12

This is a good news.
This is good news.

Which one is correct? Clarify the difference

  • 4
    Which one do you think is correct… & why? – Tetsujin Jun 15 '15 at 14:28
  • 1
    You might also hear- 'it's a good news day' but this is a different meaning. – Misti Jun 15 '15 at 14:35
16

"news" is singular, uncountable. So you can't say "a news," instead you would say "This is good news" just as in "This is good water."

  • What about these sentences? This is a news channel. This is news channel. Can't I use " a" here? – I don't know who I am. Jun 15 '15 at 16:49
  • Of course, you can say a news channel as it is a channel broadcasting news. – rogermue Jun 15 '15 at 16:58
  • 1
    Why do you say "This is an apple"? – rogermue Jun 15 '15 at 17:09
  • 10
    Because we are referring to "channel", not to "news". "News" functions as an adjective in that context. This is a news channel. This is a sports channel. This is a weather channel. (Here, you can have the remote back.) – J.R. Jun 15 '15 at 18:23
  • 2
    user124234 -- You can count channels. If there's one, it's "a channel". The word "news" in "a news channel" isn't the noun (channel is). But in "this is good news", news is the noun, and it's not countable. You could say "this is a good piece of news" (pieces are countable). – Glen_b Jun 16 '15 at 2:40
12

News itself is uncountable. Uncountable nouns don't take indefinite articles a and an; at least not directly. Let me explain.

So far, we understood that

This is *a good news.

is ungrammatical, while the latter form isn't. What if you do need to specify a one about news? That's where classifiers1 come into play.

A classifier, sometimes called a counter word, is a word or morpheme that is used to accompany nouns and can be considered to "classify" the noun depending on the type of its referent. - Wikipedia

The classifier for news, jewelry, meat, cake2 etc. is piece:

  • Sam just heard this shocking piece of news about the epidemic from the bus radio.

  • Pfft, this job is a piece of cake for a tough guy like you!

Thus, if you want to make your first sentence grammatical, use piece along with the indefinite article a:

This is a good piece of news.


1: Warning: Do not mix classifiers with noun classes. Inhaling the mixture might result in body inflammation and is highly toxic.
2: Also, a slice of cake.

  • 2
    Don't forget: This is some good news. – J.R. Jun 15 '15 at 18:24
  • 1
    Oh yes, @J.R. Also, this is the good news. I figured it might get a little off the question and make the answer unnecessarily long and TL;DR-worthy. – M.A.R. Jun 15 '15 at 18:25

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