I wrote this sentence

After providing the anchors, the user must now specify the blocks of the page that are distinguished by one or a group of anchors (see Figure 4). Throughout this article, we refer to such block or range of nodes with the term context node.

Is it such block, or such a block?! I prefer not to say "such blocks".

Because I've usually heard such a with adjectives like "such a nice boy"

  • The article is necessary. – Victor Bazarov Aug 21 '15 at 18:48
  • @VictorBazarov because I've heard usually such a with adjectives like "such a nice boy" – Ahmad Aug 21 '15 at 18:52
  • Presence of an adjective is of no consequence. – Victor Bazarov Aug 21 '15 at 19:31
  • It has to do with whether the noun is singular or plural. Singular nouns need articles, plural ones do not. So in your example if it was plural it would be "such nice boys" (no article). The adjective has nothing to do with it. – MsTiggy Aug 22 '15 at 1:38
  • You can read this one also - ell.stackexchange.com/a/44331/3463 – Man_From_India Aug 23 '15 at 4:11

If "block" is singular you need the article:

...we refer to such a block or...

Saying "such blocks" would also be correct, but as you say, you would prefer not to use that, so "such a block" would be your best bet.

  • if I use "such blocks" should I use "context nodes"? – Ahmad Aug 21 '15 at 19:09
  • Not necessarily. If you use "such blocks" you should probably also pluralize "range of nodes" to "ranges of nodes" though. – MsTiggy Aug 22 '15 at 1:41
  • I don’t believe this answer to be correct. It is at most incomplete because it does not take noun-countability into consideration. See here. – tchrist Jan 1 '17 at 16:46

Such and Such: Count nouns vs. non-count nouns

Two distinct (and usually non-overlapping) possibilities exist for singular nouns X:

  1. such X (for a mass noun)
  2. such an X (for a count noun)

Usually you must use exactly one of those, not either. If both forms are admissible, then we’re talking about two different words or senses of words.

If it’s a count noun in the singular, it takes an article, like “such an apple”. Apples you count.

But if that noun is a mass noun not a count noun, then because it cannot be counted, then no article is allowed, like “such happiness”. Happiness you do not count.

See also this answer.

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