Singular Countable Noun WITHOUT an article!

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CFRB

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I think this is going to be a truly excruciating topic. I really can't understand the use of a/an with singular countable nouns. Please consider the examples below and kindly note these are NEITHER picture captions NOR article titles.


1. Richie Porte was the revelation of the 2010 Giro d'Italia. He wore the maglia rosa for three days and went home as winner of the young rider classification.

(Cyclingnews)


2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) sealed overall victory in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday.

(Bike Radar)


3. CCC Polsat: CCC is a chain of shoe shops in Poland whilst Polsat is satellite TV channel.

(inrng)


4. As coach and sports scientist Garth Fox explains, if you’re a time triallist, your number one enemy is aerodynamic drag. It is always present and will always be working against your attempts to go quicker.

(Bike Radar)


5. Late last year, Armstrong resigned as chairman of the foundation he created, Livestrong, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.

(Oprah's Next Chapter: Oprah and Lance Armstrong)


6. As the sports world eagerly anticipates tonight’s interview with Lance Armstrong by Oprah Winfrey, there is much speculation as to why the American has decided to finally come forward after he has already been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and his Olympic medal, after he has lost his personal sponsorships and resigned as chairman of his eponymous cancer foundation.

(Cyclingnews)


7. He stepped down as chairman of Livestrongfirst but remained on the board of directors.

(NBC News)


8. "That was the most humbling moment. To get that call," Armstrong explained. "Two parts. Step down as chairman but stay on the board.

(Cyclingnews)


9. Shane Sutton has stepped down as head coach of Team Sky although the Australian will continue to serve a consultation role as a performance advisor and “troubleshooter.”

(Cyclingnews)

10. Team Sky’s statement said that he would dovetail his new position with his job as head coach of the British track programme.

(C
yclingnews)


11. Rod Ellingworth, who has served as race coach at Team Sky since its inception in 2010, now takes up the role of performance manager, with responsibility for overseeing the work of the team’s coaches and sports directors.

(Cyclingnews)


12. Most broken of them all is Ellen whose promising career as geriatric professional is destroyed by allegations of elder abuse.

(Cycling Tips)


13. Garmin-Barracuda controlled the field for race leader Ramunas Navardauskas.

(Cycling Tips)


14. He had lowered book and bottle so as to stare at everybody (...).

(This is taken from a novel by Ramsey Campbell titled "The One Safe Place", page 124, Headline 1995. The sentence comes from a broader context of a chapter in which THE book and THE bottle had been mentioned several times before this sentence occured).


15. All the while, this organization, of which I am member, is chaired by someone who once tested positive, and whose members have a rich and varied history ranging from Festina to Puerto to USPS to CERA to Corticoid investigations.

(Cyclingnews)



How does all of this relate to the Golden Rule of English:

- A SINGULAR COUNTABLE NOUN ALWAYS TAKES AN ARTICLE: If a single unit or item--A or AN If specific or particular—THE

(University Of West Florida
)


and these (not so golden....):

- "If the noun is COUNTABLE and SINGULAR it must almost always be preceded by an article".

(Birmingham City University)

- Singular countable nouns must usually be preceded by determiners even when the nouns are also preceded by various descriptive words

(English Grammar: Explanation and Exercises
)


So must a/an be ALWAYS, ALMOST ALWAYS or USUALLY used with singular countable nouns...? This is really beyond my ken...

I would be eternally grateful for (an) precise answer
:-D



 

bhaisahab

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3. CCC Polsat: CCC is a chain of shoe shops in Poland whilst Polsat is satellite TV channel.
This is the only one of your examples where a necessary article is missing.
 

CFRB

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3. CCC Polsat: CCC is a chain of shoe shops in Poland whilst Polsat is satellite TV channel.
This is the only one of your examples where a necessary article is missing.

Really?? What about 14? How do you explain this?
 
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Rover_KE

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Number 14 is the same sort of colloquial usage as

'He risked life and limb to keep his daughter safe.'

'You will need pen and pencil for this exercise.'

Rover
 

Raymott

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I would be eternally grateful for (an) precise answer :-D



1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 are all of the same type.
3 is wrong, as is 15. They require an article.
14 has been explained.
That leaves 2, "sealed victory". There's only one victory to be sealed (just as there's only one chairman etc. in the first type). It's like "He won first prize".
 

CFRB

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1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 are all of the same type.
3 is wrong, as is 15. They require an article.
14 has been explained.
That leaves 2, "sealed victory". There's only one victory to be sealed (just as there's only one chairman etc. in the first type). It's like "He won first prize".

Thank you for the answers, I appreciate. Nevertheless I'd like to have it 100% clear once and for all. Is my line of reasoning correct now?

1. Richie Porte was the revelation of the 2010 Giro d'Italia. He wore the maglia rosa for three days and went home as winner of the young rider classification. (one winner of this particular classification)

(Cyclingnews)


2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) sealed overall victory in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday. (this one particular victory)

(Bike Radar)


3. CCC Polsat: CCC is a chain of shoe shops in Poland whilst Polsat is satellite TV channel. (A satellite channel - one of MANY satellite channels)

(inrng)


4. As coach and sports scientist Garth Fox explains, if you’re a time triallist, your number one enemy is aerodynamic drag. It is always present and will always be working against your attempts to go quicker. (this one particular coach and sports scientist: Garth Fox)

(Bike Radar)


5. Late last year, Armstrong resigned as chairman of the foundation he created, Livestrong, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against cancer. (this one particular chairman - only one: Lance Armstrong)

(Oprah's Next Chapter: Oprah and Lance Armstrong)


6. As the sports world eagerly anticipates tonight’s interview with Lance Armstrong by Oprah Winfrey, there is much speculation as to why the American has decided to finally come forward after he has already been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and his Olympic medal, after he has lost his personal sponsorships and resigned as chairman of his eponymous cancer foundation. (this one particular chairman - only one: Lance Armstrong)

(Cyclingnews)


7. He stepped down as chairman of Livestrongfirst but remained on the board of directors. (this one particular chairman - only one: Lance Armstrong)

(NBC News)


8. "That was the most humbling moment. To get that call," Armstrong explained. "Two parts. Step down as chairman but stay on the board. (this one particular chairman - only one: Lance Armstrong)

(Cyclingnews)


9. Shane Sutton has stepped down as head coach of Team Sky although the Australian will continue to serve a consultation role as a performance advisor and “troubleshooter.” (this one particular head coach - only one: S. Sutton)

(Cyclingnews)

10. Team Sky’s statement said that he would dovetail his new position with his job as head coach of the British track programme. (this one particular head coach - only one)

(C
yclingnews)


11. Rod Ellingworth, who has served as race coach at Team Sky since its inception in 2010, now takes up the role of performance manager, with responsibility for overseeing the work of the team’s coaches and sports directors. (this one particular head coach - only one: Rod Ellingworth)

(Cyclingnews)


12. Most broken of them all is Ellen whose promising career as geriatric professional is destroyed by allegations of elder abuse. (this one particular geriatric professional - only one: Ellen)

(Cycling Tips)


13. Garmin-Barracuda controlled the field for race leader Ramunas Navardauskas. (this one particular race leader - only one: Ramunas Navardauskas)

(Cycling Tips)


14. He had lowered book and bottle so as to stare at everybody (...). (this one particular book and one particular bottle in question)

(This is taken from a novel by Ramsey Campbell titled "The One Safe Place", page 124, Headline 1995. The sentence comes from a broader context of a chapter in which THE book and THE bottle had been mentioned several times before this sentence occured).


15. All the while, this organization, of which I am member, is chaired by someone who once tested positive, and whose members have a rich and varied history ranging from Festina to Puerto to USPS to CERA to Corticoid investigations. (of which I am A member - one of MANY members)
(Cyclingnews)



Bottomline:

- it is possible to omit A/AN in colloquial usage if there's no mistaking about the person/thing/etc. (Am I correct?)



(by the way, is it possible for Barack Obama - in an informal chat with a friend - to say "I am president"? Or could my boss say - let's say at the meeting - "I'm boss here!"?)



 
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Raymott

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Yes, you do seem to have reliably reflected our answers back to us, except for 14, which was explained as being colloquial.
 

Esredux

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Is it really 'a/an' that is missing?
 

emsr2d2

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Is it really 'a/an' that is missing?

Are you talking about no. 14? If so, as we said, there is nothing "missing". However, if we wanted to add words, they would not be the indefinite article, in my opinion. I would write "He lowered his book and bottle ..."
 

Esredux

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Are you talking about no. 14? If so, as we said, there is nothing "missing". However, if we wanted to add words, they would not be the indefinite article, in my opinion. I would write "He lowered his book and bottle ..."
No, I have no problem with double expressions.
I'd rather think 'the' is omitted in, for example, '[the] head coach of the British track programme'(10), which is quite natural in titles and unique positions.
 

emsr2d2

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Is it really 'a/an' that is missing?

I can't find anything in the thread that suggests that anyone thought it was specifically the indefinite article that was missing. The OP's title simply refers to singular countable nouns being used without an article, not "without the article 'an' ".
 

Esredux

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It is in the OP's 'bottom line' in post 6 [not 4] with which everybody seems to agree.
He also asked about 'a/an' usage in the end on his first post.
 
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emsr2d2

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It is in the OP's 'bottom line' in post 4 with which everybody seems to agree.
He also asked about 'a/an' usage in the end on his first post.

OK, I had missed the final part of the original post. However post #4 is by RoverKE, not the OP.

Let's make this clear then - singular countable nouns can be used with the definite article, indefinite article or no article at all. As always, it's dictated by context and usage.
 

Esredux

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OK, I had missed the final part of the original post. However post #4 is by RoverKE, not the OP.

Let's make this clear then - singular countable nouns can be used with the definite article, indefinite article or no article at all. As always, it's dictated by context and usage.
The number of the post I referred to is actually 6. Sorry for the mess.
Thank you for summing it all up!
 

Anna S

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Let's make this clear then - singular countable nouns can be used with the definite article, indefinite article or no article at all. As always, it's dictated by context and usage.

Wow, this is (a) truly interesting discussion :-D. There is NO a single grammar book that I've got to know over the past few years that says this....:shock: !! In the light of this (and I know lots of GOOD grammars!) I believe CFRB's doubts concerning the usage of "a/n/the/zero article" are not groundless and may really (as CFRB puts it: excruciatingly) prove confusing not only for him but for - I'm afraid - most English learners.
 

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NOT A TEACHER


Apart from sentences no 14 and 3, would using "a/an" actually be a mistake?
 

5jj

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Apart from sentences no 14 and 3, would using "a/an" actually be a mistake?
It would be in some; 'the' is the more likely. If I have time, I'll come back later to look at some of them in more detail
 

CFRB

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So many replies...
Well, it wasn't my intention to be annoying or reflect the questions back to you all. I just wanted to make sure my line of reasoning (highligted in brackets) is correct. And I also asked two additional questions.

All right, now one thing is (hmm...) clear to me:

- sometimes there is a special context (by "special" I mean perfectly clear and unambiguous to the reader/listener/etc.) where a/an/the article is not necessary & using a singular countable noun without a/an/the article is not a grammatical mistake.

BUT.

- why haven't I ever read about it in any English grammar?
- is there a grammar rule that clearly explains that to the English language learner?
 
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emsr2d2

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why haven't I ever read about it in any English grammar?


If someone publishes a book one day which covers every single aspect of the English language and its many (sometimes illogical) usages, regional variants and exceptions to exceptions to rules, it will be a book so big no-one will be able to afford it, let alone lift it!

is there a special grammar rule that clearly explains that to the English language learner?

No.
 
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