While reading an MSDN page I have noticed that whenever a word parallel is used, then there is no article 'a' used:

In the past, parallelization required low-level manipulation [...]. These features simplify parallel development [...] fine-grained, and scalable parallel code.

Why there is no article? I thought it should be:

  • a parallelization
  • a parallel development
  • a parallel code

Is it because words parallelization is abstract, development is uncountable and code is I don't know, uncountable?

2 Answers 2


It has nothing to do with the word parallel itself, but (as you suspect) with the contexts in which it used.

The parallelization sentence is not speaking of a specific instance of the process but of the process-in-general: every time you "parallelize" something it requires low-level manipulation.

Again, what these features simplify is not one or more particular parallel developments but the process-in-general: every time you develop stuff in parallel it's simplified by these features.

And code, likewise, isn't any particular program or app but code-in-general: every time you need code that's parallel, fine-grained and scalable, these features simplify the process of writing it.

  • how come I can drop an article when speaking about something "in general"? I didn't know that rule. Jun 20, 2015 at 19:40
  • could you give some reference? Jun 20, 2015 at 19:43
  • @MarcAndreson It's not so much a "rule" as a "rule of thumb", but that's the basic meaning of articles and similar pieces. They're called determiners because they determine which one or set you're talking about; but when you're talking about things-in-general they're "indeterminate"--they have no term or boundary, and don't take a determiner. It's pretty vague; but you might get a handle on it at the Wikipedia article on Determiner. Jun 20, 2015 at 19:46
  • would I use an article if I want to add an adjective to something I talk about in general , e.g. "everytime you need a nice code" or "everytime you need nice code" ? Jun 20, 2015 at 20:15
  • @MarcAndreson Code in the sense of computer code is almost always indeterminate; that code is a mass noun like rice or money. We never speak of a code in that sense: code is the stuff that an app or subroutine or function is made out of. Jun 20, 2015 at 20:26

That's not the word parallel that would imply the use of an article. In your examples it is used as an adjective:

parallel development;

parallel code.

So we should question why development and code take no article?


In this context they are used as non-count nouns.

As regards parallelization the same reason impliedly occurs.


In some contexts, however, they can be pluralized when they have transferred senses.


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