Unit 2.1

Articles with Abstract Nouns

Nouns

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Introduction

Abstract nouns are nouns that refer to intangible things.

Abstract nouns fall into two classes: countables and uncountables.

Form

Countable abstract nouns in singular form are used with the indefinite or definite article, and in plural form they are used without any article or with the definite article. The use of articles with countable abstract nouns does not differ from their use with countable concrete nouns.

Uncountable abstract nouns usually don’t follow any article.

The most commonly used abstract nouns are: complexity, truth…

Example

  • The complexities of communism are hard to understand. (Countable)
    I was shocked by the complexity of his problems. (Uncountable)
  • She is a scientist, she tells the universal truths. (Countable)
    There is no truth in her story. (Uncountable)
  • She doesn’t understand where this feeling of anger comes from. (Abstract noun indicating a certain kind of feeling)

Use

Many abstract nouns can have both countable and uncountable form.

We use:

  • countable form to refer to a particular meaning;
  • uncountable form to refer to a general meaning.

We usually don’t use any article with abstract nouns, but we use definite articles when:

  • the situation makes the idea definite;
  • definite article indicates a certain kind of quality, feeling, state…

Summary

Abstract nouns fall into two classes: countables and uncountables.

  • 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.

Many abstract nouns have a countable form, which has a particular meaning, as well as an uncountable form, which has a general meaning.

For example:
“She made clever comments about my article.” = As an abstract noun, comment is used as a countable noun.
“There was a lot of comment about Princess Diana’s death.” = In this sentence, comment is used as an uncountable noun.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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