1. such long time
  2. such a long time

I know that (time) is an uncountable noun but I'm a bit confused because I heard many people saying such a long time so which of them is correct?

1 Answer 1


The noun "time" is usually uncountable, but it does have some countable senses, such as this one. In the sense of "a duration" you can say "a long time" or "write down the times of the runners".

Similarly you can say "We had a great time at the concert" and "He's fallen over three times". As you can see there are quite a few countable uses of the word time. It is still more common as a non-count noun, and is always uncountable in the physics sense of the progress of the past into the future.

So in your example, in context "I've been working for such a long time that I am falling asleep at my desk." would be the correct grammar.

  • Thanks for your help! Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 19:02
  • But isn't the question one of "Why, if it is uncountable, do we employ an article?" Normally uncountable nouns do not take articles - "silence is golden", "politeness is appreciated" etc. Is it not simply that "a long time" is a composite noun, which unlike "time" is in fact countable and specific? "I haven't seen her for a long time" refers to one particular period of time. But "time is of the essence" is truly uncountable and unspecific.
    – WS2
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 23:09
  • @WS2 An article is employed only when the usage of the noun is countable. The adjective "long" isn't the issue -- we can say "a time" meaning a countable moment ("A time to be born, and a time to die") or a countable duration ("I rested for a time").
    – nanoman
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 22:44

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