I have looked at such-something-someone-or-such-a-something-someone-any-diference, and it didn't help. There the stress seems to be on the word 'such', followed by the count noun 'fool'. Here my focus is on the word 'volume', which I think can be both countable and noncountable.

Question 1

A tremendous amount of information was given to us. The sorting through of such volume of information is time consuming.

Is this okay, or must we have "a" before "volume"? If "a" is also okay, what is the difference in the two sentences?

Question 2
Second, the ODO says "volume" is both countable and noncountable? Does this fact affect the answeer to my first question?

Are both the following acceptable? If so, what is the difference?

(I am trying to keep the context open to allow for any possible situation in which each sentence could be grammatical.)

Such a volume of noise is unacceptable!


Such volume of noise is unacceptable!

  • 3
    I think that, in this case, the a is recommended... imagine saying "Such a [large] volume". – Catija Mar 18 '15 at 21:10
  • 1
    To your new question, yes. Both of those are acceptable, with the latter being more likely in my opinion. – Catija Mar 18 '15 at 23:32

Volume is noncount in contexts where it contrasts either with alternative measures (60% alcohol by volume, as opposed to by weight) or with alternative scales (purchase in volume, as opposed to individually or in small lots). Neither of those contexts obtains here: you speak of comparing one volume with another, or with all others, so it is treated as a distinct item and requires a determiner.

  • 1
    I'd also discard OP's the and of. Sorting through such a volume of information sounds much better to me. But personally I don't really like volume here in the first place, since information doesn't normally occupy much if any physical space. I'd prefer such a quantity of information. – FumbleFingers Mar 18 '15 at 22:49
  • I am going to edit my question to better get at Question Number 2. – user6951 Mar 18 '15 at 23:04

You need a in front of volume.

Volume can mean a collection of X, so it's countable (you aren't counting the X, you are counting the collection or set of it), unlike something like sugar, knowledge, etc. You can pluralize it and it will make sense:

Alice gave me a huge pile of paperwork, and then Bob gave me an even bigger pile of paperwork. Together, these contain two vast volumes of data, so when it's in the computer, it will take the computer a while to process.

That's a contrived example but I hope you get the idea.

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