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I know we never use the indefinite article ("a/an") before a non-count noun. But what about before plural nouns?

Questions:

  1. I don't think a plural count noun can follow an indefinite article ("a/an"). But I'm not sure. Is it possible, and if so, could you provide some examples?

  2. The following examples: "a good three hefty steaks", "a marvelous hundred days", "a hundred charges" -- aren't examples of a plural count noun with an indefinite article "a", or are they? If they aren't, then how should they be parsed?

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2 Answers 2

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We don't use the indefinite article before plural nouns.

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    Which means we use indefinite aricle only before singular count noun? Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 19:36
  • @DmitryFucintv Exactly. a or an means one. We don't use it when we are counting though. Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 19:44
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The construct "[indefinite article] [adjective] [number] [plural nouns]" is used to refer to apply an adjective to a single group containing a specified number of things. For example "a marvelous 100 days" refers to a marvelous group of days which contained, in total, 100 days.

Note that when using this construct, the adjective applies to the group, not the items therein. Note as well that in many cases the adjective may be applied to the group at least partially because of the number of things in it. For example, Acme Corporation gives it workers a rather skimpy five days of vacation per year, while Bogon corporation gives a generous forty. The sentence isn't describing the individual vacation days as being skimpy or generous, but is instead saying that a year's vacation allotment for Acme Corporation is, in total, rather skimpy, while that of Bogon corporation is, again in total, rather generous.

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  • Another way to think this of this is that article is referring to "100" as a noun, short for "group of 100" Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 17:42

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