Generally in "of phrases' the definite article is used. For example:

Mike has the charm of a good artist.

Although "charm" is an uncountable noun, it is defined by "an artist", so it must take the article. But I have come across some uncountable nouns, which are too modified in a way, which do not require using " the".
For example:

Robert has control of Mike.
Kate has command of English.

Is there any way to feel or work out when articles should be omitted?

  • 1
    A person is a person. X has control of [a or the person], of John, of Mike. And "Kate has command of the English" would make Kate a field commander or military person.
    – Lambie
    Aug 19, 2017 at 15:27
  • 1
    You're simply mistaken if you think "charm" is [always] an uncountable noun. In your specific context it can't be uncountable, because it's preceded by the definite article the. This pragmatically implies there must be other [types of] charm besides the kind that good artists have, which clearly doesn't match the definition uncountable nouns are substances, concepts etc that we cannot divide into separate elements. It would be different in, say, Mike has charm, but that's not the same construction. Aug 19, 2017 at 18:09
  • @FumbleFingers Following your logic, the water in the sentence The water in the lake was clean and cool is countable, isn't it? I doubt that— The water in the lakes was clean and cool. Aug 19, 2017 at 18:21
  • These comments are way over the head of someone who doesn't speak English well.
    – Ringo
    Aug 19, 2017 at 23:20
  • @Lambie OP is wondering about these possibilities: Robert has the control of Mike. Kate has the command of English.
    – Ringo
    Aug 19, 2017 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


The reason you use the definite article in "Mike has the charm of a good artist" is because you are specifying the charm that Mike has, rather than charm in general. It's not countable, but it is still specified which charm.

A very commonly used version of this use is "the voice of an angel." You can say "Mike has charm" (an unspecified amount or type) too.

You could actually say "Kate has the command of English," or "Robert has the command of Mike," but to my ear it would sound like you are describing a temporary situation rather than a general sense of relationship.

  • You are wrong—neither has control of nor has command of is a phrasal verb. In both cases the words after has are nouns. Moreover, there is no explanation in your answer just tautology. Aug 19, 2017 at 20:57

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