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  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default a/ an + uncountable noun

    The following 6 sentences all come from the BNC, CAE and Time CAE. I was wondering if we could theoretically say that all uncountable nouns could be used with 'a/ an', if we wanted to refer to 'a kind/type of it'? Or are there grammatical mistakes with these sentences?


    1. Section 7 does not create an offence which can be the subject matter of an information .

    2. She found herself capable of a courage that startled her.

    3. I wonder what future generations will see in our contemporary landscape paintings. A countryside that is no more? We landscape painters might "sell" the landscape but we also preserve it.

    4. In war as in peace, Anne's friends showed a bravery they might well shrug off as simple human decency.

    5. Last week he brought a proposal for the President's approval: to mint copper half cents which have not been minted since 1857, and aluminum mills, which have, up to now, been a money of account found only in school books.

    6. Benedict's first 100 days have offered no definitive answers, but occasional modest indicators -- plus a frank give-and-take with some of his alpine hosts on Day 98 -- showed a progress of the man into the office and suggested that those who predicted a " caretaker " papacy may have spoken too soon.

    Could I ask native English teachers to help me? Thank you very much.
    Last edited by joham; 01-Apr-2008 at 07:23. Reason: a word mistakenly used.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: a/ an + uncountable noun

    1. Section 7 does not create an offence which can be the subject matter of an information .

    INFORMATION : Law :a formal criminal charge lodged with a court or magistrate by a prosecutor without the aid of a grand jury : The tenant may lay an information against his landlord."
    Presumably, this is a countable noun. "The tenant may lay multiple informations against all landlords deemed to have financial interests in the properties."

    2. She found herself capable of a courage that startled her.

    Yes. The sentence is an abbreviation of : ...of a depth of/of a kind of courage

    3. I wonder what future generations will see in our contemporary landscape paintings. A countryside that is no more? We landscape painters might "sell" the landscape but we also preserve it.

    Yes....a type of/kind of countryside

    4. In war as in peace, Anne's friends showed a bravery they might well shrug off as simple human decency.

    YES. As per (2)

    5. Last week he brought a proposal for the President's approval: to mint copper half cents which have not been minted since 1857, and aluminum mills, which have, up to now, been a money of account found only in school books.

    "money of account" = currency.
    "...up to now, (the) monies of account found in those countries which have not adopted decimalization." I think that I would be more likely to see the 'the' omitted. But it is a countable noun.

    6. Benedict's first 100 days have offered no definitive answers, but occasional modest indicators -- plus a frank give-and-take with some of his alpine hosts on Day 98 -- showed a progress of the man into the office and suggested that those who predicted a " caretaker " papacy may have spoken too soon.
    This is not used in the sense of 'a kind of progress', but that as opposed to 'the poor man is floundering and has no hope of being able to fill the role of a modern pope', it is seeing him as making progress towards taking the helm and strongly guiding the church in the 21st century. Note also that 'progress' has an archaic meaning which is sometimes used with royalty of old, of "a state journey or official tour", so that the journey from being elected pope and really doing the job as opposed to still learning all that a pope does, might be being likened to a 'papal progress'.

    Handel's Water Music was written for one such Royal Progress down the Thames, and an observer at the time may have commented, "Of all (the) Royal Progresses I've witnessed, nay verily, none has had such musical accompaniment." Again, I am unsure whether the 'the' would be used.

    PS It's a little known fact that when Handel composed the music for the Royal Progression, he had been told that the Progression would be up the Thames. Because it was in fact down the Thames, the orchestra had to play the music backwards.
    Last edited by David L.; 01-Apr-2008 at 08:31.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: a/ an + uncountable noun

    PPS
    April Fool's !
    Last edited by David L.; 01-Apr-2008 at 08:45.

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