4

Which of the following is correct:

What a Weather!

or

What weather!

This grammar app I have (for SATs) says that the right answer is the first one, but I've never heard it used in regular speech. It also feels extremely awkward to say.

3
  • 5
    I'm a native American English speaker, and it sounds quite silly to me as well. If it were me, I'd be looking for a new SAT app.
    – Lumberjack
    Oct 13, 2013 at 4:41
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    I'm a native British English speaker and it sounds just plain wrong to me - as if the app was written by a non-native speaker (as it may well have been). But also apps cannot perceive all aspects of grammar - even when written by Microsoft. That's why all electronic grammar tools should be treated with healthy skepticism.
    – TrevorD
    Oct 13, 2013 at 12:51
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    Oh for gods sake throw away all "grammar apps". They're worse than spellcheck, they're full of bugs, and they're probly stealing your emails. Anybody can put any BS on the web and claim it's English grammar and somebody will believe it. English grammar requires a human brain in circuit to understand. Oct 13, 2013 at 18:06

4 Answers 4

5

Weather is a mass noun, also known as an uncountable noun, so it does not use an indefinite article. You are correct, the application is wrong.

2
  • For supplying the correct answer, it's also known as an uncountable noun, which the OP might be more familiar with. I also have my doubts about the validity of No.2 I would normally say: "What beautiful or awful weather".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 15, 2013 at 6:23
  • Yes, I usually call them uncountable myself, but my sources use the alternate term. Oct 15, 2013 at 6:32
0

But "weather" isn't a simple entiity - so "a weather" as a sole reference is meaningless.

-2

I agree, weather is an uncountable noun, therefore it cannot have an indefinite article. Be aware though that there are exceptions to this rule, like: What a pity! What a shame! etc..

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  • 1
    Pity and shame can be both countable and uncountable. They're not ‘exceptions’. Jul 25, 2015 at 16:46
  • @JanusBahsJacquet How can they be countable? "That's a pity" is OK but it feels like an idiom; how many pities are there?
    – Mitch
    Jul 25, 2015 at 16:57
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    @Mitch I'm not sure—ask Homer, he keeps talking about the Pities… Unless you're talking about the band, in which case there are a thousand. (The fact that it has a singular and a plural and can be used with an indefinite article by definition means that it is countable. That doesn't mean it has to represent something you can pick up in your hand and count one-two-three.) Jul 25, 2015 at 17:07
  • @Janus I don't accept that 'it may be used with an article' is a sufficient test for the countness of a usage. 'He spoke with an obvious enthusiasm' fails the numeral-test (*'He spoke with 2 / 6 / a dozen ... obvious enthusiasms') and involves a non-count usage according to CGEL. Jun 30, 2017 at 9:47
-3

Weather is always plural. It refers to many things at once. Using "a" denotes that it is singular and it seems like they have some robot that wasn't programmed right.

So let's take a more common phrase:

This is X weather. The word would be "some" not "a".

It is equal to say, "We sailed across a water."

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    Weather is neither singular nor plural; it's uncountable. Mass nouns agree with articles like plurals, but they can't be quantified like true plurals can. You can have five dogs but not five weathers. Oct 15, 2013 at 7:55

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