Obviously there's <a> concern for the elderly

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JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Source:

Poll: As Coronavirus Spreads, Fewer Americans See Pandemic As A Real Threat

Sample sentence:

Poll respondent Patricia Bell, a 68-year-old Republican living outside Pittsburgh, said the widespread closure of businesses and near-lockdowns in some cities are measures that she views as too extreme. "Obviously there's a concern for the elderly, but do I agree with the reaction? I think it's a serious issue, but I think to some extent, we've overhyped it," the retired customer service employee told NPR in a follow-up interview.

Question:

The "a" in bold is included in the original. Is the sentence correct both with and without it? If so, what is the difference between the version with it and the one without it?


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
  • JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, heypresto.

    Would it be unnatural to omit the indefinite article in this case?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Would it be unnatural
    No, but there would be a slight difference in meaning.
    With article: There are several (countable) concerns, and one of them ("a concern") is for the elderly. In the plural form, you'd write "there are concerns for the elderly".
    Without article: Concern is uncountable, and there is a certain quantity of it for the elderly. The quantity would be measured rather than counted, in the same way you would measure the amount of milk to add to your cake mix.
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for your responses, heypresto and Edinburgher.
    That's a notable increase from last month's figure, when 44% expressed a concern about the spread of the virus.
    The quoted sentence (it's from this thread) would also be natural both with and without the indefinite article, right?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    would also be natural both with and without the indefinite article, right?
    Right, at least in principle. The problem is that it depends on which of the two different meanings the speaker wants to express.
    As Myridon pointed out in the other thread, the countable interpretation is improbable there, and so the version without article is more natural.

    The same is probably true in this thread, and it would have been better if the Pittsburgh lady had omitted the article.
     
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