Is there any difference between 'such a something/one' and 'such something/one'?

He is such fool


He is such a fool

Is the former one possible in any context or style?

If the article is must; does including 'no' makes the former sentence valid?

He is no such fool


  • You said "'such a/an x' (x-something/somebody) instead of 'such x'", but your examples seem not to support that well. (They seem to suggest the opposite.) In any case, your examples are "no such way" and "such a way", which are similar to "There is a man ..." and "There is no man ...", but with "such" added to the sentences. – Damkerng T. Dec 30 '14 at 6:50
  • @DamkerngT. changed. – Maulik V Dec 30 '14 at 6:55
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    I have a rather strong feeling that "He is such fool." is ungrammatical. – Damkerng T. Dec 30 '14 at 7:07
  • @DamkerngT. what do you think about this sentence? Who is such fool as to think this wisdom? Also, No Christian is such fool to send a blasphemous message to any Muslim cleric especially when they know the consequences - CNN Report – Maulik V Dec 30 '14 at 7:19
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    @MaulikV That CNN "report" (ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1167267) is in their crowd-sourced reporting queue. It is not written by a native speaker, and was clearly not edited by one either. It is riddled with grammatical errors and uncommon usages. – Adam Dec 30 '14 at 17:15

The word such is used as a predeterminer. (Not concentrating on other uses of such, because they are not relevant here)

When it is used as predeterminer, we use a/an after such. We can also use such as a single determiner, without the need of any other determiner, such as a/an following it.

For example -

They are such idiots. [Here such is the only one determiner]

He is such a fool. [Here such is sued as a predeterminer, and a/an follows]

It was such a pity that you couldn't be with us.

We have had such awful weather lately.

So the bottom line is, we can use both - such a/an and such, like I have shown in example sentences.

Now coming to your negative sentence confusion with such.

The word no is used as a determiner - central determiner, that is. (The other use of no is not discussed here, as they are not relevant here)

Determiners are words which come at the beginning of the noun phrase.

There are three types of determiner: central determiner, predeterminer and post determiner. The order in which they occur in a sentence - predeterminer + central determiner + post determiner.

This is the reason we don't say five the all boys. We say all the five boys. [all - predeterminer, the - central determiner, five - post determiner]

No other pattern of occurrence of these three type of determiners are allowed.

When the central determiner precedes such, it's a pro-form modifier. Hence, no such idiot is correct.

But no such a idiot is incorrect.

Consider this -

I have seen green balls were there. Where are they? No, you are wrong. There is no such balls.

Here the word such is a pro-form modifier, replacing green - an adjective.

We can say green ball, but not green a ball, because an adjective can only modify a head noun in a noun phrase structure, it however can't modify a noun phrase.

This is the reason it's incorrect to say - no such a boy


*He is such fool.

The statement needs a determiner:

He is such a fool.

He is no such fool.

*He is great singer.

He is a great singer.

He is no great singer.


He is such fool.

He is such a fool.

He is no such fool.

Grammatically speaking, you must use an indefinite article (a/an) after "such" when used for emphasizing your description of a singular countable noun phrase. So the second sentence sounds natural, whereas the first one sounds odd.

However, when you use the determiners "some" and "no" before "such", you don't need to use "a/an" after "such" as the following:

He needs to see a psychiatrist or some such person.

He is no such fool. However, it's right to say "He is not such a fool"

There is no such thing as magic. It's also correct to say "there is not such a thing.

Further, as we know the "no" also means "not a/an/one/any", it comes across that when we use "no" before "such", we can't use an indefinite article after "such". Same is the case with the "some", which is used to refer to something or somebody indefinite or not known. Even some grammarians consider it to be an indefinite article.

  • I guess putting article emphasizes and not putting it is just a statement. Yeah, he can do that...he is such shameless guy -I'm not emphasizing 'him' but then *he is such a shameless guy typically focuses on 'him' what say? – Maulik V Dec 31 '14 at 8:28
  • @Maulik, I am sorry I have no idea. If I say anything, it'll be a bit of a leap in the dark. – Khan Dec 31 '14 at 13:47

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