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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Brook and garden and church spire

    Hello,

    Can anybody explain to me why there is only one indefinite article in the first case (before steeple), no article in the second and three articles in the third case? I am confused a little bit …

    At once nonsensical and menacing, these syllables not so much came to ‘mean’ as coldly cling to, breath themselves about, a curiously recurrent dream or vision, and to be linked, in his imagination, with—of all odd precipitants of horror or dismay—a steeple, stretch of garden or allotments, and slow-running stream.

    The hem of the shadow had already touched him, and the vision—that easy and repeated scene of brook and garden and church spire, which, all his life, seemed unobtrusively but constantly to have companioned him, half recognized from afar—was within whispering distance, suddenly insistent, warning him.

    ‘Beyondaril’—this foolishly self-christened, dogging picture of a stream, a garden and a faint
    church spire—was something he would look on at his peril.

    Beyondaril, John Metcalf, 194?

    Thank you very much.
    Not a Teacher

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Brook and garden and church spire

    In the second one the three items are grouped together repeatedly. (A curiously recurrent dream or vision.) They are, in a sense, a package. You could, however, use indefinite article there. In the first case, the author might as well have used the indefinite article. And, in fact, I don't know why he didn't.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #3

    Re: Brook and garden and church spire

    The second would work for me too with the indefinite article. I guess it's down to the feelings of a creative writer at the moment more than your average sentence.

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