since the inception of the iPod we have seen numerous audio formats come to market yet only a select few of them have been adopted on a mass scale.

(Source: What is the best audio format? - Audiophile On)

Why it says "market" not "the market" or "a market"?

As far as I know the word "market" is a countable noun and the Oxford dictionary does not mention it as uncountable noun.


3 Answers 3


The word market here is not referring to a physical place. Instead, it's an abstract.

Of course, in that sense, it won't take any article.

Had it been a physical place, it would have been -

There is a market in sector 15.


"Come to market" is an idiomatic phrase meaning "go on sale to the general public". It doesn't mean that the phones have come to markets, i.e., been moved into position in shops, markets and other places where they're sold.

  • It doesn't mean that the phones have come to markets That is sort of what it means though, just not as literally. But you are right that it's grammatically not exactly the same, it has shifted from the literal meaning to a more abstract meaning.
    – Flater
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 11:57
  • There's a lot of well-known prepositional phrases where the noun doesn't take an article. In bed, at bad, with child, etc.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 21:30

According to Oxford Dictionary, can be:



  1. A regular gathering of people for the purchase and sale of provisions, livestock, and other commodities.

    1.1 An open space or covered building where vendors convene to sell their goods.

  2. An area or arena in which commercial dealings are conducted.

    2.1 A demand for a particular commodity or service.

    2.2 The state of trade at a particular time or in a particular context.

    2.3 The free market.

    2.4 A stock market.

The 1 definition is the market where you go to buy groceries, maybe, or tuna, whatever. The physical place.

The number 2, is one of those words which, at least in European languages, are hard to define. Culture (anthropology), being (philosophy), conscience (psychology), market (economics) are words you will definitely find listed in dictionaries, but even then they don't provide a good grasp of the concept, because those are highly abstract.

Market as in 2 are the exchanges, properties, transactions, speculations, fluctuations, and trades that happen in a society where there is estimation of material value (which doesn't in indigenous societies, for example). The invisible hand.

Thus, being this abstract, congregative concept that is the market, it can be used as uncountable. However, it can also be countable, as it could be said that there is only one market (because of globalization), which makes the use of "the market" viable; in the same token, in monotheist religions, "God" can be referred to with simply "God" or "the God", after all, for them, there is only god, which makes the former option more natural sounding.

So, it is not like market is countable but treated as uncountable. Both "market" or "the market" are possible; choose the most natural sounding according to the context/phrase.

PS: "a market" is also possible, albeit strange. E.g.:

— So, can someone point out a market that is highly unstable?

— The cryptocurrency market!

  • There is no general rule that allows omitting an article before an "abstract, congregative concept". We can't say "health of global market" or "Economists study market." "Come to market" is correct simply because it's an idiom. (And for anarthrous "God", that's just because those uses are as a proper noun.)
    – aschepler
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 13:12
  • @aschepler But we can say “The product which came to market.”, simply so.
    – user72770
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 14:56

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