- Let's have breakfast
- Let's have a good breakfast
I've learned that indefinite articles aren't used before uncountable nouns, so why is a used before the adjective "good" here?
Is there an exception to the rules or is it wrong?
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Let's have breakfast.
Here the word breakfast is an abstract noncount noun. "Abstract" means that you can't touch it with you hands, roughly speaking.
Let's have a good breakfast.
Here the word breakfast is "modified" by the adjective "good". This allows us to use a.
Quirk et al.'s Comprehensive Grammar mentions this usage:
The partitive effect of the definite article in the history of Europe (example 5.58 [lb]) finds a parallel in the use of the indefinite article in such examples as these :
Mavis had a good education.
My son suffers from a strange dislike of mathematics. (ironic)
She played the oboe with (a) remarkable sensitivity.
The indefinite article is used exceptionally here with nouns which are normally noncount. The conditions under which a/an occurs in such cases are unclear, but appear to include the following:
(i) the noun refers to a quality or other abstraction which is attributed to a person;
(ii) the noun is premodified and/or postmodified; and, generally speaking, the greater the amount of modification, the greater the acceptability of a/an.
In the beginning of the section, the authors say:
Abstract nouns tend to be count or noncount according to whether they refer to unitary phenomena (such as events) on the one hand, or to states, qualities, activities, etc on the other.
So, with no pre-modification ("good"), the word breakfast denotes an "activity" (or a "vague collection of edible items"? I'm not a native speaker of English so I lack a fine-tuned comprehension of this).
Let's have breakfast. = Let's eat.
With the pre-modification, it denotes an "unitary phenomenon" (one good breakfast - you could imagine that as a single event, or a single set of good food).
Let's have a good breakfast. = Let's have one good eating event.
Recall that the article a/an originates from the word one.
You can post-modify breakfast and this will again allow you to use a/an, because it will no longer be "consumption of food" in general, but one instance of "eating", one event:
Let's have a breakfast that will cost us at least $200. (We postmodified "breakfast" with a relative clause)
Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Unit 5.58, "The articles with abstract noncount nouns"
Breakfast is both countable and uncountable, concrete and abstract.
As a meal, it's countable just like meal.
As the idea of a meal, the general notion, it's uncountable (just like "mealness").
A meal eaten in the morning, the first of the day: a breakfast of bacon and eggs
[MASS NOUN]: I don’t eat breakfast
Entry for breakfast at Oxford Dictionaries
An idiomatic example of breakfast as countable: I bought three breakfasts this morning. Those tightwads stiffed me with the bill!
To have breakfast can involve eating one of the meals (most commonly) or to possess the notion: The jungle-dwelling tribes of New Pirtzonia don't have breakfast. They are a fragile people with extremely sensitive digestive systems. The very notion of eating before late afternoon makes them nauseous.
Breakfast can also be a verb:
They breakfasted on chicken eggs with chicken legs.
Shall we breakfast at seven?
While nouns are countable, uncountable, or both, based on some kind of real-world distinction (whether we can count them or not), ultimately the classification is a grammatical one: If we can make a noun in a given sense singular and plural, then it's countable. How else can we explain why we're always counting money while money is (normally) uncountable?
I don't see your problem. I don't see any problem with "a good breakfast". Perhaps you should find a new formulation for your oversimplified school rule "indefinite articles are not used before uncountable nouns". Perhaps you should improve your rule by adding that such structures as "a good breakfast" are normal language.