exert (an) influence on/over

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Tourmaline, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Tourmaline

    Tourmaline Senior Member

    Hello :)
    Another question.. ;)

    (1) The teacher intended to exert influence on the whole class.
    (2) He wants to exert influence over the media.

    I know what both mean,
    (they are different, right? If they have same meaning, please tell me.)
    but I sometimes saw a lot of sentences
    which have an indefinite article before the 'influence.'

    (1) Does the moon exert an influence on cloud formation?
    (2) When these inferior values exert an influence over the mind,..

    As far as I know, a noun 'influence' can be used both countable and uncountable,
    depending on the situation.
    But I can't understand the differences between the former and the latter.

    Is it ok if I use the phrasal verb with or without an indefinite article?
    Or does the meaning change?

    Thank you :D
  2. mhickman

    mhickman Member

    Bourbonnais, IL
    English - US
    Adding or removing the indefinite article changes it somewhat. The sentence with the indefinite article implies a single influence, whereas simply saying "exert influence" means influence in general (which can mean multiple influences).

    Hope that helps.

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