On using the letter "a" before another word


Hi,

In writing long english texts I frequently encounter a minor but bothering hesitation on using the letter "a" before another word. Examples:

There is mild infection/There is a mild infection

He has serious problem/He has a serious problem

There is natural disaster/There is a natural disaster

The incident became chronicle/The incident became a chronicle

My question: is there any grammatrical rule that settles this issue?

Thanks

Hello, Hus - and welcome to English Forums.

These are correct:

There is mild infection/There is a mild infection

He has a serious problem

There is a natural disaster

The incident became a chronicle

My question: is there any grammatrical rule that settles this issue?-- With noncount nouns (your first sentence), you omit the article unless reclassification occurs ('a mild infection'). In the other cases, they are all countable nouns and require the article.
Hi,

Have you studied countable and uncountable nouns?

Some nouns can be both, depending on the writer's meaning.


Hi,

In writing long english texts I frequently encounter a minor but bothering hesitation on using the letter "a" before another word. Examples:

There is mild infection OK, / There is a mild infection OK

He has serious problem NO /He has a serious problem OK

There is natural disaster OK /There is a natural disaster OK

The incident became chronicle NO /The incident became a chronicle OK, but an awkward thing to say. A chronicle suggests many incidents.

My question: is there any grammatrical rule that settles this issue?

Here are some basic guidelines.http://esl.about.com/od/grammarforbeginners/a/g_cucount.htm

Clive

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thanks a lot Clive,

The link you provided, particularly the paragraph on "Adjectives with countable and uncountable nouns", is quite useful and informative. It strikes me that while I am always aware for the case of countable and uncountable nouns I missed the rule that also applies for their adjectives.
Thank you Mr Micawber for your reply. Yours, together with that of Clive and particularly the attached link, has resolved the issue nicely and neatly.