Can we put 'a' in front of uncountable nouns like love, hate, peace?

  • There seems to be a common belief that you can't use articles with abstract nouns, but it's not true. Really uncountable nouns don't take articles or quantifiers (like "a sand" or "one ice") but love, hate and peace are not uncountable nouns. You can have a great love or an intense hate or an uneasy peace. – stangdon Sep 21 '16 at 11:44

If you modify a noun with an article (the, a, an), it basically alters the meaning from general to specific.

"Book" means "book as a general entity.

"A book" means "one book out of several"

"The book" means "a specific example of book as a general entity"

In the case of the non-countable nouns you've listed above, the inclusion of an article conveys the exact same idea.

"Love" means "love as a general concept"

"A love" means "one example of the concept of love"

"The love" means "a specific example of the concept of love"


"Peace is worth fighting for"
This is a general statement about "peace".

"A peace that is worth fighting for"
This statement suggests that the speaker has a specific view of what he considers peace. He is saying, "Of all the different types or interpretations of peace there are, I think this one is worth fighting for.

In the case

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  • In the case ... what? Is there a difference between altering and basically altering? How does a general entity differ from an entity? Similarly, how does a general concept differ from a concept? – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Sep 21 '16 at 6:50

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