The development of popular education since the beginning of the century has been rapid. People have gradually begun to realize the value of a good education.

In this text, popular education has no article, and good education has the article a.

The dictionary says education is an uncountable noun. Please explain the article in a good education.

1 Answer 1


When you talk about one example of a particular type of an uncountable noun, it is possible to use an article with it.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, cheese is normally uncountable, but if you refer to one example of a particular type of cheese, you can also treat it as countable:

a cow's milk cheese

When you apply good to something, you are talking about a particular type of whatever-it-is, so you can treat it as countable:

A man can make a good cheese with 44% moisture; but I don't care if it is 44% or 34%, if it hasn't got the flavor and quality, you cannot sell it. - Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers' Association

Note that there are other situations when a normally uncountable noun can be countable: see the link I provided above for more examples.

  • The dictionary says ‘conscience’ can be both countable and uncountable noun. Then when it should be written with article ‘a’? “The best equipment ... is a conscience, common sense and health. ... Concience makes us ...” Jun 12, 2018 at 13:47
  • @YounSunWoo, When you are talking about a person's conscience but not any person in particular, it's countable and it gets a determiner. When you are talking about conscience as an abstract concept, it is not countable. The sentence that you quoted contains examples of both.
    – JavaLatte
    Jun 14, 2018 at 2:44

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