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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Articles    

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Ann_85
Russian Federation

Articles
 
Dear colleguaes!
 
How to explain to students why we say "good behaviour" not using the indefinite article but we use the indefinite article in the phrase "a first-class knowledge", though both knowledge and behaviour are uncountable abstract nouns?
 
Many thanks beforehand!  

23 Aug 2016      



yanogator
United States

Ann, 
Would you please use "a first-class knowledge" in a sentence? It doesn īt seem right to me, but I can īt quite imagine how you would use it.
Thanks,
Bruce 

23 Aug 2016     



Ann_85
Russian Federation

Thank you, Bruce for your answer. But I read in a grammar book such a sentence : "She has a first-class knowledge of British law".  

24 Aug 2016     



yanogator
United States

Hey, Alex. This sounds like the kind of thing you would explain well. It seems to me to be just an anomaly of English.
 
Bruce 

24 Aug 2016     



redcamarocruiser
United States

I agree with Bruce. Without a context it sounds strange. This site says that there is a list of words that relate to mental processes and feelings which require the indefinite article. So, I guess it is a case by case memorization task, as with so many practices in English.
 
 

24 Aug 2016     



Ann_85
Russian Federation

Many thanks for your help, dear colleagues! I found the links very useful. Once again "Thank you very much"!

24 Aug 2016