Two sentences:

(1) She has great experience in her work.

(2) ‘She spoke with a great enthusiasm about the new plans.

Question: Why is there no article ‘a’ with ‘great experience’ in the first sentence and one with ‘great enthusiasm’ in the second sentence? In my mind ‘experience’ and ‘enthusiasm’ are both uncountable nouns and therefore we can’t use the indefinite article ‘a’ with ‘great experience’ and ‘great enthusiasm’. I guess I am wrong. Could you explain why?

  • 1
    The second one does not require an article "She spoke with great enthusiasm" is correct.
    – BillJ
    Jan 22 at 14:14
  • Why do you believe that the indefinite article can't be used with uncountable nouns? There is a lack of evidence for that claim. Jan 23 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


Most uncountable nouns can be used with an indefinite article when they are qualified, so as to produce a kind, or an example.

So She spoke with an enthusiasm. is unusual, but if her enthusiasm is qualified in any way it is possible:

She spoke with a great enthusiasm.

She spoke with a new enthusiasm.

She spoke with an enthusiasm that roused the audience to fervour.

She spoke with an enthusiam that she had never felt before.

are all normal. As BillJ says, the article is not always required, but it is possible. To my ear, the third and fourth cases are odd without it.

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