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Hi,

Maybe I really shouldn't delve too deeply into the topic of changing an uncountable noun into a countable noun but since I see them every so often in print, I want to ask you.

A person or two (think one person is Yankee) seem to have said that I have to find the words or things that can be categorized by types or degree and when you see an uncountable noun with an indefinite article, it is in fact pointing to a type or a particular instance of that thing or word.

Yankee gave these setence for me to think about:

Their was a love so deep that ...

I doubt that I'll ever again experience a darkness as profound as the darkness of that night.

Great but sometimes I do encounter words or things that do not seem to be susceptible to categorization by degree or in types, like the ones below. I want to say that I am not sure they are correct. I kind of made them up.

A democritization of a third-world nation is something to be highly praised.

A modernization of their equipment is an effort that is highly backed by the populace.

The words democritization and modernization seem to be unlikely candidates for this type of categorization that will enable them to make the transition noted. What I have done? Did I categorize them into types or mentioned specific types of them? I am not sure I did. Do you have some tips for me to see better of the things involved here?
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I think it may be because we do not easily conceive of more than one kind of democratization or modernization, Believer. (And I may be anticipating George Bush in that remark.). You have noticed, I presume, that the will work nicely in both of your sentences.

In such cases, if you make a bit more effort to distinguish types, you may have more success: A democratization which does not include universal suffrage is no democratization at all.
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Thank you, Mr. M.

I think I used the phrase "pushed for a modernization for equipment" to pose the question that asked whether it refers to an instance of transforming an uncountable noun into a countable noun and I believe CalifJim said it is so.

Hmm, it doesn't seem to be an instance of a categorization by types as explicitly and convincingly as your example is.

Let me ask some questions on the phrase I used and not on yours.

The phrase I used: pushed for a modernization for equipment

Q1: Would you say eventhough the phrase doesn't seem to exhibit the quality of the categorization by a type, the whole context would had provided the necessary justification for its use of 'a' instead of not using it?

Q2: Is it a requirement that the justification for an "indefinite article" usage must be communicated to the possible (or anticipated) readers when a person writes the sentence with such phrases like"a modernization of or for something"?

SORRY IF MY QUESTIONS AREN'T CLEAR.
Q1-- I don't think there is such a thing as 'providing the necessary justification'; if it works, it works. Here it works, and we presume that the speaker has more than one stream of modernization in mind.

Q2-- Again, to my mind there is no 'requirement', just reasonability of the assumption, no matter how vague it may be.

Sorry if my answers are not clear; I don't believe the topic itself can be clearly resolved.
Thank you, Mr. M.

Let me indulge in my questioning again. The phrase we are dealing with is "pushed for a modernization of equipment."

So, what you are saying is when a person chooses to make an uncountable noun countable, only thing (sorry, I am not trying get any definite answer from you) that really matter is how that person is thinking at the moment of writing the phrase, whether he or she has more than one stream of modernization in mind or as GG has implied (as I saw it as) that there are several steps that COULD take to modernize and the person is choosing which one to push for (install??). And the wording doesn't have to be clear but just be reasonable in his or her assumption.

Q1: Who is deciding on the reasonability of the assumption made by the writer? Is the person the writer himself?

The tread I asked a similar question with the same phrase is "Why all the 'As'."

Let me go back to what you said to a similar question (as I think it is). You said this on the tread titled 'question on usage of article'.

1-- Most nouns have the potential to being both countable and uncountable.

2-- However, this potential is not equally viable for all nouns; in many instances, it requires a very specific situation for this to happen. Most nouns, as you know from your dictionary, are primary one or the other.

3-- the writer/speaker makes the choice, but it is not a free option if the wishes to communicate effectively.

From what you wrote so far, I gather that when a person chooses to change an uncountable noun into a countable one, the mutual understanding of the change in a reasonable degree should exist and it is not enough for the writer alone to think it as reasonable and put forth this reasonability onto his sentences.

Q2: Are you saying when a person chooses to change an uncountable noun into a countable noun, a reasonable?? and mutual understanding of the change doesn't have to exist but only his unilateral assumption of the reasonability on the change is needed for the change to be valid?

Let me write a sentence here which I used to pose a question in another thread.

This step will likely arequire a special adult assistance from sombody you know.

HERE, I think a might serve well, although it may not be absolutely necessary. When I wrote this sentence, I was thinking the assistance in this case to be a special kind of assistance but a knowledgeable person who responded to my question didn't think that way and said to him a isn't necessary (I think that is what he said).

Q3: Can my perception of it as a type of assistance prevail and make my sentence valid, no matter how vague it might be?
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Q1-- Both speaker and listener decide on the reasonability, and they may come to different conclusions.

Q2-- Obviously the speaker decides what he wants to say first. The decision is validated by the listener's acceptance and understanding. Remember that in the worst case, the listener merely thinks there has been a slip of the tongue, a typographical error, or poor grammar use. I doubt that lives have been lost. As you mentioned, your knowledgeable friend merely said the article was 'unnecessary'-- no great tragedy.

Q3-- Again, it is not a matter of final validation. A listener may or may not agree with your usage or think as you think. I can only point you back to my three statements from another thread which you have roughly quoted above.