Abstract nouns




At the bottom of this page, there's a chart of the abstract noun usage. The chart has this sentence ''we had a great time in Ibiza...'' and under (a specific period of time). Why isn't ''the'' used there if it has (a specific period of time) under? I still see the sentence with the article ''a'' as ''there are many great times and we had one of them which isn't particular'', in other words, I think a listener doesn't know what ''time''. It is the same with the sentence above ''the job requires a knowledge of statistics and basic computing''. Shouldn't the article ''the'' be used instead there?
  • MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    You're confusing 'the' referring to a specific 'something' - dogs/ a dog/ the dog - and the contrast being demonstrated in the chart, of 'time' as an uncountable abstract noun - 'Time flies when you're having fun' - and 'time' = a holiday = a specific period of time spent somewhere.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The phrase "a great time" there doesn't really mean a period of time: it refers more to an event.

    So it's equivalent to saying "We had a great holiday", and we wouldn't say "We had the great time/holiday in Ibiza", because it's only one of many that we might have.



    Thank you.

    What about ''the job requires a knowledge of statistics and basic computing''
    Here we know that the knowledge is particular (knowledge of statistics and basic computing)

    Am I missing here something?
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