Can I say in English "There is a very heavy security around that building" meaning that there are not only many security guards around the building, but there are also some other security-related measures and devices?

Google didn't return any results for "There is a very heavy security", which makes me think this usage is wrong, but I am no sure.


2 Answers 2


"Security" is a mass noun, so it should not have an indefinite article: "There is very heavy security."

  • Thank you. Can in this case it imply not only the guards, but also some devices?
    – brilliant
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 4:43
  • "Security" is broad enough that it could mean guards and/or devices. With "around" I would guess the sentence is talking about security outside the building itself, which could include guards, fences, and exterior cameras.
    – nschneid
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 5:22
  • Got it. Thank you!
    – brilliant
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 5:33
  • You can find out whether a word is a mass noun (uncountable noun) by looking in a good dictionary. In the Cambridge Dictionary, uncountable nouns are marked [U}. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/security
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 9:45

Your phrase can't use an article, so use:

There is very heavy security around that building.

But often you will hear:

There is a very heavy security presence around that building.

where presence is a singular noun (definition 1).

Though in either case you can't really know what the "security" involves.

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