All examples, except the last one, are from Longman dictionary

  1. A factor analysis identified ten significant factors affecting women’s rights.
  2. A structural analysis showed that the roof was sound.
  3. A detailed economic analysis of the plant’s conversion to gas power
  4. A sensitivity analysis will improve the quality of the final decision
  5. Competitive analysis is a powerful tool in formulating a strategy
  6. Phonological analysis also interacts with syntactic and semantic analysis
  7. Ratio analysis can provide a useful snapshot of a company’s finances.
  8. The results were subjected to econometric analysis.

I have also checked the Ngram statistics using econometric analysis as an example and found no-article is adopted much more frequently. But in my understanding, the first time introducing new information, articles should be used. Can you explain to me the differences and retionals behind the choices?

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1 Answer 1


Great Question!

In your sentence 8 econometric analysis can be a mass (uncountable plural) noun, and plural nouns do not need to have an article. (Source: Grammarly)

Econometric Analysis is a description of a process to obtain a collection of measurements that are being sought. Typically that process involves multiple different approaches which is why when we use a general statement regarding analysis it is usually a mass noun indicating a collection of different individal analytical tasks.

Confusingly you could also say 'an' econometric analysis or, if it was clear in context, 'the' econometric analysis ... as I said, great question!

  • Thank you for your reply. I've been writing my paper recently, so this question is a summary (or explosion) of my accumulated confusions. Can you explain a little bit more why economic analysis, as shown in #3, is not treated as a mass noun...as far as I see, the analyses in #1,2,3,4 are all not very specific, and individually include a number of measurements. Can they also be treated as mass nouns and used without articles?
    – Elizabeth
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 8:52
  • @Elizabeth yes, they could be treated as mass nouns and used without articles - but the writer chose not to treat as such in 1,2,3 and 4. This is why it is a great question Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 10:33

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