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Subject: the article A
Question: Hello I found the following information about the indefinite article ''a'' in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary: ''used before uncountable nouns when these have an adjective in front of them, or phrase following them. For example: * a good knowledge of French * a sadness that won't go away Well, here is my question: Honestly, I don't understand the information. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says that the indefinite article ''a'' is used before uncountable nouns when these have an adjective in front of them. But, as far as I know, the indefinite article ''a'' cannot be used in front of uncountable nouns. Does the information mean that we can ALWAYS use the indefinite article ''a'' in front of uncountable nouns that have an adjective in front of them? Is it a rule? Please explain your reasons. Thank you
Reply: Normally "sadness" is uncountable, so you can't say "*a sadness." But "A sadness that won't go away" is possible. So is "an interesting rice." Often when you use an indefinite article with a mass or uncountable noun, it means "kind of" The dictionary is endeavoring to explain the environments where you might find an indefinite article; I don't think you can ALWAYS have "a" before an adjective followed by an uncountable noun, but there are instances where you can.
Reply From: Susan D Fischer      click here to access email
Date: 24-Jul-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: the article A    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (25-Jul-2013)
  2. Re: the article A    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (25-Jul-2013)

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