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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default adjective+ uncountable nouns

    I am wondering what happens to an uncountable nouns when they get an adjective in front of them. Do they need an article before the adjective or are they still without it?
    For example the word "sleet":
    1. He was driving through the heavy sleet. (or should I write it without "the")
    2. A cold sleet was falling all the morning. ( or should it be without "a")
    3. A freezing sleet hit my face as I walked the street. ( I am not sure if it should be "the" or "a")

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: adjective+ uncountable nouns

    2 & 3 don't work for me. 1 could work if, say, you and I were talking about the weather this morning so we knew you were talking about specific sleet. If not, drop the article.

  3. #3
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    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default

    Or to put it another way, "the heavy sleet" works if sleet has already been mentioned.

    I have no problem with "a cold sleet. " It sounds quite natural to me, but of course in Canada we have been forced to become experts in that sort of weather.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: adjective+ uncountable nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I am wondering what happens to an uncountable nouns when they get an adjective in front of them. Do they need an article before the adjective or are they still without it?
    For example the word "sleet":
    1. He was driving through the heavy sleet. (or should I write it without "the")
    2. A cold sleet was falling all the morning. ( or should it be without "a")
    3. A freezing sleet hit my face as I walked the street. ( I am not sure if it should be "the" or "a")
    I agree with the others about #1 - use "the freezing sleet" if it has already been mentioned earlier in the conversation/piece.

    #2 is OK with the indefinite article. It works the same way as "A cold wind was blowing ..."

    #3 is OK with the indefinite article but it's also possible to use no article or the definite article.
    Freezing sleet hit my face as I walked.
    The freezing sleet which was hitting my face as I walked was making my cheeks numb.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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