Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default a/an + uncountable noun + that (relative clause)

    I searched the Corpus of American English for the structure of 'a/an + uncountable noun + that (relatve clause)' to learn how to use these uncountable nouns. And I got the results as follows. Could I ask native English speakers to point out which are good English, which are acceptable and which are incorrect:

    an access that 3;
    an admiration that 2;
    an agriculture that 3;
    an anger that 13;
    a blood that 2;
    a chemistry that 6;
    a corn that 2;
    a countryside that;
    a courage that 1;
    a cruelty that 3;
    a dampness that 3;
    a dawn that 6;
    a dependence that 3;
    a diabetes that 1;
    a dusk that 1;
    an ease that 22;
    an electricity that 3;
    an English that 3;
    an envy that 3;
    a fame that 4
    a flu that 5;
    a future that 179;
    a harm that 1;
    a housing that 1;
    a hunger that 9;
    an importance that 11;
    an information that 2;
    a knowledge that 40;
    a machinery that;
    a midnight that 1;
    a money that 1;
    a music that 35;
    a past that 116;
    a patience that 4;
    a physics that 1;
    a politics that 35;
    a poverty that 4 ;
    a privacy that 2;
    a progress that 2;
    a public that 91;
    a respect that 7;
    a rice that 4;
    a shelter that 16;
    a sunshine that 1;
    a traffic that 1;
    a vitality that 9;
    a water that 1;
    a wealth that 2

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by joham; 20-Feb-2009 at 09:21. Reason: something added.

  2. #2
    joham is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: a/an + uncountable noun + that (relative clause)

    Could any native speakers help me please? A thousand thanks.

  3. #3
    Luizao is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    172
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: a/an + uncountable noun + that (relative clause)

    apart from the nouns that are uncountable I can't see much wrong with any of them...

    I mean; "a traffic that" - you just lose the "a" as it's an uncountable noun

  4. #4
    joham is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: a/an + uncountable noun + that (relative clause)

    Quote Originally Posted by Luizao View Post
    apart from the nouns that are uncountable I can't see much wrong with any of them...

    I mean; "a traffic that" - you just lose the "a" as it's an uncountable noun
    Hi, Luizao. Thanks for your reply. The usage of uncountable nouns has been a great difficulty for Chinese learners of English. My MacMillan, Longman, Oxford and Cambridge advanced learner's dictionaries, and my PRACTICAL ENGLISH USAGE by Michael Swan, LONGMAN ENGLISH GRAMMAR by L.G. Alexander all say that music, diabetes, rice, courage, music etc are uncountable nouns and you cannot use 'a' before them or the plural of them. I had no doubt of this until one day I read 'a countryside that' and 'a music that'. So I searched the corpura and got the results. Does this show that what dictionaries and grammar books say differs from the actual use of them?

    Thank you again.
    Last edited by joham; 23-Feb-2009 at 03:27. Reason: something added.

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    17,283
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: a/an + uncountable noun + that (relative clause)

    You use that "a ___ that" to be more specific.

    It's actually pretty common.

    I experienced joy - I experienced a joy that will never be surpassed.
    She experienced harm - She experienced a harm that will never be truly healed.

    Some are still a bit odd in that list, but without the entire context, it's hard to say.

    Just plain old "a ___ that" could be wrong or right in full context.

    Another similar example is using "a" with a person's name.

    A smiling Marie Smith accepted the award.

  6. #6
    Luizao is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    172
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: a/an + uncountable noun + that (relative clause)

    True, true.... thanks

Similar Threads

  1. appositive clause
    By Fame in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-Dec-2008, 13:14
  2. Relative clause(non-defining/defining)
    By tzfujimino in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 12-Jun-2008, 18:43
  3. past participle + preposition
    By donnach in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-Feb-2008, 16:18
  4. Attributive Clause - China Needs Your Help
    By ChinaDavid in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-Jan-2005, 15:56
  5. relative clause
    By hela in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-Jun-2004, 00:15

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •