Which grammar is correct or all correct?

I have never seen "a" snow VS I have never seen snow

I've inputted both sentences to the Google search and found results as following

I have never seen a snow (About 389,000 results)
I have never seen snow (About 95,300 results)
I have never seen the snow (About 721,000 results)

Should I need to add the article or not and why ???

The same problem has happened as the following sentences
I have never seen sea
I have never seen a sea
I have never seen the sea

1 Answer 1


I would consider that

I have never seen a snow

is technically incorrect, but could be considered an elided version of

I have never seen a snow storm (or "snowfall" or "snow shower" or the like).

I suspect that google results are distorted by the presence of forms like this in the texts being searched. I would regard

I have never seen snow.

as better than the elided form, although it is a bit ambiguous: does it mean seen any snow at all, or a fall of snow. The unelided form above is IMO better yet.

A comment asks about the use of "the snow" whoich was not in the original question.

I have never seen the snow.

seems at least dubious if not wrong. "the snow" should mean some particular or specific snow, but none is specified or implied. Additional context might make this work. This construction could i suppose be used with "the snow" meaning snow in general, in parallel to

I have never seen the sea.

But that construction, while very common with certain specific nouns ("the sea", "the moon", "the world", "the flesh", "the marketplace") is not normally used more generally. This seems a matter of practice, i can't see a clear rule for where this sort of use of "the" is acceptable.

Of course "the snow" can and should be used relating to particular snow:

  • The snow was five feet deep.
  • The snow blew in from the north.

but that is a quite different form.

  • I think that would be great if you add a little bit of explanation regarding the snow. Thanks.
    – Cardinal
    May 24, 2019 at 2:15
  • @Cardinal how is this?
    – David Siegel
    May 24, 2019 at 2:28
  • Hi @DavidSiegel thanks for your help, I am confusing about the article grammar so that when I need to add a article, or not. thanks
    – willie
    May 24, 2019 at 2:38
  • Thank you, I've always been so excited to read about articles. So, whenever a related question pops up, I think about the possible reasons of why or why not a specific article was used and then compare my reasons with the ones given in the the answers.
    – Cardinal
    May 24, 2019 at 2:57
  • 2
    @willie I have never heard of "UNACCOUNT" in grammar, nor does Google show any relevant results. Do you mean that these are not countable nouns? actually they can be, but not in the usual usage. But there is no rule against using both in a sentence. "The sea was gray and hostile, but the snow blurred it and made it seem more friendly." If that isn't what you mean, please explain more fully..
    – David Siegel
    May 27, 2019 at 2:18

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