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    #1

    There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    The Oxford Dictionary provides four meanings of "choice" (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionari...glish/choice_1):

    1.[countable] an act of choosing between two or more possibilities; something that you can choose
    2.[uncountable, singular] the right to choose; the possibility of choosing
    3.[countable] a person or thing that is chosen
    4.[singular, uncountable] the number or range of different things from which to choose

    Suppose someone complains, "I want to give up smoking, but I can't", to which the other replies, "There's always a choice." I think the second meaning best suits this context, but I still have to use "a". Actually, I couldn't find a single example of this phrase without "a". What is the logic behind that?

    What is the correct variant, "You always have a right to choose/possibility of choosing," or "You always have the right to choose/possibility of choosing"? If both are possible, what is the difference in meaning?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 22-Jan-2020 at 13:15.

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    #2

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Suppose someone complains, "I want to give up smoking, but I can't", to which the other replies, "There's always a choice."
    That reply would not be considered natural in English.
    What exactly are you trying to work out? Can you give us a different example?

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    #3

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    What exactly are you trying to work out?
    Why is "a" used in this phrase in all contexts, even when we mean someone's right or ability to choose, and "choice" conveys an uncountable meaning?

    Can you give us a different example?
    I've found an article about dealing with eating problems entitled "There is always a choice" (https://emilyfonnesbeck.com/there-is-always-a-choice/). It includes the following sentence, "There is a fundamental truth that I feel and know deep in my soul and it’s this: there is ALWAYS a choice." As a see it, "choice" here means the ability to choose.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 22-Jan-2020 at 14:57.

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    #4

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    It doesn't mean the ability to choose. It means there are possibilities.
    Not a professional teacher

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    #5

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    It means there are possibilities.
    Doesn't it fall under the fourth definition, "the number or range of different things from which to choose"?

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    #6

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    Okay.

    First, I agree with teechar that there's always a choice (in your first example, at least) is not the best use of English to illuminate this for you.

    Second, yes, the fourth definition is the closest fit. In your 'smoking' example (which I assume you made up yourself), the range of options is limited to two: either giving up or not giving up.

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    #7

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Why is "a" used in this phrase in all contexts, even when we mean someone's right or ability to choose, and "choice" conveys an uncountable meaning?
    Look under entry 1.1 in the link below, and you'll see that what you're saying is not always the case.

    https://www.lexico.com/definition/choice

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    #8

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    jutfrank said,
    yes, the fourth definition is the closest fit. In your 'smoking' example (which I assume you made up yourself), the range of options is limited to two: either giving up or not giving up.
    According to the dictionary, this meaning is also uncountable, but there is no such option like "There is always choice"

    the range of options is limited to two.
    Is it important? I mean if there were many options, we would still use "a".

    teechar said,
    Look under entry 1.1 in the link below, and you'll see that what you're saying is not always the case.
    I'm only talking about the phrase "There is always a choice". I don't see it in the entry.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 22-Jan-2020 at 16:45.

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    #9

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    According to the dictionary, this meaning is also uncountable, but there is no such option like "There is always choice"
    Only the version with the article is possible in your example phrase. The article is needed because the idea is that there is a specific instance of choosing. The uncountable noun (i.e. with a zero article) can be used to express the general, more abstract idea of choosing. This is true of all uncountable nouns, not just choice. The lack of determiner has the effect of referring to a more abstracted way of thinking about things.

    Is it important? I mean if there were many options, we would still use "a".
    It doesn't matter how many options there are in the range, as long as there are at least two, of course.

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    #10

    Re: There is always a choice (countability and article usage).

    The lack of determiner has the effect of referring to a more abstracted way of thinking about things.
    Do you mean "There is always a choice" can't be used for conveying an uncountable meaning? What do you think of this example?

    "You think that everything in our life is predetermined, but I believe there is always a choice."

    Isn't it abstract enough?

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