It may be winter, dark and cold, but the village of Taft will be in festive mood on December 18th.” “Ladies and Gentlemen, according to long-standing tradition

From English collocations in use (Advanced) by Felicity O’Dell, P50;U23.

“Long standing tradition” and “festive mood” are countable nouns; however, in these examples, they are used without articles. Could someone please explain why?

1 Answer 1


I'll start with tradition. It can be both countable and uncountable. According to Macmillan Dictionary, it is uncountable when it has the following meaning:

very old customs, beliefs, or stories, considered together

Here are a few examples from different dictionaries:

According to family tradition, Mr Thomas was a teacher.

By tradition, it’s the bride’s parents who pay for the wedding.

The move represents a break with tradition.

As for mood, the Cambridge dictionary says it can be considered both countable and uncountable, too. I agree that the indefinite article is usually expected before a singular indefinite mood. And according to other dictionaries I have used (Collins and Longman), mood is always countable. Anyway, if we say "in a festive mood", it's certainly OK. Let's attribute the lack of a before mood in your example to that rare point of view the Cambridge dictionary has noted (unless someone can give a better explanation).

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