a trouble

Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I checked the dictionary but I am not that sure whether trouble can be used as a countable noun to mean headache:

"The homework is always a trouble for me."
 
  • Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If in some region a is not allowed then I'd change the sentence like this?

    "Homework is always trouble for me."

    Is this right?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I don't say "a trouble" but I do say (and hear) "troubles".

    It seems to me that if I can have "troubles" I certainly should be able to have "a trouble", though it does not sound idiomatic to me (in the north east USA). Indeed, it sounds really peculiar.

    I got some troubles, man. My wife ran off with my best friend; my kids hate me; I can't afford the mortgage without my wife's income and I have an ingrown toenail on my right foot that is killing me.

    And then there was the Neil Diamond song: NEIL DIAMOND LYRICS - You've Got Your Troubles

    I see that worried look upon your face
    You've got your troubles, I've got mine
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Yes, that's why I specifically elected not to say, "No, 'trouble' is uncountable."
    I would not use it but I can imagine its use. I show one case below, but it is a very specific case and I don't think it has much broader application.

    Mike: I've got a lot of troubles. My first trouble is my wife. My second trouble is my daughter, who is too much like my wife. My third trouble is my mortgage which is too high because my wife insisted on living in a house we could not afford. I could go on forever...

    Joe: So if you had to pick one trouble that was most troublesome, which would it be?

    Mike: If I had to pick a trouble? It'd be my wife. She's the cause of all of the troubles.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I agree with everyone. I would not say "Homework is a trouble." But "a trouble" is quite possible.

    From the poem Homework for Annabelle, by Phyllis McGinley:

    Oh high is the price of parenthood, and daughters will cost you double
    You dare not forget, though you thought you could, that youth is a pain and a trouble
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I would not use it but I can imagine its use. I show one case below, but it is a very specific case and I don't think it has much broader application.

    Mike: I've got a lot of troubles. My first trouble is my wife. My second trouble is my daughter, who is too much like my wife. My third trouble is my mortgage which is too high because my wife insisted on living in a house we could not afford. I could go on forever...

    Joe: So if you had to pick one trouble that was most troublesome, which would it be?

    Mike: If I had to pick a trouble? It'd be my wife. She's the cause of all of the troubles.
    What difference would there be if you said:

    Mike: If I had to pick trouble? It'd be my wife. She's the cause of all of the troubles.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    For me, that would be odd to the point of meaningless. It needs 'a' or even better 'one' trouble.
    OK. In that case it's too hard to understand. I gather that "a trouble" is almost never used. But it is used sometimes.... :confused:

    Would you use a in here?

    He caused (a) trouble for all of us.
     
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