greet with a resignation / greet with resignation


Senior Member
His latest girlfriend, Sherry, is in the midst of leaving him, an event Don greets with a resignation that looks a lot like indifference.
New York Times: A Bittersweet Trip to the Land of Lost Love <>

Dear Veterans,

For all these years, I have encountered countless instances where some nouns, which are otherwise countable, are used as uncountable without any article. For example, take the usage of word "reservation" in "I reviewed the proposal with reservation".

With that notion firmly ingrained in my brain, I was reading through a online newspaper article on a film. And I stumbled upon a sentence, which I quoted above. Upon seeing the word "resignation" and the phrase "greeted with" right in front of it, I instinctively expected that the word must have been used as uncountable, without any article, but, as you can see, there I found the indefinite article "a" in front of the word, which got me so confused. What puzzled me even more was the fact that the word is followed by a relative pronoun clause, which seems to be, all the more, legitimizing the countable usage of the word.

Would you say there is something awkward about using the word with the article "a"
or would you say it's a perfectly fine use of the word?
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It's fine here because the resignation is a particular resignation that is described, so an article is expected.

    It can also apply to reservation: She greeted him with a reservation bordering on hostility.
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    Senior Member
    British English
    It (sort of) works for "reservation" because you can have many reservations or just one reservation, but not with "resignation", because it is always uncountable.

    Except that the sentence in the article you linked to is "... with a resignation that looks a lot like indifference", which does work, because of the specific structure of that sentence. You can also say "with a happiness that was tinged with sorrow", "an anger that grew inside him", etc.; you're qualifying the specific instance of a general sentiment.



    Senior Member
    English - British
    '... an event Don greets with a resignation that looks a lot like indifference.' :tick:


    'He spoke with a reservation I would never have expected from such an extrovert.' :tick:

    In these examples, 'resignation' and 'reservation' both work in the same way.
    The effective meaning is 'a kind of resignation' or 'a degree of reservation'.
    Thus the reference is to something more specific than resignation or reservation in general.

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Come on, Istarion. You say:

    It (sort of) works for "reservation" because you can have many reservations or just one reservation

    but it's a not one (or more) hotel reservations we're talking about.



    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks for the comment. I think "reservations" can be either singular or plural. "He felt a sense of reservation", but "I have reservations" or "I have only one reservation". I don't often hear the singular form except in that particular phrase ("only one reservation") and other quite specific cases, but I wanted to make it clear that in theory singular reservations are a possibility.


    Senior Member
    It's something that I've had only a vague understanding of until now.
    Thanks to your explanations, now I can see that, in a nutshell, it's all about how specific you <want to> get with the word.

    Thank you so much.
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