I would like to know what rule tells you that in the phrase "This led to revolt and war" one does not need to put an article "a" in front of revolt and war?

I guess the above phrase is correct since I found it on wiki : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_the_Great#cite_note-Spino-9

Would the following phrase be grammatically correct: "This led to a revolt and a war". If yes, is there a difference in the meaning with the first phrase?

1 Answer 1


Well, war and revolt are often considered uncountable entities in commentaries about them happening. It is often only after the fact that they can be described as "a war" or "a revolt". In fact, omitting the article allows you to not specify if there was/were one or more wars. Applying logic to the terms, it is difficult to quantify such things, as often wars and revolts tend to be sporadic things, and largely uncountable. It is only by looking back on history that we can differentiate "a war" from "war".

To answer the second part of your question, the second option is also grammatically correct, and only differs by being more specific that "one war" and "one revolt" occurred.

Consider these similar ideas:

Widespread protesting took place yesterday...

Differs from:

A widespread protest took place yesterday...


This led to rioting throughout the city...

Differs from:

This led to a riot in the city...

  • Excellent examples. As it happens, OP's context is "revolt and war" among priestly revolutionaries and eventually violent revolutionaries. Which I think makes it pretty clear we're talking about multiple episodes of (escalating) unrest and division - none of which, in retrospect, would be significant or widespread enough individually to merit an article. Jan 16, 2014 at 18:42

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