I came across the following phrase in www.oxforddictionaries.com : "he set off at dawn". At the same time in this dictionary it is not stated that "dawn" is a mass noun. I would like to ask therefore, why there is no article in front of dawn in the phrase?

  • 1
    Because some nouns don't have attached articles. They are fixed as they're written. For instance: at noon, at night.
    – Schwale
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


Dawn in your examples being used to tell the time

at dawn
at noon
at midnight
at two o'clock

none take articles.

  • 1
    Also last/this/next week/month/year, which don't even need 'at'!
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 17:32

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