3

Macmillan Dictionary gives the following example sentence for the word "society" as a countable noun: "Good writing still has a place in contemporary society." (http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/society)

I know "society" can be used both as a countable and uncountable noun but if it is used as a countable noun in this sentence, why is an indefinite article not required (i.e. in a contemporary society)? Is it something to do with "contemporary"?

I hope anyone can help me with this question. Thank you!

  • 2
    In my view, the dictionary is wrong, and society is not a countable noun in that example (though it can be in other contexts). – Colin Fine May 12 '15 at 23:11
1

The dictionary erred when giving that example for the use as a countable noun. The example clearly is using it in a general sense rather than as a concrete, countable noun. We can change the example to fit as a countable noun by either adding an article or by making 'society' plural. "Good writing still has a place in contemporary societies." "Good writing still has a place in a contemporary society." As we can see, this changes the meaning. The word 'contemporary' has nothing to do with the countability of 'society'.

0

I believe that the article is omitted because society is being referred to in a generic, or general sense.

0

There are a large variety of nouns that are countable and do not require an article when used. Here's a resource which talks about some of them. It is particularly true when they are used with prepositions. Here are some common examples:

I want to travel across the country by car.
There are too many innocent people who go to prison.
At home, people tend to let their guard down.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.