• Such/Fuel... 2.

    From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to alexander koryagin on Fri Mar 2 18:00:57 2018
    Hi again, Alexander! This is a continuation of my previous message to you:

    BTW, practically all uncounable nouns can be used with
    "a" articles when they have a definitive word before
    them, that reckons it to this or that group.

    While I'd hesitate to say "practically all", Roy has offered a good rule of thumb IMHO. Expanding on some previous examples:

    1) When we hear on the news that the price of oil has gone up, we know
    the reference is to crude oil... AKA petroleum. Such things can be
    measured only by weight or by volume & are described as uncountable
    for that reason. Less oil, fewer barrels of oil. Okay. But if we
    take a moment to consider while we're washing the dinner dishes how
    many other types of oil are stored in the kitchen & the bathroom as
    well as the garage, the workshop, and/or a musician's emergency kit
    we might well be tempted to take the easy way out by calling all of
    them "oils" and making a list. That's what the authors chose to do
    in the second example I mentioned to Roy. These people listed only
    eight varieties which are actually edible, but I know of many more.

    2) As luck would have it I went to the dentist's office a few days ago
    & saw a sign in the washroom saying "do not throw paper towel(s) in
    the toilet". This particular washroom is available only to him, to
    his staff, and to his clients... and the guy is a perfectionist. I
    understand why even a native speaker of English may be at a loss in
    such cases. He buys paper towel(s) in rolls. Same here. The kind
    we buy has perforations, however, making the pieces countable. The
    kind he buys come in a continuous roll... i.e. the size of a single
    portion of paper towel depends on how clever one is at inducing the
    machine to dispense more than a few inches at a time. Although the
    pieces are still countable, the size is much less predictable. The
    important issue is that a toilet can be plugged just as easily with
    numerous small bits of industrial-strength recycled cardboard as by
    a single large one, and the dentist probably realizes that.... ;-)

    A pronoun, for instance:

    What a sweet honey it is!

    With the exception of idiomatic expressions such as "it's raining", however, a pronoun must have an antecedent... so I think what you're asking is whether or not "honey" may be regarded as a countable noun if you're comparing different varieties of honey. My daughter's initial reaction to this question was the same as mine: honey is supposed to be sweet, isn't it?? My husband's reaction was that one's perception might vary according to which subspecies of bees made the honey & from which plants they gathered the nectar. That was my second thought. Either way, we don't know what's available in Russia.... :-)

    Probably we can omit "sweet" and in this case we will
    single out our honey, make it special with "a":

    You could say "It is [indefinite article + adjective + noun]", with or without the addition of an intensifier, in comparing it to other varieties. AFAIC the indefinite article "a(n)" doesn't make it sound special, but in this context "what" does. WAR AND PEACE is a Russian novel, one of many such works by various people from various countries... yet what a truly wonderful work it is! The second clause here is what identifies it as special to *me*.... :-))

    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)