Having (a) 20/20 vision is the desirable condition of the eye.

If you have (a) 20/20 vision you don't need glasses.

(A) 20/20 vision is required for certain job positions.

Is the article "a" necessary or correct in these sentences?

I wanted to ask this question because sometimes I find the article "a" before "20/20 vision" and other times not. I'd like to know why.

You can find several examples on this ngram search, although the focus of this question is about the specific examples above.

"In that state you must have a 20/20 vision in one eye"

"A 20/20 vision is normal vision for distance"

"However, it is of interest that 35.9 per cent of those with a 20/20 vision and 40 per cent of those with a 20/30 vision complained of eye symptoms"

"...whereas commercial pilots are accepted if they have a 20/20 vision with correction"

" She has a 20/20 vision in the right eye by the use of a Schnelling's chart"

"First, the student, because he has a 20/20 vision as indicated by the test above, believes his vision is “normal”"

"Their report to applicant stated J. B. Pierce had a 20/40 vision of his right eye without glasses and a 20/20 vision of the same eye with glasses"

  • 2
    The first link in your search is "( a ) 20/20 vision proves there is no myopia but there may be some hyperopia concealed by accommodation . ( b ) ..." That is not an article, that's a list. Another example is "... is using a 20 / 20 Vision System" where the article is being used for "system" and not "vision". NGrams have to be used very carefully when looking for usage. – ColleenV Feb 9 at 16:56

The text from your first link is full of errors. I don't know who wrote this but I hope that their surgical skills are better than their writing skills.

The second link uses normal English grammar.


The first text is wrong. Do not rely on any English from that site.

Use 20/20 without the article.

Grammatical reason for not having an article

The word "vision" when referring to the ability to see is an uncountable noun. Uncountable nouns do not have articles.

Thus we say, "John has good vision" or "Mary has poor vision" or "Duncan was blind from birth and so lacks vision entirely"

vi•sion /ˈvɪʒən/ n. Physiology[uncountable]the act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight. https://www.wordreference.com/definition/vision

P.S. Here is one of the many errors:

Perhaps, the doctor told you to have 20/20 vision

A doctor can tell you "that you have" 20/20 vision. They cannot tell you "to have" 20/20 vision!!!

I won't say that the site is a scam. I couldn't possibly know or comment on that - I have no evidence either way. I do however know that scam sites often use incorrect English.

  • That site is not the only place you can find "a 20/20 vision". Here's an ngram search google.com/search?q=%22a+20/…. – Fra Feb 9 at 16:48
  • 1
    @Fra Just because you can find something on the Internet doesn't mean it is correct. Why do you think those links are any more valid than the first example you chose? – ColleenV Feb 9 at 16:51
  • 2
    @Fra As I mentioned above, most of those examples are not "a 20/20 vision" - they're a completely different construction. You have to look at the actual results returned by NGrams, not the number of results. – ColleenV Feb 9 at 16:57
  • 1
    "Vision" as in "a vision for the future" is countable. I could imagine someone, even a native speaker, using the phrase "a 20/20 vision for the future," but I'd consider that to be a mixed metaphor and not a great choice of words. – Canadian Yankee Feb 9 at 19:38
  • 2
    @Fra - You added more examples but you didn't include a link for each one (as Colleen did in her edit). Without being able to examine each sentence in context, it will be difficult for anyone to explain why a sentence is written the way that it is written. (Colleen already explained one, where the "a" is part of an alphabetized list, not an article.) – J.R. Feb 19 at 16:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.