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There was chaise longue at the end of the dressing room, and Clea crept to it now and lay down, pulling her knees up to her chin. (Clea & Zeus Divorce by Emily Prager,p.54)

I don’t find out why there isn’t any article before a countable noun, chaise longue. I suspect a definite or indefinite article could be not required when there should be one referent and it’s not worth to establish particular identity or reference between speaker and addressee. But I bet it’s only a groundless imagination. Why isn’t there any article?
(Can this between speaker and addressee be used without articles? I guess it could be for it's a matched nouns.)

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I think it's simply an error in the text - there should be an article there. –  Nigel Harper May 1 at 11:36

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

It looks plain wrong to me.

There may be exceptions to this rule, but:

  • Countable nouns (like "chaise longue", "book", and "Yeti") need an article (or another determiner).
  • Uncountable nouns (like "archaeology", "information", and "terror") don't need one, and often shouldn't have one.

Right:

There was a chaise longue at the end of the dressing room.

There was a book at the end of the dressing room.

There was a Yeti at the end of the dressing room.

There was archaeology at the end of the dressing room.

Wrong:

There was chaise longue at the end of the dressing room.

There was book at the end of the dressing room.

There was Yeti at the end of the dressing room.

There was an information at the end of the dressing room.

Right, but only because some words, like "cake", can be used countably or uncountably:

There was cake at the end of the dressing room.

There was a cake at the end of the dressing room.

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To clarify the "cake" issue: "There was cake" means that some amount of cake was present or available (such as to eat). There could be whole, partial, or sliced cake(s). "There was a cake" means someone baked a complete cake and placed it somewhere (at least initially, whole). "There were cakes" would mean that there were at least two more or less whole cakes present. –  Phil Perry May 1 at 14:01
2  
I wouldn't include "cake" in the initial list; if you wanted, a third section of just "cake" working both ways could be good, but in the first list I'd use an always-uncountable noun. Start with the basics, get to weird cases like "cake" later. –  KRyan May 1 at 16:25

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