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I encountered this problem when I was doing a course in Duolingo. It marked me wrong to write

We haven't bought such thing.[1]

The correct one according to Duolingo is:

We haven't bought such a thing.[2]

I read the comment section. There was a native American commented that it's wrong to write [1]. He/she also added that a native speaker would likely to say either:

We have bought no such thing.[3]

Or

We haven't bought such things.[4]

Since it's a standalone sentence, I don't know what thing refers to. Supposing the thing is a bottle of wine, does that mean I could say [2] or [3]? Also, if it's two bottles should I use [4]? In addition to that, what if it's an uncountable noun like furniture? Why do [2] and [3] make a difference?

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  • native American? That's quite specific. Do you mean a native English speaker from the US? native Americans are the Indigenous peoples of the US.
    – AIQ
    Nov 2 '21 at 14:04
  • @AIQ idk. He/she only stated that he/she is a native american. No further explanation on his/her comment.
    – user516076
    Nov 2 '21 at 14:09
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To understand the sentence, try taking out "such." You could also flip it from negative to positive:

We bought a thing.

The article is needed here because "thing" is a common noun.

We bought such a thing.

This really means "a thing such as this," or "like this." The article is still needed.


We bought such things.

Yes, in this case you need no article because now the things are plural. You mention bottles of wine; to use that without "such", we might have:

  • We bought a bottle of wine, OR
  • We bought bottles of wine.

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