How do you identify countable and uncountable nouns?
Most of the time I have really problems to identify if a noun is countable or uncountable and the use of the article (a / an) in these cases...
E.g. I eat a chicken. OR I hate chicken. Which one is correct?
       She eats hot-dog. OR She eats a hot-dog. OR She eats hot-dogs.
       Michael has a hamburger. OR Michael has hamburgers.
Oct 7, 2016 11:50 PM
Comments · 3

Start with a list of uncountable nouns and memorise that. There will be exceptions, but most importantly you won't need to think every time you need to use a noun.

Once you know which nouns are usually uncountable, you'll start to see how English speakers look at things and how they decide whether or not those things are uncountable.

So, look for those "uncountable noun lists" and then tell us what you've discovered. :)

October 8, 2016

"I eat a chicken. OR I hate chicken. Which one is correct?"

"I hate chicken" is correct.  "Chicken" in this sentence is talking about chicken as a "meat". The meaning is that one hates eating chicken overall. No article is needed.

"I eat a chicken" is not correct.  Either you would say how you eat chicken as a meat, "I eat chicken", or you would say how you are eating a chicken (which would imply a specific chicken that you are eating - which would imply that you did not purchase it at the grocery store or restaurant).

These are all correct: I am eating a chicken that my aunt picked out from her farm.   I am eating a piece of chicken.  I ate a chicken leg for lunch.

October 8, 2016

A couple more tips. Try to really understand the meaning.  Whether a word is uncountable or countable depends a lot on its meaning. For example, "Love is in the air". "Love" is uncountable here because we are talking in very abstract and general terms. "The love that I have for my wife will last forever". Here, I need "the" because I am talking about a very specific "love".

I'm learning Italian now and my knowledge of Spanish has become a bit rusty.  However, I've noticed that the use of articles across all Latin-based languages is quite similar, and not very different to English. One main difference can be seen in my example about "love", in Italian there would be a definite article "l'amore". Abstract concepts need "the" in Italian (any Italians, please correct me).  I can't remember if it's the same in Spanish.

You could write lots of sentences and post them for correction here.  You could translate literally from Spanish, find out how often you are right, and then ask about your specific mistakes. Buena suerte.

October 8, 2016
Language Skills
English, Italian, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Italian