We need a translator with an excellent knowledge of Italian.


I want my children to have a good education.


Both knowledge and education are uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns cannot be used with the indefinte article. However, in the above examples A is used in front of both nouns. Why? Is it possible to leave the article out or to put THE in front of knowledge and education.

asked Nov 30 '12 at 11:58 Ema Kis New member

2 answers


I agree with you.  As you said, both are uncountable nouns. 

An excellent knowledge--> It is an adjective-noun combination.

a good education--->It is an adjective-noun combination.


We must use an indefinite article "a" or "an" before an adjective-noun combination.

link comment answered Nov 30 '12 at 13:34 sanjay Expert

Sanjay is right, Ema.  The adjective before the noun is what makes the difference.  When you say a "good education", there must be an alternative: a bad education.  That is two types of education.  Now it is countable. 

link answered Nov 30 '12 at 16:18 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

What about the following example.

Please prepare a request for substantive examination of the application.

Examination is uncountable, there is an adjective in front of it, however it is used without an article. Why?

Ema KisDec 03 '12 at 09:56

add comment

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.