1.They have to have a basic understanding of computers in order to use advanced technology.
2.Yet in the long run would a wider sense of mutual understanding make us safer?

In both cases 'a' is used before the word understanding. What is it we actually counting here? Please explain here.


Understanding is often used in a countable sense. If you and I read the same book, we might understand it differently. So our understandings are not the same:

I have an understanding of the book, and you have an understanding of the book.

In your passage, the author imagines several different levels of understanding. They might look like this:

a basic understanding
an intermediate understanding
an advanced understanding

So the use of articles is natural in this context.

In your second sentence, a introduces sense, not understanding. But the article works similarly to the previous article. The author imagines that there can be a wide sense as well as a narrow sense and perhaps several kinds of sense between these two.

So this article is also natural.

  • thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. Aug 4 '21 at 15:39
  • I have a doubt that follows up my previous question. In the sentence " this phone has good battery back up " why can't we use the article "a" before the word good when it can be counted as good or bad or poor or better. Aug 13 '21 at 4:32

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