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Hello! A lot of uncountable nouns are said to only be used as uncountable in dictionaries. But quite many exceptions have got to me a lot, so I'm dead confused. Some examples are below:

1. Man gradually achieved 'A' greater mastery over his enviroment.
(hope to compare with this:
She possesses complete technical mastery of her instrument.)

2. There was 'A' rawness in the air that suggested snow.
(This is taken from one of works by W.S. Maugham)

3. He thought I had 'A' (an adjective was here, but I can't remember it) intelligence.
(I read this in an article)

There will be, of course, even more examples like these cases.
My dictionaries show that the indefinite article "a" is used when uncountable nouns are used with adjectives, but this explanation doesn't help me understand the reason.

My opinion is the indefinite article is like 'some' in this case, but it makes uncountable nouns much more concrete, or less abstract, than 'some' does. I mean, the uncountable noun modified by 'A' seems to be turned into nouns which we could think have shapes, or some boundness in mind, or something like a glass of water or a bottle of bear and so forth.

I'm looking forward to getting nice answers. Thanks in advance.
Comments  
AnonymousMy dictionaries show that the indefinite article "a" is used when uncountable nouns are used with adjectives, but this explanation doesn't help me understand the reason.
It is called 'reclassification'. An adjective 'reclassifies' an uncountable concept into a countable set of the concept. For instance, 'a greater mastery' by gaining the adjective becomes one of several potential 'masteries': 'a greater mastery', 'a lesser mastery', 'a small mastery', etc.
Mister MicawberAn adjective 'reclassifies' an uncountable concept into a countable set of the concept.
I suspected the indefinite article should have that kind of function.
I'm not that wide of it. Emotion: smile Did you think all of the indefinite articles
in the examples are going this way?

Here is another: if other uncountable nouns like the below -
The house is not in (a) good condition.
He had A real enthusiasm for the work.
There was (a) poor attendance at the meeting.
are used with or without the indefinite article,
is there any difference in any viewpoints, or nothing at all?

I've read other threads and someone said the indefinite article puts emphasis
on the following noun.
- that could be peculiarity, speciality, specificity, exceptionality and so on.
You're on this side?
If so, I'd like you to show some more examples with proper situations.

The articles in English are hard to understand!
I hope you would help me out.
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AnonymousDid you think all of the indefinite articlesin the examples are going this way?
Yes.
Anonymoussomeone said the indefinite article puts emphasison the following noun.- that could be peculiarity, speciality, specificity, exceptionality and so on.
This is just another way of explaining reclassification: it creates a set of individual instances from an amorphous quality.
Non-count nouns can be concrete (coffee, furniture, clothing), obviously abstract (silence, hunger, space) or apparently somewhere in between (fog, fire). (Note that many of these nouns can also be used as count nouns - two coffees / furnitures of the 17th and 18th centuries... .) I agree that using an article with a non-concrete non-count noun adds a connotation of concreteness. Three fires; two pauses; a long silence. What is happening is that we are focusing more on a particular instance (a fire was raging in Fall's Forest) rather than the general concept (silence is golden). Obviously, care needs to be taken to use the article or other determiner appropriately:

Fire broke out in the forest. / A fire broke out in the forest. / Three fires broke out in the forest.
Fire is dangerous. / ??A fire is dangerous.
Space is vast. / *A space is vast.
A space is used to show the start or finish of a word. / *Space is used to show the start or finish of a word.
*A furniture was scattered about the room. / A furniture such as mid-Georgian would complement the decor in the salon.
Thanks! That helps me a lot! Emotion: smile

I think you could give me an answer to this:
Here is another: if other uncountable nouns like the below -
The house is not in (a) good condition.
He had A real enthusiasm for the work.
There was (a) poor attendance at the meeting.
are used with or without the indefinite article,
is there any difference in any viewpoints, or nothing at all?

Having read your post, I'm kind of understanding the difference between an 'A' used or not
is just the level of emphasis, right?
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Anonymous A furniture such as mid-Georgian would complement the decor in the salon.
Anonymous furnitures of the 17th and 18th centuries...
Wow, I really didn't know that 'furniture' can also be used as countable, though in a few exceptional cases.
I'm so happy to have another good examples. Emotion: smile Thanks!