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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Indefinite Article

    Hello all. I would like to ask English experts to explain the usage of the indefinite article in exclamation sentences.
    Like in:
    1) What a horrible song!
    2) What awful news!
    3) What fun your friend Maisie is!
    4) What good meat this is!
    5) What fresh fruit!
    (I guess all of them are correct)

    Does it depend on the noun (countable\uncountable, abstract/concrete)?
    Is there any specific rule for such a case? Or does the case undergo the general rule of indefinite article usage?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by olya g.; 18-Feb-2011 at 22:40.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Indefinite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by olya g. View Post
    1) What a horrible song!
    2) What awful news!
    3) What fun your friend Maisie is!
    4) What good meat this is!
    5) What fresh fruit!
    (I guess all of them are correct) YES

    Does it depend on the noun (countable\uncountable)?YES
    What a horrible song! - countable, singular.
    What horrible songs! - countable, plural
    What good meat! - uncountable.

  3. Khosro's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Indefinite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by olya g. View Post
    Hello all. I would like to ask English experts to explain the usage of the indefinite article in exclamation sentences.
    Like in:
    1) What a horrible song!
    2) What awful news!
    3) What fun your friend Maisie is!
    4) What good meat this is!
    5) What fresh fruit!
    (I guess all of them are correct)

    Does it depend on the noun (countable\uncountable, abstract/concrete)?
    Is there any specific rule for such a case? Or does the case undergo the general rule of indefinite article usage?

    Thanks in advance!
    Hello olya g! welcome abroad!

    As far as I know, just the "general rule of indefinite article usage". I guess it is just about being "singular", "plural" or "uncountable". I wonder why you also mentioned "abstract/concrete".

  4. Newbie
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    #4

    Re: Indefinite Article

    Thanks a lot for your responses!

    But I'm still confused.
    What about news and fruit (and advice)? (Aren't they countable, singular?)

    Is it correct? -

    What a fresh fruit!
    What an awful news! / What a horrible news!
    (What a good advice!)
    If I'm mistaken, please, help me!
    Last edited by olya g.; 18-Feb-2011 at 23:15.

  5. Khosro's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Indefinite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by olya g. View Post
    Thanks a lot for your responses!

    But I'm still confused.
    What about news and fruit (and advice)? (Aren't they countable, singular?)

    Is it correct? -

    What a fresh fruit!
    What an awful news! / What a horrible news!
    (What a good advice!)
    If I'm mistaken, please, help me!
    Now you are asking a different question. No, those sentences are not correct.You may say:

    - May I give you a piece of advice?
    - She always has a piece of fruit for desert.
    - She was delighted by this piece of news.

    since they are uncountable if you need to count them you should use some means to count them just as when you say:"a packet of butter". "a piece of" is a common way to mention these uncountable nouns in a countable manner. Now you can say:"three pieces of advice.

    You have heard the news, haven't you? they say " the latest headlines" which is the plural of "the latest headline" but "news" is not the plural of "new".

  6. engee30's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Indefinite Article

    What a fresh fruit! is alright as long as you mean one fruit that is fresh.

  7. Newbie
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    #7

    Re: Indefinite Article

    I actually was sure that "news", "advice" and even "fruit" were countable. (The phenomenon of interference between languages presents here, I guess).

    Thus, the conclusion is the following:
    we use indefinite article in exclamation sentences such as "What a horrible song!" according to the noun that is countable and singular. If not, we don't use articles at all. Am I right?

    And my following question: how should be explained the use of article in "What a pity!" (or probably it is not correct?)
    Last edited by olya g.; 19-Feb-2011 at 01:38.

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    #8

    Re: Indefinite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    What a fresh fruit! is alright as long as you mean one fruit that is fresh.
    But when I say "what fresh fruit!" (without any article), what is it supposed I mean? (if not one definite fruit then an amount of fruits that we can't count?)

  9. engee30's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Indefinite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by olya g. View Post
    But when I say "what fresh fruit!" (without any article), what is it supposed I mean? (if not one definite fruit then an amount of fruits that we can't count?)
    What fresh fruit! = two or more items of fruit
    What a fresh fruit! = one item of fruit

  10. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Indefinite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    What fresh fruit! = two or more items of fruit
    What a fresh fruit! = one item of fruit
    The second of these is fairly unlikely. We tend to use fruit as a countable noun only when we are referring to types of fruit. So, seeing a medlar for the first time, we might say, thinking of the fruit we see as a representative of the type, "What an ugly fruit!' but, when picking up a single apple or orange, we are unlikely to say, "What a fresh fruit!"

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