Practise Your ‘S’ Rules

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The ‘s’ can be quite tricky to understand especially when our native language doesn’t have specific uses and rules on it. However, in the English language, the letter ‘s’ is important to grammar and accuracy.

Here are four instances where the letter ‘s’ can be used:

  1. With some countable plural nouns such as ‘two cats’, ‘three dogs’, ‘five apples’.
  2. With verbs (actions) that follow a third-person singular (he, she, it ) in the present tense, for example, ‘She visits her grandmother every Sunday.’
  3. With contractions such as, ‘it’s’ to mean ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.
  4. With words to show ownership or possession such as ‘its’ as in, ‘The dog wagged its tail.’
 

In this week’s episode, ‘How to Use ‘S’ Correctly’, you will learn all about using ‘s’ for countable plural nouns and verbs, with examples. 

You will also learn about two common mistakes to avoid, such as using ‘s’ with uncountable nouns and irregular nouns. Examples will be provided to help you grasp the concepts.

After listening, you can take the quiz below. Choose the correct answer and determine if the nouns are countable or uncountable. The answers are provided below.

  1. I need to borrow a pair of (scissor/scissors) to cut this paper.
  2. The rainforest is home to numerous unique (specie/species) of plants and animals.
  3. In  American English, (‘pant’/’pants’) refers to the garment that covers the lower body, while (‘trouser’/’trousers’) is more commonly used in British English.
  4. She put on her favourite pair of (jean/jeans) and a comfortable t-shirt for a casual day out.
  5. I caught two big (fish/fishes) while fishing in the lake yesterday.
  6. The airport had to make room for several (aircraft/aircrafts) that were arriving for the international airshow.
  7. The (headquarter/headquarters) of the company is located in a modern skyscraper in the heart of the city.
  8. I stayed up late last night to finish my (homework/homeworks).
  9. The (staff/staffs) at the hotel was friendly and attentive, ensuring that guests had a comfortable stay.
  10. I received positive (feedback/feedbacks) from my supervisor on my latest project at work.

 

Answers:

  1. scissors – plural uncountable noun
  2. species – plural countable noun
  3. pants; trousers – both are plural uncountable nouns
  4. jeans – plural uncountable
  5. fish – countable noun
  6. aircraft – countable noun
  7. headquarters – plural noun
  8. homework – uncountable noun
  9. staff – singular uncountable noun
  10. feedback – uncountable noun
 

Did you get 10/10? If so, congratulations! If not, don’t worry. You can try again later when you have familiarised yourself with words you frequently use on a daily basis. Start with the list of words mentioned in this week’s episode.

Until our next lesson!

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We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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