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      • Native Language:
      • Korean
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2011
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    #1

    a/an+adjective+abstract noun?

    Hello everybody,

    As well all know, we normally do not put articles, especially 'a' and' an before abstract nouns.

    However, that's not always the case. Take "a gross invasion of privacy" for example. I remember, a long time ago, someone telling me that I am supposed to put "a or an" whenever abstract nouns are preceded by adjective words. But that's not always true. What really baffles me is that there are cases where we don't use a/an before 'adjective+abstract noun'. Why is that?

    Does it solely depend on whether abstract nouns can be countable as well? If so, how do tell when abstract nouns are countable?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #2

    Re: a/an+adjective+abstract noun?

    Hello and welcome to Using English.

    As well all know, we normally do not put articles, especially 'a' and' an before abstract nouns.
    I don't know this at all. We don't usually put articles before uncountable nouns, but we surely do before countable abstract nouns: idea, concept, dream, goal, sense, feeling, etc., (as well as invasion.

    Don't focus on whether the noun is concrete of abstract. Focus on whether it's countable or uncountable. Some dictionaries will give you a U or a C, but be aware that many noun have more than once sense.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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