'Places near the equator have warm weather even in the cold season.' Why is the article 'a' incorrect before 'warm weather'?

  • Your question is almost a copy of “It was an awesome weather.” Is this sentence correct?. Pity it was closed.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 7:09
  • Possible duplicate of "It was an awesome weather." Is this sentence correct? Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 10:19
  • @EdwinAshworth I think Clare's answer is good but is it good SE policy to suggest "closed questions" as candidates?Bear in mind, the question has one deletion vote in its favour so it might be deleted in the not too distant future.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 10:26
  • @Mari-Lou A It depends on various factors. The answers etc at the candidate 'duplicate' are pretty comprehensive IMO. / This question is probably about general article usage rather than the finer points of using the indefinite article with noncount noun usages (She has a knowledge of French and German). If so' I'd say it shouldn't be on ELU. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 11:01
  • @EdwinAshworth my bad, the linked question doesn't have a vote to delete. That it shouldn't be on EL&U is a fair assessment...but then again neither should 60% of the questions asked today but if the posted answers reflect EL&U's standards maybe questions shouldn't be closed as hurriedly as they sometimes are.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 11:08

1 Answer 1


Weather is a mass noun, which means it cannot take the indefinite article a/an alone.
The article "a" can only be attached to mass nouns when a quantifier specific to the noun is used.

A spell of warm weather.

Other examples of mass nouns include air, grass and happiness.

  • This isn't a reliable rule, in either direction. The count-noncount differentiation hinges on the availability of using a numeral in the usage [CGEL]. Thus 'A subtle light flooded the clearing' (but not *'Three subtle lights flooded the clearing') / 'The state gave me a good education' (but not *'The state gave me two good educations'). 'I have an understanding of the principles involved' (but not *'I have two understandings ...') / 'I felt a strange warmth' (but not *'They felt two strange warmths') all show noncount usages. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 10:14
  • 'He has an excellent knowledge of Italian' can't possibly be classed as a count usage according to the authors of CGEL. Take a look at the duplicate. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 10:20
  • @EdwinAshworth I don't really understand what you're trying to say, but mass nouns can't take the indefinite article.
    – as4s4hetic
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 8:29
  • You're missing a vital piece of the explanation in the linked ODO article: 'usually '. See my answer here. Quirk et al (p 252) have 'It can be argued that some nouns, like weather, are neither count nor noncount, but share features belonging to both classes ...'. Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 8:58

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