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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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    #1

    I got a question.

    Hi.
    While reading a book, I got a question.

    "I tried to feel something like excitement but came up only with a morose unease."

    In this sentence, I have no idea how "a morose unease" was used.

    I looked up a dictionary and the definition of unease says that it is uncountable.

    I would appreciate if someone gives me an answer.

    Thank you in advance. :)

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    #2

    Re: I got a question.

    When a word is given as uncountable in a dictionary, it doesn't mean that it can never be used countably in any sentence. Countable/uncountable are general descriptions of the normal behaviour of the word. I would imagine that the writer uses the article to suggest that the emotion that they felt wasn't particularly satisfying, possibly a bit strange or artificial. When a feeling is related to a particular time or set of circumstances, you may find uncountable feelings taking an article- I felt a great happiness when I heard they had been rescued.

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    #3

    Re: I got a question.

    Not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by emphasis00 View Post
    I would appreciate if someone gives me an answer.
    What a serious offence! You have used a transitive verb as an intransitive one!

    Here is a better version: I would appreciate it if someone could give me an answer.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 13-Dec-2014 at 23:12. Reason: See below.

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    #4

    Re: I got a question.

    oldbei, please read this extract from the forum rules:

    You are welcome to answer questions posted in the Ask a Teacher forum as long as your suggestions, help, and advice reflect a good understanding of the English language. If you are not a teacher, you will need to state that clearly in your post.


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    #5

    Re: I got a question.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Emphasis:

    You (and I) have already received the answer to your excellent question.

    I just wanted to share something that may interest you.

    Please study these sentences that I found in the "books" section of Google:

    1. "We cycle through many states each day without consciously thinking about it other than having a vague sense of unease, followed by ease again." -- Changing with NLP (2004) by Lewis Walker.

    2. "Their concerns about it seem to tap into a widespread sense of unease about democratic accountability." -- The Politics of Globalization (2003) by Mark R. Brawley.

    3. "Some critics have expressed a general sense of unease with the state of econometrics." -- Putting Econometrics in Its Place (2006) by G.M.P. Swann.


    *****

    May I respectfully suggest that you title your threads with a more exact question? "I got a question" is too general. If you had written something like "A morose unease," you might have gotten faster and more replies.

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    #6

    Re: I got a question.

    In "a sense of unease," the word "unease" is used as an uncountable noun, is it not? Similar usages are "a glass of wine," "a bottle of water," and so on.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 14-Dec-2014 at 19:25. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.
    ----------- Useful Signature ---------
    Warning: Take my words at your own risk, because I am neither a teacher, nor a native English speaker.

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    #7

    Re: I got a question.

    I agree, but the OP's example is countable, though it would only exist in the singular- it would be hard to find a context where someone could feel two morose uneases.

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    #8

    Re: I got a question.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    TO:
    Emphasis

    This is what a very reliable (and popular) book tells us (I have emphasized certain parts):

    "With certain uncountable nouns -- especially nouns referring to human emotions and mental activity -- we have to use a / an when we are limiting their meaning in some way."

    The author gives this sentence: "She has always had a deep distrust of strangers."

    (Only my comments: Can we agree the uncountable noun "distrust" refers to "human emotions"? Can we agree that the word "deep" limits "distrust"?)


    Source: Michael Swan, Practical English Usage (1995 edition), entry 148.6 on page 139. Published by the Oxford University Press.

    *********************

    TO:
    Oldbei

    I found something that may interest you.

    One scholar gives this phrase "Three bags of wool," which he parses like this:

    Three = quantifier.
    bags = classifier / counter. The classifier or counter is itself a countable noun.
    of wool = a prepositional phrase that complements [modifies] the head noun [bags].

    As you know, "wool" is listed as uncountable, but in such sentences as just given, it becomes a count noun.

    Here is another of his examples:

    a. Have a glass of mango juice. (count)
    b. The glass they used for the window is tinted. (uncounted)


    Source: Roderick A. Jacobs, English Syntax / A Grammar for English Language Professionals (1995), pages 113 and 332. Published by the Oxford University Press.

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