In a sentence like "They go on strike for better wages" or "They are on strike", do you put "a" before the "strike"?

My dictionary has both "go on strike" and "go on a strike", and it says the latter is American English. However, my American friend says he doesn't put "a" with "go on", or even with just plain "on". I'm wondering if what my dictionary says is regional or just wrong.

Nobuko Iwasaki
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In a sentence like "They go on strike for better wages" or "They are on strike", do you put "a" ... "go on", or even with just plain "on". I'm wondering if what my dictionary says is regional or just wrong.

I don't think the dictionary is wrong...it's describing a kind of relatively "standard" or more widely used way to express that.

Regent
In a sentence like "They go on strike for better wages" or "They are on strike", do you put "a" ... "go on", or even with just plain "on". I'm wondering if what my dictionary says is regional or just wrong.

"go on strike" is American AFAIK. "go on a strike" conveys the same meaning, but sounds very awkward to my US ear.

Wake
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"iwasaki" (Email Removed) wrote on 05 Mar 2004:
In a sentence like "They go on strike for better wages" or "They are on strike", do you put "a" ... "go on", or even with just plain "on". I'm wondering if what my dictionary says is regional or just wrong.

I'd say your dictionary was wrong. I don't use "a" in either instance.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Regent (Email Removed) wrote on 05 Mar 2004:
In a sentence like "They go on strike for better ... if what my dictionary says is regional or just wrong.

I don't think the dictionary is wrong...it's describing a kind of relatively "standard" or more widely used way to express that.

You aren't a native American-speaker, are you. In my60 years of readin, writing, and speaking American English, I've never seen or heard that expression used. "They called a strike", perhaps, but never "go on a strike", only "go on a picnic".

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
I don't think the dictionary is wrong...it's describing a kind of relatively "standard" or more widely used way to express that.

You aren't a native American-speaker, are you. In my60 years of readin, writing, and speaking American English, I've never seen or heard that expression used. "They called a strike", perhaps, but never "go on a strike", only "go on a picnic".

Well, you're right Emotion: smile
The thing to note is, it's meaningless to discuss if saying it is grammatically correct.. We're talking about HOW you express that meaning. However, "go on a strike" in Google returns 5,980,000 hits.

Regent
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Regent (Email Removed) wrote on 05 Mar 2004:
Well, you're right Emotion: smile The thing to note is, it's meaningless to discuss if saying it is grammatically correct..

No one has said that "go on a strike" is grammatically incorrect. It isn't grammatically incorrect; it's grammatically perfect but idiomatically incorrect American.
We're talking about HOW you express that meaning.

The "how" of expressing something depends on whether there is an idiomatic way of expressing it. Any good American editor would delete the "a" in "The went on a strike" because it is not idiomatic American, not because it is grammatically wrong (it isn't).
However, "go on a strike" in Google returns 5,980,000 hits. Regent

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Well, you're right Emotion: smile The thing to note is, it's meaningless to discuss if saying it is grammatically correct.. We're talking about HOW you express that meaning. However, "go on a strike" in Google returns 5,980,000 hits. Regent

When I tried to search Google using "go on a strike" (in quotes), I got 792 hits, most from outside the U.S. (from India, mostly). I'm aware that Google numbers have shown variation in the past, but I am dubious about such a disparity.
From the viewpoint of this U.S. speaker, "go on a strike" meaning the same as "go on strike" is almost never used. I only say "almost" because I spotted a few U.S. uses on Google, but I have not myself ever heard or seen it used before today.

rzed
rzed (Email Removed) wrote on 05 Mar 2004:
Well, you're right Emotion: smile The thing to note is, it's ... "go on a strike" in Google returns 5,980,000 hits. Regent

When I tried to search Google using "go on a strike" (in quotes), I got 792 hits, most from outside the U.S. (from India, mostly). I'm aware that Google numbers have shown variation in the past, but I am dubious about such a disparity.

I searched it without the quotes and got the 5,980,000 hits, but that's because "on" and "a" were excluded from the search string, so any site that had the words "go" and "strike" on the same Web page showed up, as in "Roadways Petrol pumps *go** dry as **strike* enters third day" (emphasis added).
The dude don't know how to yuze google, do he.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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