There are two correct (I hope so) sentences with weather taken from a book:
- Was the weather nice?
- Did you have nice weather?
Can somebody explain why there's an article in the first sentence and there isn't an article in the second one?
Weather is a mass noun. When you ask about the quality of a mass noun using be, then it requires the definite article:
Asking about having a mass noun means you can keep or drop the:
It is important to note that these sentences mean different things. Sentence 1 is asking if, between a selection of honeys, the person had the nice one. Sentence 2 is asking if the honey that the person had was nice, but does not imply that there was a range to try from, that fact is not something you can determine from the question.
When we look at this construction with weather
Sentence 1 is semantically incorrect because weather is not something you can choose. However, you can modify the question to be, for example, about a previous aspiration and it then requires the definite article:
As you can see, this modification makes the second sentence grammatically incorrect, because aspirations require a specific instance to be talked about.
This is not a weather phenomenon, that might be what's confusing you. Consider:
The general constructs used here are:
In these constructs, when the noun is a plural noun or a mass noun (e.g., weather, water, beds), the article is generally removed. However, when the noun is singular (such as in last example – flight), the article is retained.
Regarding the first example (the one with food), change it to meal or meals, and see how pattern continues:
'the weather' is in reference to how it was at a paticular situation of place and time.
Without the article, it refers to the weather in general.
The first question is about a situation already mentioned earlier in another sentence.