to have desire vs to have a desire

Alexey86

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1. She added that she does "not have desire to interact with or communicate in any way with Mr. Sweet".
(Independent)
2. Every day we do crossing and finishing and we have to have desire to get the ball in the box.
(BBC)

3. But both have a desire to communicate as directly as they can.
(The New York Times - Arts)
4. We would like to win and have a desire to win something this season.
(Independent)

What's the difference in meaning between have desire and have a desire?
 

GoesStation

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Both examples of have desire look wrong to me. However, they're both from British sources; perhaps that phrase is okay in British English.
 

Alexey86

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Can you think of any context where have desire to/for would look correct to you?
 

Alexey86

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Does the second line from You're My Heart, You're My Soul by Modern Talking also sound wrong to you?

Deep in my heart there's a fire burning hard
Deep in my heart there's desire for a start
I'm dying in emotion, it's my world in fantasy
I'm living in my, living in my dreams
 

GoesStation

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That's okay. But it doesn't say I have desire.
 

Alexey86

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What difference would it make if there were there's a desire for a start?
 

emsr2d2

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What difference would it make if there were there's a desire for a start?

It wouldn't fit the rhythm of the song. Don't use song lyrics to learn grammar. Lyrics are frequently written simply to fit the rhyme and rhythm of the song.
 

Alexey86

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It wouldn't fit the rhythm of the song. Don't use song lyrics to learn grammar. Lyrics are frequently written simply to fit the rhyme and rhythm of the song.

My question is about meaning, not grammar. Suppose it were a plain text, what difference would a desire make?
 
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5jj

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Both examples of have desire look wrong to me. However, they're both from British sources; perhaps that phrase is okay in British English.
No.
 

jutfrank

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The difference is the usual difference in meaning. If you use an article, you're using desire countably; if you don't, you're using it uncountably.
 
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probus

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This was in response to whether the English used by the venerable BEEB was okay in BrE. I'd like to confirm that we are saying it wasn't because it seemed fine to me.
 

Alexey86

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The difference is the usual difference in meaning. If you use an article, your using desire countably; if you don't, you're using it uncountably.

That's a formal difference. I'm asking about the difference in the ideas they represent. Desire for a start looks like a certain type of desire distinguished from any other desires, but at the same time, it's uncountable. It's hard to see what exactly adding the indefinite article would change. Same story with there's need for/a need for. I just want to know in what contexts which variant would be more appropriate and logical.
I think if I asked you what the difference is between I bought house by the sea and I bought a house by the sea, you wouldn't say the difference is usual, but immediately point out the wrongness of the former.
 
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Phaedrus

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1. She added that she does "not have desire to interact with or communicate in any way with Mr. Sweet".
(Independent)

Normally, we do not say "not have desire to" or "not have a desire to" but "have no desire to," in which I believe "desire" is naturally understood as noncount.
 

jutfrank

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That's a formal difference.

It's essentially a difference in meaning (word meaning).

I'm asking about the difference in the ideas they represent.

In the context of almost all sentences you'll find, there's no practical difference.

Desire for a start looks like a certain type of desire distinguished from any other desires, but at the same time, it's uncountable. It's hard to see what exactly adding the indefinite article would change.

It would change the countability and therefore the meaning.

Same story with there's need for/a need for.
Right.

I just want to know in what contexts which variant would be more appropriate and logical.

Generally speaking, there's nothing worth noting between them. As Phaedrus says, when you say I have no desire to ..., it's uncountable.

I think if I asked you what the difference is between I bought house by the sea and I bought a house by the sea, you wouldn't say the difference is usual, but immediately point out the wrongness of the former.

That's different because house is not ever used uncountably like that. That's why it's wrong.
 

Alexey86

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So, you can't think of any reason for preferring there's desire for to there's a desire for in any context, except for the speaker's subjective view. And you wouldn't consider either of them more or less appropriate in any situation, right?
 
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