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Дом The Use of Articles with Abstract Nouns
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Abstract nouns fall into two classes: countables and uncountables.

The use of articles with countable abstract nouns does not differ from their use with countable concrete nouns — in the singular countable abstract nouns are used with the indefinite or definite article; in the plural they are used without any article or with the definite article:

He told the child a story.

He told the child stories.

The child knew the story he told.

The child knew the stories he told.

v The use of articles with uncountable abstract nouns

1. As a general rule, uncountable abstract nouns are used without any article:

There was silence for a few moments.

Light was coming into the cellar from somewhere.

2.The definite article is used with uncountable nouns when they are modified by a particularizing attri­bute or when the situation makes the idea definite. The definite article is used here to denote a particular instance of the notion expressed by the noun.

Andrew was the first to break the silence.

The silence in the room was oppressive.

The light was shaded; his mother was sitting in the corner of the room.

3.The definite article is also found with substantivized adjectives denoting abstract notions: the ordinary, the average, the beautiful, the unusual, the supernatural, the extravagant, the unknown, the regrettable, the normal, the unbearable, etc..

"You shouldn't think you're something out ofthe ordinary, "she said.

"Do you believe in the supernatural?" he asked.

To this group also belong nouns always used with the definite article as the present, the past, the future, the singular, the plural:

He is certain nothing will happen in the near future.

He told strange stories of the past.

Note. Mark the difference in meaning between the expressions in future (надалі), i.e. from this time on, and in the future (у майбутньому), i.e. after a certain period of time passes.

I hope in future you’ll be more careful.

Everybody thinks he will find a good job in the future.

4. Abstract nouns can be used with the indefinite article. In this case the abstract noun denotes a certain kind (відтінок) of a quality, feeling, state, etc. The noun nearly always has a descriptive attribute:

There was a reflective silence.

There wasa bitterness in her voice.

5.Sometimes an uncountable abstract noun is used with an at­tribute and yet has no article. In some cases the attribute does not bring out a special aspect of the notion expressed by the noun. The attribute may express:

v degree or extent (great, perfect, suf­ficient, huge, tremendous, immense, sheer,complete,endless, major and some others): immense joy, great success;

v time and historical periods (modern, ancient, eternal, daily, contemporary, further, final, original): modern art, further discussion, ancient history;

v national­ity (English, French, etc.): Italian music, French poetry;

v position or locality (London, world ,outside, inner, local, internal, etc.): inner vision, inside information;

v authenticity or reliability (real, genuine, authentic, symbolic, true, solid, falseand some oth­ers): real freedom, true friendship;

v social characteristic (Soviet, bour­geois, capitalist, racial, religious, etc.): racial segregation, feudal law;

v genres or trends in art (dramatic, theatrical, classical, romantic, detective, etc.): romantic prose, detective literature;

v man’s social and spiritual life (social, public, political, intellectual, spiritual, moral, mental, reasonable, personal, etc.): public recognition, human philosophy;

v man’s manner or behaviour (polite, formal, nervous, serious, etc.): nervous attitude, formal behavior;

v recurrent or going on without stopping phenomena (continual, continuous, constant, incessant, etc.): constant displeasure;

v there are also some other adjectives of different meaning (good, bad, free, critical, ordinary, plain, human, etc.): ordinary honesty, human psychology.

As these attributes do not express a special aspect, the nouns modified by them are used without any article:

I haveperfect confidence in him.

She hasgreat experience in her work.

They talked aboutmodern poetry.

It’s three o'clock byKyiv time.

Note.The definite article is used with the combinations French poetry, modern art, American literature, German philosophy if there is a descriptive attribute, as in the French poetry of the 19-th century.

6.Some nouns are never used with the indefinite article. They are nouns of verbal character denoting actions, activity, and process, such as advice, assistance, admiration, guidance, permission, progress, recognition, research, torture, work, information, approval, concern, trade(торгівля) and some others.

This rule applies also to the following nouns: weather, money, news, luck, fun, nature, health, nonsense, evidence, bliss, breeding, cunning and some others.

I am not sure whether it isgood news or bad.

He was anxiously waiting forpermission to begin his experiment.

She was makinggreat progress.

They promised Jacksonfurther assistance.

Note. Although the above mentioned nouns are never used with the indefinite article, they can be used with the definite article:

He told me ofthe progress he was making.

The news was so upsetting that she said she would not see anyone that night.

What isthe weather like today?

7. The nouns pity, shame, disgrace, pleasure, relief, comfort, disappointmentare always used with the indefinite article in the following constructions:

v in sentences with the formal it as subject when they are used as predicative of the main clause: It’s a pity. It’s a shame.

v in exclamatory sentences after what: What a disgrace!


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