if not for <a?> tragedy

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NRFR

New Member
Korean
Hi whoever clicked my post to help me out. I appreciate your time and concern dedicated to read my post lol.
Well, the articles in English have always been a problem for me (sometimes I use it right and other occasions, wrong like hell..). I am aware of the definition and how to use them with specific nouns but whenever I submit my papers to professors, they easily point out my incorrect use of the articles in a sentence.


While I was reading an article to study English today, I found some sentences that made me think about the use of the articles. So here it goes:

James Okello and Liz Alderman would never have met if not for tragedy.

1. In the sentence, why is it not 'if not for a tragedy' ?

<< For second question, see:
had so many patients that <a / the> second center was opened >>


I hope my questions are straightforward. If anything is not clear, please ask me again.

Thanks a lot in advance.
 
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  • VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I wonder, couldn't one more reason why a zero-article is used here be "For tragedy" being treated here as a way in which they met? Like "I went here by bus"?
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I wonder, couldn't one more reason why a zero-article is used here be "For tragedy" being treated here as a way in which they met? Like "I went here by bus"?
    I understand your point. You want to say, "They met through tragedy" or "They met as a result of tragedy"

    Neither of those works. I can't see a way of making them work either - except as a headline.
     
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