'What a courage' or 'what courage'?

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New Member
Español, España
I found this expression while reading a text: "You just wouldn't suspect that she was going blind at the time. What courage in the face of such an affliction, don't you think?"

As far as I know, 'courage' is an uncountable word. Therefore it sounds right to me not to use any kind of article before 'courage'. But then I think of expressions like "What a pity" or "What a shame" that do have an article even when they are both uncountable nouns.

Could anybody explain in which cases is the article required?

Many thanks in advance.
  • perpend

    American English
    You can construct parallel contructions.

    Someone showed incredible pity. What pity in the face of such a situation, don't you think?
    Someone showed incredible shame. What shame in the face of their family, don't you think?

    "What a pity" and "What a shame" have different meanings, in my opinion.

    Moreover, there's no such phrase to my knowledge, "What a courage", though a context can be construed for every phrase.
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