2

I have two questions.

  1. If It snowed last night, and I want to ask my friend if he/she saw it.

So, here are some expressions I came up with.

"Did you see it snowed last night?"

"Did you see (the) snow last night?"

"Did you see (the) snow falling last night?"

"Did you see (the) snow fall last night?"

Which one is the most natural?

  1. When I describe a noun form of snow, do I have to put 'the' before snow?

Thank you in advance.

2

Unless you are using the word "snow" as an abstract concept, or as a shorthand substitute for "snow storm," you should assume that it is an "uncountable noun" and designate it with the definite article the.

Few issues trouble English language learners more frequently and persistently than article usage. A clear explanation may be had from the Writing Center at Boise State University - http://writingcenter.boisestate.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2011/09/Articles.pdf

Non-count nouns can be broken down into two groups: mass nouns and abstract nouns.

A mass noun refers to something that can’t be broken into countable parts and does not form plurals (water, hair, information).

Abstract nouns refer to concepts (contentment, beauty, peace).

Non-count nouns may take the definite article (The water is hot. The soft light really brings out the beauty in this painting). But non-count nouns do not take the indefinite articles a or an.

The folks at Boise State can be trusted to know about article usage. They can also be trusted to know a lot about snow.

0
  1. Use any. I'd say "Did you see any snow?", but any one of those you listed works. You could also say "Did you see snow".

  2. You can't say "a snow". Snow falls into the weird category of nouns which is plural, but you can't assign a specific number to it. Therefore you can't say "a snow", because that implies that there is only one snow, which doesn't happen, as you cannot count snow, similarly to how you cannot say "I want three wood." Therefore you just say "the snow" or "three pieces of snow" if you really need to.

Of course, "Snow" can also be a verb, and therefore you can say "That was quite a snow we had", but its not that formal.

  • Then When I say "Did you see the snow?", can I leave out "the"? – user227026 Nov 26 '17 at 13:29
  • 1
    Re: 'You can't say "a snow"'. That was quite a snow we had last night! – Mark Beadles Nov 26 '17 at 16:54
  • +Mark Beadles In the example you're giving, snow is a verb. Ill edit my answer appropriately ASAP, though. – Vincent Bechmann Nov 26 '17 at 19:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy