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From: Ardith Hinton (1:153/716)
To: All
Date: Thu, 11.10.12 02:56
Such/Fuel... 1.
Hi, Alexander! Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

ak>> As it is known, "fuel" is an uncountable noun. But
ak>> is it true after "such"? Is it an error to write like
ak>> this? My tongue puts "a" involuntary. ;)

ak>> Uraninum is such a fuel that it causes more problems
ak>> than benefits.

AH>> And my tongue agrees with yours there.... ;-)

ak> Thanx, for such a scrupulous answer. At once we can
ak> see a teacher whose feet itching to go to school. ;)

IMHO the English teacher's job involves helping people clarify both
their thinking & their language, because the two are interdependent. And I do
enjoy working with those who are receptive to the idea... [chuckle].

ak> So, when we use "a type of/ a sort of" (or can use it),
ak> we single out a notion to a special group. In short the
ak> rule is:

Your terminology, not mine! It seems to me that "rules" in English
often have exceptions which may be confusing... [wry grin].

ak> If we imply "a type of/a sort of" before an uncountable noun
ak> we put "a" as a reminder.

Maybe... OTOH you've done enough reading in English by now to begin
detecting patterns as native speakers do. Judging by how many of them use the
word "less" rather than "fewer" with countable nouns (e.g) unless they've been
taught not to, however, I doubt they'd be thinking as above. While I remember
the less/fewer distinction being pointed out to me in school, I don't remember
seeing or hearing anybody use the terms "countable" and "uncountable". You're
familiar with such terms because you've studied English as a foreign language.

Native speakers generally collect examples based on what they see &
hear around them, and draw their own (sometimes erroneous) conclusions WRT the
underlying principle. I experienced similar difficulties in grade eight while
taking a pilot program French immersion course. For a long time I thought the
teacher was referring to the back of the room when she kept saying "les belles
affiches"... meaning the travel posters on the wall.

With more traditional methods of learning another language you have
the opposite problem. You study the explanation of the "ablative absolute" in
Latin class & it appears to make sense. Then you have to answer ten questions
on the same topic, and by the time you get to the fourth question you've found
an example which doesn't fit. I wasn't a brilliant student in Latin either...
but it did give me some idea where my modem buddies in Russia are coming from.
And I know if I've forgotten the name of a verb tense in English I can consult
the message somebody once posted as a joke in the RUSSIAN_TUTOR echo.... SmileWink

--- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
* Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)


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