I have two questions.

(1) I know that we should say "Dogs are a type of animal". I wonder why we don't say "Dogs are a type of an animal"? For some reason, we have no article before animal. Is that just idiomatic?

(2) I'm confused as to when a noun is countable or not. For example, if you read the beginning of this Wikipedia page:

Equality of outcome, equality of condition, or equality of results is a political concept which is central to some political ideologies and is used regularly in political discourse, often in contrast to the term equality of opportunity.

I know that outcome could be a countable noun. For example, we say "these are two different outcomes." However, equality of outcome treats outcome as an uncountable noun (or a mass noun). Why can't we say, then, "equality of result"? "Outcomes" and "results" are essentially the same thing, right?

1 Answer 1


It's normal not to use an article with "type of X". Saying "a dog is a type of animal" is equivalent to saying "a dog is an animal".

Yes, "result" would be better.
Also, since we are talking about something singular, which "is a political concept", the idea might better be put
"Equality of outcome (also called equality of condition or equality of result) is a political concept..."

  • How do I know that "result" can be an uncountable noun? By experience? Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 5:13
  • I don't think it's necessarily a question of countability as much as just whether to use a singular or plural noun. If you say, for example, there are no more inequities, you can say that is an outcome or a result (a countable use). You could use plural "outcomes" or "results" to refer to all the individuals that are being treated equally, but it isn't necessary to do that. Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 5:30
  • If "result" is countable, how can you say "equality of result", without any articles? Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 6:34
  • It's a question of a countable use. If you say "a result" referring to one of a set of several results, it's countable. If you say "of result", it's not countable. Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 6:45
  • Even though I am not the OP, I appreciate your answer. Then, how about Dogs are a type of animals? Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 6:51

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