Tell me please why an article was omitted in the following sentence before the word sense.

If you're an ace at picking out fabulous fabrics, accessories, and shoes when you get dressed each morning, you probably have (a) discerning fashion sense.

It is from Vocabluary.com. I am aware that the word sense can be used as a mass noun meaning a sane and realistic attitude to situations and problems (this definition is given by the Oxford Dictionary), but It seems to me it was used there meaning a keen intuitive awareness of or sensitivity to the presence or importance of something( by the Oxford Dictionary). Tell me please If I am wrong, and If am, then why?

  • This interests me because it's obvious to me, and explainable, that there's no article with "fashion sense", but then I can't explain grammatically why we speak of an awareness. We wouldn't speak of "awarenesses", IMO. Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 11:24
  • @GreenGrassoHolm: I'd quite naturally say He has good spatial awareness without an article. It's not easy to think of a context where you might have reason to pluralise sense or awareness in such constructions, because in something like They have good dress sense, what they've got is essentially the same "sense / taste". But I can imagine that the backstory to how a couple of Marvel superheros gained their different powers of "superperception" might feasibly explain how they got their enhanced awarenesses. Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 17:00
  • I didn't mean that the indefinite article is required with "awareness", I was just observing that it's common. Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


The simple answer is that fashion sense is kind of a stock phrase usually used without an article.

When you can view a season's offerings and unerringly select not only the styles with a fashion future but those adapted to your individual requirements, you display acute fashion sense.
(Note that this page includes both "fashion sense" and "a fashion sense"!)

As a market, it functions largely through enactments of fashion sense and sensibility...

...it makes sense that shoelaces developed as a way to bring color, character, and fashion sense to the shoes

The particular meaning of sense here is probably closest to "judgement", but "fashion sense" by itself is such an idiom it's hard to define sense separately.


Not only is fashion sense a set phrase, but the noun sense in it has the meaning of the ability to make good judgments and to behave sensibly and in that meaning, it is uncountable. "You don't use the indefinite article with uncountable nouns" is the grammar rule you should follow.

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