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Should there be an article before the word cruelty in the sentence below?

Nevertheless, Gandhi knew that cruelty was not the answer and stated, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”

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    No, cruelty is an abstract noun and therefore is not individuated. If you're speaking of the cruelty of a particular act by a person, it can be definite, but it can't be a singular count noun. Cruelties as a mass plural is not uncommon, but it just means a lot of cruelty (the cruelties of their captors). – John Lawler Dec 6 '14 at 23:28
  • You may find English Language Learners useful. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Dec 7 '14 at 2:11
  • No. Why do you think an article is needed? Have you got the intended meaning of the sentence correct? – Kris Dec 7 '14 at 5:41
  • In some languages, the definite article is used to differentiate between the verb form and the gerund/verbal-noun/participle form. Such that "She is-cruel to me" vs "Her the-cruel to me". – Blessed Geek Dec 7 '14 at 15:35
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Nevertheless, Gandhi knew that cruelty was not the answer and stated, "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."

In this sentence, the author is referring to cruelty in general, rather than a specific instance.


The Frankfort International School corroborates:

You use an uncount noun with no article if you mean that thing in general.

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