logo  ELT Concourse for learners of English
Concourse 2

... a something of something ...

tea
Have a cup of tea!

In this lesson you can learn how to talk about parts of things.

Usually, words like tea, milk, sugar, water, love, paper do not have plural forms.

All of these are WRONG:

  • two waters
  • some loves
  • eight milks

Instead, we say:

  • some water
  • a little love
  • milk

This is because many words in English are uncountable: we cannot count milk, sugar, water, paper etc.

When we want to make these words plural, we use the something of something structure as in a cup of tea, a bottle of milk and a glass of water.  Here are some more examples:


tea cereal
a cup of tea a bowl of cereal
sugar bread
five cubes of sugar a loaf and some slices of bread
beer honey
a glass of beer a spoonful of honey
dust pickles
a cloud of dust three jars of pickles
string chips
a ball of string a portion of chips
cake ice
a slice of cake a block of ice
paper water
a sheet of paper a drop of water
sand chocolate
a small pile of sand a bar of chocolate
test Task 1: How many can you remember?

write Task 2: Now try to put the right words next to the pictures in this table.
If you want to download the exercise as a PDF document, click here.

bread 6 ______ of bread pizza a ______ of pizza
stones many ______ of stone wool 6 ______ of wool
dust a ______ of smoke cereal a ______ of cereal 
marmalade 12 ______ of marmalade beans a ______ of beans
ketchup 4 ______ of ketchup music a ______ of music
ice a ______ of ice wine a ______ of wine
blood 5 ______ of blood soup a ______ of soup
soap many ______ of soap stones a ______ of stones 
Click here to show the answers.



forget

If you forget the right word ... 

It is better to use the right word, of course, but if you can't remember it, use:

  • a little ... (for small amounts).  For example:
    Can I have a little tea?
    I'd like a little ice in my drink

    etc.
  • lots of ... (for large amounts).  For example:
    There was lots of smoke
    There is lots of soup
  • some (for any amount).  For example:
    Can I have some cake?
    I bought some marmalade