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Grammaly told me that the "a" in the following sentence is unnecessary and it suggested I remove it:

The surface of the guitar was (a) gleaming white.

Is Grammaly correct? Why or why not?

Note: I searched for "surface was white" and "surface was a gleaming white." I got results in both cases.

Update based on my comment below:

To me, "was gleaming white" sounds like the object is casting a white gleam. "Was a gleaming white" sounds like the object is white, the gleaming type. Am I wrong?

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    Why do you think "a gleaming white" is correct in this context? I would say the a is optional but am curious if you have any specific reason for believing it should be there.
    – Mixolydian
    May 22, 2019 at 15:37
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    @Mixolydian To me, "was gleaming white" sounds like the object is casting a white gleam. "was a gleaming white" sounds like the object is white, the gleaming type. Am I wrong?
    – wyc
    May 22, 2019 at 15:45
  • alexchenco I agree with what you're saying as well as @lorel-c's answer. "gleaming" does sound like it could be a verb without the "a".
    – Mixolydian
    May 22, 2019 at 15:57

1 Answer 1

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In this case, I don't think you should remove the article. "The surface of the guitar was a gleaming white." sounds fine to me: What kind of white was the guitar? It was a gleaming white. Nothing wrong with that, grammatically or idiomatically.

The sentence would also be ok without the a, but it could be momentarily confusing, as it makes "gleaming" sound like it could be a verb (with its subject being guitar), instead of a modifier of "white" -- like the guitar was "gleaming" or sparkling.

So I say, yes, you are right. Disregard Grammarly in this particular case.

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  • "The surface of the guitar was pitch black", is equivelant to "The surface of the guitar was gleaming white", which is fine.
    – Clearer
    May 22, 2019 at 20:51

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