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I'm writing something and I'm not sure which one is correct:

  1. to have a control over
  2. to have control over

I googled and found many examples written by native speakers who in fact used the article with control, as shown below:

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    The examples you found should be ignored. Your first instinct was correct. Sep 14, 2016 at 4:08
  • I know that "control" is an uncountable noun and shouldn't be used with an article; I am just interested to find out if there are ever instances when an uncountable noun like "control" can be used with an article, considering the examples I found by native speakers.
    – S Jay
    Sep 15, 2016 at 13:00
  • I suggest you put that in the question. Please note, any "examples written by native speakers", should appear with links so we can see the examples in context. Sep 15, 2016 at 13:15
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    These examples are unexceptional. Non-count nouns can act as count nouns in various circumstances, and take articles or other determiners: a love that had no equal, my strange history and our stranger future, an ochre sand to replace the gray concrete. See e.g. When can uncountable nouns be countable? and older duplicates like The article “a/an” with uncountable nouns or Usage of an article in front of the structure “adjective + non countable noun.”.
    – choster
    Sep 15, 2016 at 16:44
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    Indefinite articles may be used with certain non-count noun usages in some circumstances (quite apart from countification having taken place, eg "I'll have a coffee / three coffees, please"). In 'He spoke with a great enthusiasm' the indefinite article is optional, though 'enthusiasm' cannot be considered a count usage here (*'He spoke with two / several / many [great] enthusiasms'). // This is another such example where 'a' is optional. May 9, 2018 at 14:52

2 Answers 2

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In a comment, choster wrote:

These examples are unexceptional. Non-count nouns can act as count nouns in various circumstances, and take articles or other determiners: a love that had no equal, my strange history and our stranger future, an ochre sand to replace the gray concrete. See e.g. When can uncountable nouns be countable? and older duplicates like The article “a/an” with uncountable nouns or Usage of an article in front of the structure “adjective + non countable noun.”.

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In a comment, Edwin Ashworth wrote:

Indefinite articles may be used with certain non-count noun usages in some circumstances (quite apart from countification having taken place, eg "I'll have a coffee / three coffees, please"). In 'He spoke with a great enthusiasm' the indefinite article is optional, though 'enthusiasm' cannot be considered a count usage here (*'He spoke with two / several / many [great] enthusiasms'). // This is another such example where 'a' is optional.

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