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Is there any difference between them!? If you google both: 1 and 2, the amount of retrieved results are very similar. I'd like to know if there's any (grammar) rule that makes it clear when to use an after such.

PS: I used amount only as a means of an illustrative example.

UPDATE (example using such [an] amount of money):

  • "provisions shall be deemed such an amount of money or indebtedness as bears the same proportion"

  • "on and after 2011, such amount of money as may be authorized by the Secretary of the Defense may be withheld temporarily..."

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1  
Ivan, can you give an example sentence where the meaning is ambiguous? –  Matt Эллен May 3 '12 at 20:52
    
Can you give here a full sentence for both? Give variations where you see fit, but at list give us more context. –  Mitch May 3 '12 at 20:53
    
If your question is "If I can use a general "article usage" rule even for SUCH" why don't you change the title? For example: " 'Such' number " or " 'Such a number' " - referring to 'amount' you introduce an ambiguous element –  user19148 May 3 '12 at 21:01
    
@Carlo_R. Sorry but I don't understand your comment. Why is the word "amount" ambiguous where the term "number" isn't? –  Paola May 3 '12 at 21:13
3  
@Ivan: There's no "rule" here - with words that can be either mass or count nouns (such as amount or noise) you have a free choice. If the word can only be a mass noun, such as havoc, you can't use the article (i.e. - we say "He caused such havoc", not "He caused such a havoc"). –  FumbleFingers May 3 '12 at 21:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Such an interesting question! Such thought-provoking remarks in the comments beneath the question!

Such comments make me wonder, what is the best way to answer such a query? Maybe a few things need to be addressed first, such as:

  • What is the meaning of such?
  • How is it used in conversation and such?
  • What is grammatical, and what sounds natural?

A good online dictionary, such as Wordnik, might help. There, we can find such a great number of meanings and examples, that it will become readily apparent that such a question is not so easily answered. English can be such a hard thing to fully grasp, particularly when dealing with such words – words that can be used in such a myriad of ways! After all, many words, though but one word, can be used as different parts of speech: adjectives, adverbs, pronouns and such; such is one such word.

Really, Ivan, you should go visit such a website, and behold the diverse ways such a simple word can be used. Such a curious man is bound to learn something from such a great smattering of examples!

which is to say, there's no EASY way to tell when to use "such", and when to use "such a" - the word is simply too flexible to nail down in such a fashion...

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such an answer! –  RainDoctor May 3 '12 at 22:31
    
such a such of such you have used, totally to say nothing. Hence -1 –  user19148 May 3 '12 at 22:46
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@Carlo_R. I guess @ J.R. used so many "such" to show how difficult is to properly apply the word "such". I don't think this is a dummy answer. It was a funny way to try to explain "such a" complex issue. by the way (just for fun...): "such a complex", or "such complex"?!... lol –  Ivan Machado May 3 '12 at 23:36
    
Why, thank you! Such nice compliments! –  J.R. May 4 '12 at 2:28
    
@IvanMachado: It is as FumbleFingers says, it depends on the plurality of the noun following. In this case it would either be 'such complex issues' (with issues plural) or 'such a complex issue' (singular) –  Jim May 4 '12 at 3:28

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