"become established fact" vs "become an established fact"


If "an" is put in, will the meaning remain the same for the sentence?

"a prediction" matching "a fact" seems more natural to me. But I am simply guessing, of course.

Thanks in advance
Some of the most profound predictions in theoretical physics, such as Einstein’s gravitational waves or Higgs’ boson, have taken decades to prove with experiments. But every now and then, a prediction can become established fact in an astonishingly short time. This is what happened with “time crystals”, a new and strange state of matter that was theorised, disproved, revamped and finally created in just five years since it was first predicted in 2012.


  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Without the article, the sense of the noun becomes generic. This is a general rule with abstract nouns or concepts.

    In the above quotation, 'become established fact' means 'achieve the status of proven fact'. This point is about its wider theoretical significance, not just whether that particular phenomenon is real.

    The common phrase 'a matter of fact' uses 'matter' as a specific term and 'fact' as a generic one. In the common phrase 'mind over matter', both nouns are used generically.
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