves" 的名詞):
leaf --> leaves
knife --> knives
Exclusion 例外:
roof --> roofs
handkerchief --> handkerchiefs

Uncountable Nouns 不可數名詞

Liquid 液體 – water, juice, oil, sweat, milk, rain
Gas 氣體 – air, smoke, steam, oxygen
Material 物料 –paper, cotton, leather, rubber, sand
Nature 大自然 – fire, light, weather, sunshine, darkness, thunder
Food 食物 – cheese, butter, bread, ice, sugar, rice, chocolate
Abstract idea 抽象概念 – poverty, anger, traffic, neighbourhood, music
Others 其他 – money, rubbish, software, furniture, tennis

(I) Nouns ending in "o"

Words that need to add "es" at the end 加"es"在最後的例子:
potato (馬鈴薯) --> potatoes
tomato (番茄) --> tomatoes
hero (英雄) --> heroes

Words that need to add "s" at the end 加"s"在最後的例子:
piano (琴) --> pianos
zoo (動物園) --> zoos
photo (照片) --> photos
radio (收音機) --> radios

(II) Irregular variations of plural nouns

For some nouns, we have to change the letters in the word:
woman (女人) --> women
foot (腳) --> feet
tooth (牙) --> teeth
syllabus (課程大綱) --> syllabi
criterion (條件) --> criteria

For some nouns, we have to change the word completely:
ox (牛) --> oxen
mouse (老鼠) --> mice
child (小孩) --> children
person (人) --> people

For some nouns, the singular form and the plural form are the same:
a sheep (羊) --> two sheep
a deer (鹿) --> two deer

(III) Nouns that can be countable and uncountable

Sometimes, a noun can be countable and uncountable. It depends on the meanings it has.

time VS times
Uncountable – when it refers to minutes, hours, year, etc. 當指時間時
e.g. It's time to go to bed.
Countable – when it refers to occasions 當指事件的次數時
e.g. How many times have you read this book?

paper VS papers
Uncountable – when it refers to a thin material 當指紙張這種物料時
e.g. Mary draws a flower on the paper.
Countable – when it refers to a set of exam questions on a particular subject or a newspaper 當指試卷或報章時
e.g. There are four papers in the English examination – reading, writing, listening and speaking.