Months later, authorities announced a campaign to “probe backwards 20 years” into Inner Mongolia’s coal industry to cleanse what they described as deep-seated corruption.

Why isn't there an article "a" before deep-seated corruption? i.e "... what they described as a deep-seated corruption". I always have an issue with adding an article. I would like to correct my understanding.

  • 2
    Corruption is the quality of being corrupt, not a single incident. Jun 3, 2021 at 16:37
  • because corruption is an abstract noun: Corruption is a terrible thing.
    – Lambie
    Jun 3, 2021 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


The reason there is no article in front of the word "corruption" is because, in this context, the word corruption is uncountable. This means that you can't have a corruption, two corruptions, and so on.

If you have trouble deciding when to use articles and when not to use them, first check if the noun is countable or uncountable. For example, the following sentences involve countable nouns:

I have a car.

He ate two apples.

She had a stomach ache.

Other nouns are uncountable (in certain contexts, of course):

I have time.

He ate bread.

She had cancer.

If you want to study more about countable and uncountable nouns, here are some resources for you. Good luck in your studying!

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