a proof or proof



Can I say "I have a proof of something"? Is "proof" not an uncountable noun so I don't need an article?

Can anyone tell me?

  • mathman

    Senior Member
    English-American/New England
    You don't need the a here, I have proof of something is correct.
    I think it depends on the context. "I have a proof of the BSD conjecture" is correct; maybe you could say "I have proof of the BSD conjecture," but it would sound odd to me. On the other hand, you could say "I have proof that you weren't at the concert last night," but adding "a" would sound odd (to me).


    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "Proof" is countable when it means a mathematical derivation, but uncountable when it means evidence, so no "a" there.


    Senior Member
    American English
    The sentence is
    She had a proof of her father killing her mother.
    As Outsider says: no "a" here... just "proof."

    Realize that if She had proof of her father killing her mother, I might expect her to have proof of the actual act, either as a photograph or film. If she doesn't have proof of the act, then it might be better to say She had proof that her father killed her mother.


    Senior Member

    I have come across the following sentence in my dictionary:

    1. These results are a further proof of his outstanding ability.

    but in the same dictionary there is this example:

    2. This latest interview was further proof of how good at her job Cara was.

    Could anybody guess why the article is present in the first sentence but absent in the second? Can we leave out the article of the first sentence?

    I have found a couple of examples with the article in the American Corpus:
    3. The players were told that the DNA test would be a better proof of innocence, so the polygraph offer was declined.
    4. The classicists, again, must have had a convincing proof of the soundness of his attainments, by his amazing performance of Hummel's Septuor, at the Philharmonic Concert on Monday evening.

    Would they sound better without the 'a's?


    Senior Member
    Hello, teachers. Allow me to ask you a question. This thread taught me when to put a "a" before the word 'proof.' My question is if the same rule applies in cases like the following.

    A: Why has she been avoiding me lately?

    B: It's (a) proof that she has feelings for you.

    You don't have to put the 'a' here, do you? Your feedback will be appreciated.

    < New question added to previous thread. Cagey, moderator. >
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