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I was going through a quiz section at the usingenglish website and came upon a couple of questions that I was so sure of. Help.

Q1 - We need someone with ___ knowledge of Chinese.

The answer is "a good" and I want to know why that is. Why not "the good"? I think the word "knowledge" is uncountable.

Q3 - They have ____ distrust of the authorities.

The answer is "a deep." Why is that? I think the dictionary indicated that it is "aN" which I think it means a noun that usually accompanies the article "a".

Q5 - The school gave me ___ education.

The answer is "a good." Why not just "good education" without any article? I think education is a variable noun.

Q7 - She has ____ understanding of the subject.

The answer is "a good." Why not "the good" if the word "understanding" is being restricted by the phrase "of the subject"?
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Comments  
We need someone with ___ knowledge of Chinese.
It simply not proper grammar, for example,

A good idea (you are describing that the idea is good)
When you say "The good idea" its simply not proper grammar.

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They have ____ distrust of the authorities.
The answer is a deep, "a" and "an" are both the same meanings! However you use "a" before a consonants and you use "an" before a vowel, for example,

A Dog (A "d"og)
A Cat (A "c"at)

An Apple (A "A"pple)
An Orange (A "O"range)

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As for the "a good" once again its simply better english!

The word "good" is a verb, its describing the noun.

The school gave me a good education, you can only have one type of education
She has a good understanding of the subject, you can only have one type of understanding on the subject.

An alternative way of phrasing that sentence is "She has an understanding of the subject" this is showing that she has an understanding, it could be a basic understanding but has a simple understanding of the subject, by saying "good" we are saying that her understanding is good (showing that she has a better understanding rather than a simple understanding)

I hope I have explained it good for you! if you need more help let me know.

Hi Believer

In all your examples, of is not a part of the co-called of-genitive and thus does not require the.

Knowledge is an exceptional uncountable noun, it can take the indefinite article although it is never used in the plural:
He has a working knowledge of English.
I have a poor knowledge of history.

In Q3, Q5 and Q7 there is an adjectival attribute before a noun and in English such adjectives tend to bring on a or an before nouns that don't necessarily require an article in other contexts.

Cheers
CB
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There's a rule that adjectives, which describe nouns (good, sunny, green, bad, deep,&c.) - the descriptive adjectives as opposed to the limiting/restrictive ones - tend to be used with the indefinite (= limiting/descriptive adjective) article.

If it helps,

Slava
Thank you, You and Cool Breeze,

Let me, if you may permit me to do so, ask both of you (or any others willing) categorically.

1. Are the both sentences below correct?

We need someone with the good knowledge of Chinese.

We need someone with a good knowledge of Chinese.

2. Are the sentences with a mix of seemingly uncountable and variable nouns correct as they are without adjectival attributes or descriptive adjectives as you guys or gals call them? I think they can stand on their own. (They are correct as they are eventhough one sentence may sound or look awkward.)

They have distrust of authorities. (generally meant "distrust"?)

The school gave me education. (generally meant "education"?)

She has understanding of the subject. (generally meant "understamding"?)

3. I think you guys or gals propounded??that the inclusion of adjectival attributes or descriptive adjectives as have been called necessitates or more favorable to have an indefinte article "a" in front of them and I think Schetin gave several of them like "good, sunny, bad, deep, etc.).

So, is it safe to say that we can attach the indefinite article "a" in front of uncounble nouns if they are precede by decriptive or attribute adjectives like the ones Schetin gave?
Hi,

I'd like to offer some comments. I'm going to focus on your examples, and on how I think about them, and leave you to extrapolate your own rules in your own terms.

1. Are the both sentences below correct?

We need someone with the good knowledge of Chinese. No, seems wrong. There is no single 'good knowledge' of Chinese. Two people can have good knowledge of Chinese, but not necessarily the same good knowledge.

We need someone with a good knowledge of Chinese. Fine, commonly said.

2. Are the sentences with a mix of seemingly uncountable and variable nouns correct as they are without adjectival attributes or descriptive adjectives as you guys or gals call them? I think they can stand on their own. (They are correct as they are eventhough one sentence may sound or look awkward.)

They have distrust of authorities. (generally meant "distrust"?) You could say this, but I'd tend to say 'a distrust'. H'mmmm, why? I think 'distrust' by itself seems much too general for me to grasp the meaning.

The school gave me education. (generally meant "education"?) Similar to the 'distrust' comment above. The school gave me 'an education', but didn't give me all the education in the world.

She has understanding of the subject. (generally meant "understanding"?) Likewise to 'education' above.

I hope this is of some help.

Best wishes, Clive
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Thank you.

(I think I should have said "gentlemen and ladies" rather than "guys and gals" in the previous post of this thread.)

Can you kindly tell me if my further extrapolation on the matters being discussed is valid?

Here the words "distrust" and "understanding" are uncountables, I believe.

They have a distrust of authorities. (You can put the indefinite article "a" there because you are tallking about "a kind of" distrust as being limited by the phrase "of authorities." Without the subsequent phrase "of authorities," one wouldn't normally put the article "a" there -- the sentence "They have a distrust" isn't a good sentence normally.)

She has an understanding of the subject. (Again, my assertion is that here understanding is being played out as "a kind of understanding" as being specified/limited by the subsequent phrase "of the subject" and a person wouldn't normally use the phrase "an undertanding" without some subsequent limiting or specifying phrases like the one above, "of the subject." In other word, normally the sentence "She has an understanding" will not pass the test. ??)

One more thing, can you say that we can put the indefinite article "a" in front of any uncountable nouns if we meant to say "a kind of something" in each instance?
Hi,

Here the words "distrust" and "understanding" are uncountables, I believe.

They have a distrust of authorities. (You can put the indefinite article "a" there because you are tallking about "a kind of" distrust as being limited by the phrase "of authorities." Without the subsequent phrase "of authorities," one wouldn't normally put the article "a" there -- the sentence "They have a distrust" isn't a good sentence normally.) I agree with you.

She has an understanding of the subject. (Again, my assertion is that here understanding is being played out as "a kind of understanding" as being specified/limited by the subsequent phrase "of the subject" and a person wouldn't normally use the phrase "an undertanding" without some subsequent limiting or specifying phrases like the one above, "of the subject." In other word, normally the sentence "She has an understanding" will not pass the test. ??) I agree again.

One more thing, can you say that we can put the indefinite article "a" in front of any uncountable nouns if we meant to say "a kind of something" in each instance? Yes. She had a happiness in her heart that morning.

Best wishes, Clive
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