an unhealthy diet

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jiamajia

Senior Member
Mandarin
Your hair loss probably resulted from an unhealthy diet.

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Is the indefinite article a must here? I looked up 'diet' in the dictionary and it is defined as both countable and uncountable. When I wrote without the 'an', my teacher added one for me.

Thank you.
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Your hair loss probably resulted from an unhealthy diet.

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    Is the indefinite article a must here? I looked up 'diet' in the dictionary and it is defined as both countable and uncountable. When I wrote without the 'an', my teacher added one for me.
    Your teacher's right; the dictionary's right too, but this sentence would not sound right without the "an," because it refers to one individual and his or her diet, not diet in general.
     

    jiamajia

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Your teacher's right; the dictionary's right too, but this sentence would not sound right without the "an," because it refers to one individual and his or her diet, not diet in general.
    I see. Thank you.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think it is countable here. The person is on one of several possible unhealthy diets that might result in hair loss. There are other unhealthy diets that wouldn't cause hair loss, for example, a diet rich in oils might give you beautiful hair while making you very fat.
     
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