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  1. inase's Avatar
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    #1

    Use of indefinite articles (a

    Hello,

    It seems that there are abstract nouns which can take an indefinite article only when they are modified.

    Let me give you four contrasting "growth" sentences.

    1. The city has recently seen growth in population.
    2. The city has recently seen a growth in population.
    3. The city has recently seen enormous growth in population.
    4. The city has recently seen an enormous growth in population.

    Dictionaries tell me that of these four sentences, Sentences 1 and 4 are natural. I am not sure whether Sentence 3 is natural or not. There is no such example as Sentence 2. I understand that "growth" in "a growth in my ear" is an exception, meaning something that has grown.

    Thank you.
    Inase

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Use of indefinite articles (a

    3 is certainly extremely natural. Heard very commonly.

    I concur with the dictionaries you consulted: there is something unnatural about 2. "A" growth is normally a tumor or excrescence of some sort.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 17-May-2017 at 09:21. Reason: Fixing typo.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Use of indefinite articles (a

    The second sentence seems natural enough to me. There are plenty of examples of 'a growth in' here.

  4. VIP Member
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    #4

    Re: Use of indefinite articles (a

    Sentence 2. certainly is natural, and probably more likely than 1. I'd say.

    In 2. the use of an article points to a specific period of growth for the population. That is to say, the growth process is seen as less abstract than in 1. This particular period of growth in this particular city.

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