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Hi,

While reading one of Toefl essays,my student noticed the use of the adjective " absolute";the sentence is as follows " the negative aspect to absolute loyalty to one company is that an employee may stay in one job."

At the first glance,the student thought that absolute is a verb,then he asked me if it was an adjective,we would say " to an absolute loyalty".

To me,this is what I should say "to an absolute loyalty",is it correct ?is "an" optional or because we have adjective+noun+the rest of the sentence ?
Comments  
I think there is no 'an' because 'loyalty' is an uncountable word.
Underliner's reply is correct. "Loyalty" is an uncountable noun.

The original sentence uses "absolute" as an adjective.
"To absolve" is a verb, but the connection in meaning to "absolute" seems quite remote.

Perhaps the use of "to absolute" confused the student, making him suspect the form was an infinitive.
Actually, it would be more natural to say "of absolute." (The negative aspect of absolute loyalty etc.)
Sometimes we say things like, "There is a negative aspect to it."

In all fairness, we should say that we do often use an article before an adjective which qualifies an uncountable noun:
a fine madness
an amazing ability
an unquenchable enthusiasm
a gnawing weariness
a deep hatred
a foolish pride
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Do yo mean that saying "to an absolute loyalty..." is incorrect ?so "to" here doesn't stand for infinitive,am I right ?

How about if I say " I'm looking forward to a nice weather or to nice weather " ? knowing that "weather" is uncountable noun.
everlastinghopeDo yo mean that saying "to an absolute loyalty..." is incorrect ?so "to" here doesn't stand for infinitive,am I right ?
No and yes.

You really have to pick your uncountables to find the ones which work with articles. I can't seem to come up with a rule that will work in all cases.

But "absolute" is absolutely 100% not a verb, and "to" is not the infinitive marker in this case.

You could say, "He was heir to an absolute loyalty." That is, he inherited the loyalty which his father had enjoyed as King, or as owner of the company. (the loyalty which had been shown/paid to his father by his subjects/employees)

The article doesn't work with "nice weather." Emotion: crying
Maybe a nice climate. (Maybe not. It might be countable, and therefore not an example.)

When we spotted the cabin in the distance we immediately began looking forward to a welcoming warmth.
I need to dig more about the use of the article and uncount nouns.It really confused me.

Many thanks.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Please,could you have a look at this one too : http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/AbsoluteVerbs/xlxll/post.htm

Thanks in advance.