In TOEIC, which is an accredited language test, grammar is presented in parts 5 and 6. Part 5 has fill-in-the-sentence questions and for part 6, you must fill in the blanks in lengthier sentences. You won’t be asked the TOEIC basic grammar concepts directly, but you have to know grammar to a certain degree to choose the right word to go into the blanks. So, studying English grammar is a must before you take the TOEIC test.
TOEIC Basic Grammar – Countable Nouns and Uncountable Nouns
Nouns can be largely divided into countable and uncountable nouns. Nouns that can be counted are called countable nouns, and nouns that cannot be counted are called uncountable nouns.
1) The noun cannot be used on its own.
I like dog. (x)
2) If singular, a(n) comes before the noun. If plural, “– s” is attached at the end of the noun.
I have a dog. (o) I have dogs. (o).
First of all, countable nouns have the characteristic that they cannot be used alone. For example, ‘dog’ cannot be used on its own like in this sentence: “I like dog.” If you use ‘dog’ as a singular noun, you should have an article such as ‘a’ or ‘the’ and if you want to use it without an article, you have to use it in plural form. i.e. “I have a dog.” and “I have dogs.”
1) The noun can be used on its own.
We need equipment. (O)
2) A(n) or –s cannot come together with the noun because there are no singular and plural forms.
We need an equipment. (X) We need equipments. (X)
On the other hand, the uncountable noun cannot be counted, and so there is no distinction between singular and plural forms. So, you cannot have ‘a/an’ in front of it or ‘-s’ after it. You can’t say “We need an equipment.” or “We need equipments.” You have to say “We need equipment.”
However, it is not necessary to distinguish the countable and uncountable nouns. Many nouns are used both as countable nouns and as uncountable nouns. In the TOEIC test, you can generally think of and approach nouns as countable nouns, and memorize some of the frequently asked uncountable nouns. The following are uncountable nouns that are frequently asked in TOEIC.
TOEIC Basic Grammar – Pronouns
Next, shall we talk about pronouns, another TOEIC basic grammar? Pronouns are words that replace nouns, used when you want to avoid repeating aforementioned nouns. So if you want to understand the writing well, when you read, you have to keep track of what noun the pronoun is referring to. The types of pronouns are as follows.
|Personal pronouns: pronouns that refer to people.
Subject: I, you, he, she, it, they.
Objectives: me, you, him, her, it, them.
Possessive: my, your, his, her, its, their
Indicative pronouns: pronouns that refer to things or places.
Singular: this, that
Plural: these, those
Indefinite pronouns: pronouns that refer to uncertain numbers or quantities.
some, any, etc.
Personal pronouns are pronouns that refer to people and can be subjective, objective, or possessive. It is most frequently presented in part 5 of the TOEIC test. Subjective personal pronouns are personal pronouns used in the subject position, such as I, you, he, she, it, and they. Objective personal pronouns are used in the object position, and examples are my, your, his, her, its, and their.
Possessive personal pronouns are the most common in TOEIC. A noun must come after it, and it shows a possessive relationship of that noun. For example, in the sentence “This is my book,” ‘my’ is a possessive personal pronoun, which shows that the noun ‘book’ that follows belongs to me. However, just because a possessive personal pronoun shows a possessive relationship, it does not necessarily mean that only object nouns can come after it. You can also say, “Mr. Jones is her supervisor.”
Next, let’s find out about the demonstrative pronouns. A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun used to refer to a certain object. There is this, these, that, and those in English. Demonstrative pronouns are usually used to refer to things that are far or close in terms of time or distance, as in the sentences below.
We already talked about this.
Those are major sources of stress.
That and those are sometimes used to avoid repeating the same noun when comparing two objects in one sentence. For example, in the sentence “Our company’s benefits package is the same as that of your company,” ‘that’ is used instead to avoid repeating ‘benefits package’.
The point in TOEIC is that ‘those’ also has the meaning of ‘people’. It can be used as in “Those who are interested in the position should call Mr. Kim.”
Finally, an indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that refers to an unspecified object, which can be used with plural countable nouns (one, each, both, several, few, a few, many, etc.), uncountable nouns (little, a little, much, etc.), or both (some, all, etc.).
In the next sample sentence, “each”, which can be used with a plural countable noun, can be used like in “The interviewees should answer each of the questions.” ‘Some’, which can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns, can be used as in “Some of the information in the guidebook is incorrect.”
Applying the Concepts of Countable / Uncountable Nouns and Pronouns to a TOEIC Practice Question!
Now, we will review the concepts of TOEIC basic grammar of countable and uncountable nouns and pronouns that we have learned so far and apply them to TOEIC practice questions.
Here’s the first question.
The company announced new ——- for working at the new factory.
Have you solved it?
If you’ve solved it, let’s check the answer.
The answer to this question is (B) rules.
The blank is the object place of the verb ‘announced’ and the noun place that receives the aforementioned adjective ‘new’. Therefore, the verb (C) ruled must be eliminated first. Among the remaining (A), (B), and (D), ‘rule’ and ‘ruler’ are both countable nouns. We learned earlier that countable nouns cannot be used alone, and that “a(n)” should come before the noun or a plural “-s” should be attached at the end of the noun. Therefore, (B) rules, in plural form, is correct.
Shall we solve one more question together?
The residents living on the upper floors have much better views than ——- on the first floor.
If you’re done, let’s check the answer.
The answer is (D) those. This is a question of choosing the appropriate pronoun for the blank. Since it is a structure comparing residents living on higher floors to residents living on the first floor, there should be a pronoun in plural form in the blank to avoid the repeated use of the plural noun ‘residents’. Remember how we learned earlier that ‘those’ could also mean ‘people’? The answer is (D).
How was it? Now that you have applied the concepts to actual TOEIC questions, the concepts of countable nouns, uncountable nouns, and pronouns will remain in your memory for a longer time. We encourage you to study TOEIC basic grammar one by one so that you can achieve your target TOEIC score.
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