Tell me please why an article is dropped after "of" in the following sentence.

Studies indicate that many patient and doctors are uncomfortable with the idea of having cost-of-care factor into end-of-life decisions"

The word "factor" is a countable noun, so an article is supposed to be there, but it is not.

  • 5
    factor in this case is a verb Jan 16, 2018 at 15:01
  • But why is "the" dropped before the word "cost" then? Like: having the cost of care factor... Jan 16, 2018 at 16:51
  • Because "cost" is an uncountable noun. Jan 16, 2018 at 17:58
  • @CanadianYankee - both "cost-of-care" and "end-of-life" look like healthcare jargon to me. Here in the UK, EOLC is End of Life Care.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 16, 2018 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


As StoneyB says, in this particular sentence factor (or factor into) is the verb

factor (v): to consider or include (something) in making a judgment or calculation, The company would have made a lot of money, but they neglected to factor the rising cost of the raw materials into their business model.

However, it is possible to rewrite the sentence using factor as a noun:

Studies indicate that many patient and doctors are uncomfortable with the idea of having the cost-of-care factor (be) a part of end-of-life decisions"

Here, of course, the article is required. Plus it's kind of a clumsy sentence. Both mean more or less the same thing, so whether you choose the noun or the verb is a question of style, not substance.

  • Is there "to" missing there? Like "They are uncomfortable with the idea of having to factor the cost of care into end of life decisions." does that make sense? Jan 16, 2018 at 16:59
  • @DmytroO'Hope That would be fine, but it would change "factor" back to the verb. "Cost-of-care factor" is a compound noun.
    – Andrew
    Jan 16, 2018 at 18:38
  • 2
    @DmytroO'Hope This having is not the quasi-modal have to but "experiential" have, which takes a bare infinitival clause as its complement. For instance, "I had (=*experienced*) lightning strike my house". (And the passive version of the complement clause omits the infinitive auxiliary be: "I had my house struck by lightning.") Jan 16, 2018 at 23:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .