knowledge of VS a knowledge of

Discussion in 'English Only' started by uktous, May 7, 2010.

  1. uktous Senior Member


    Which sentence is correct?

    I have knowledge of chemisty.
    I have a knowledge of chemisty.
    I have good knowledge of chemisty.
    I have a good knowledge of chemisty.

    My opinion:

    Knowledge is uncourtable.
    I think only sentence 1 is correct.

    However, many people say only sentence 4 is correct.
    I don't understand.

  2. coolieinblue Banned

    hello, uktous

    just an opinion :

    #1 sounds almost the same as 'I know chemistry', which refer to the fact that I know the meaning or concept of chemistry.

    We have knowedge of something' conveys almost the same meaning as I know what I already know.

    'have knowlege of' is involuntary activity of our brain.

    We have knowldge in/about physics.
    We have a good/some knowedge of physics.

    Theses sound good to me because they denote there are some mental activities of catergorizing, specifying, quantifying, or connecting in my brain.

    Hope this can help
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  3. I believe that all 4 are grammatically correct, but only 3 and 4 sound natural to me.

    "I have knowledge of chemistry." This could be taken to mean that you are aware that something called "chemistry" exists; it could also mean you have an unspecified degree of knowledge in the field of chemistry.

    "I have a knowledge of chemistry." This clearly is meant to state that you have some degree of expertise in chemistry. However, it would be more idiomatic to substitute a more descriptive word or phrase for "a": "I have some knowledge of chemistry." "I have a considerable knowledge of chemistry."

    "I have good knowledge of chemistry" and "I have a good knowledge of chemistry" are both OK. One would have to hear the sentence in context to assess whether the usage was natural or stilted.

    In fact, to my ear, the word "good" is, although correct, not the most likely choice a native speaker would make. I think most people would either use a different qualifier, such as those in bold above, or would use a different structure altogether:

    "I have considerable expertise in chemistry."
    "I know a lot about chemistry."
    "I have some experience in [or with] chemistry."
  4. dn88 Senior Member

    He has a limited knowledge of French.

    Taken from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Notice that they even wrote the article in bold.

    We're talking about a certain amount of knowledge the given person has.
  5. TommyGun Senior Member

    It would be interesting to think up contexts where the first would fit and the second would not, and vice versa.

    My attempt:

    1. - I have a good knowledge of chemistry, so I think they will accept my application for the job in a chemical laboratory.

    2. - What the heck do they put in Coca-Cola? When I drink up a pint my mouth feels so dry as though I hadn't drunk for a week!
    - Ask Joe. He has good knowledge of chemistry.

    In 1. there is an emphasis that their knowledge of chemistry is different from other types of knowledge, and knowledge of this specific type can qualify the narrator for an activity of a specific type.
    In 2. there is an emphasis that Joe can apply his knowledge to various situations of life.

    Do I understand it right? If so, would 1. and 2. turn stilted if we used "good knowledge" in 1. and "a good knowledge" in 2.?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013

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