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According to the dictionary definitions, the word "Savagary" can be either a countable or an uncountable noun. I was wondering if using the article "an" is superfluous in the following example:

What terrorists do is an absolute savagery.

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    Your dictionary definition indicates that the countable use is for individual acts of savagery. "What terrorists do" (note spelling) does not refer to 'an individual act'. Jun 22, 2020 at 12:06
  • Thank you very much @Kate Bunting for pointing out my typo. I edited the thread. According to your confirmation and as I had realized, the indefinite article "an" is a mistake and must be removed. Thank you again.
    – A-friend
    Jun 22, 2020 at 15:28
  • All the references to is a savagery that I've just looked at in Google Books seem to be references to an attribute, not an act. And terrorists do / commit acts of terrorism, not attributes. Jun 22, 2020 at 17:35
  • So "an" is redundant @FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica right?
    – A-friend
    Jun 22, 2020 at 18:38
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    See this NGram, showing that most people don't include the article in such contexts. Jun 23, 2020 at 11:03

1 Answer 1

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Both of the following sentences sound fairly aristocratic to my ear.

However, I have seen contemporary English writing which uses both sentence-structures.

  • What terrorists do is an absolute savagery.
  • What terrorists do is absolute savagery.

Examples of the Pattern "[verb] an absolute"

Example One of "[verb] an absolute"

Paraphrased Quote: "The progress the Trump administration has made is an absolute evisceration of law." - Jefferson Sessions (Former Attorney General of the United States)

  • Title: Jeff Sessions: Biden administration border policy 'an absolute evisceration of law'

  • Author of News Article: Jeff Poor

  • Date of Publication: 09.23.22

Example Two of "[verb] an absolute"

"Joya’s Cafe Is An Absolute Must Try For Anyone That Enjoys Great Food"

Author: Chelsea Wiley

Date: September 2022

Example Three of "[verb] an absolute"

The appraisal process is an absolute joke

Example Four of "[verb] an absolute"

This movie is an absolute gem.

Example Five of "[verb] an absolute"

Bob's car looks like an absolute work of art.

Example Six of "[verb] an absolute"###

Bob's car looks like an absolute work of art.

One Final Note

I would like to provide some examples of sentences which use the phrase "is absolute" instead of "is an absolute". However, the coffee shop I am using internet at is closing.

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