My friend from the USA posted on her Facebook timeline:

"Perfect day for a walk"

I was wondering if there is a rule for not using an article at the beginning of the sentence? I thought that you must put an article in front of a singular, countable noun.

Plus, can you suggest me any good software or an online tool for grammar check, especially articles. I use Grammarly, but it's not so precise, including this issue.

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    Good job you asked that! Well, no, actually it's not. It wouldn't make any difference whether your friend included a leading article in her post or not - it's still an example of "This sentence no verb", in a context where it's irrelevant to query that particular aspect of "grammar". – FumbleFingers May 22 '18 at 13:18
  • So you are telling me that I don't have to use an article as far as sentence doesn't have a verb? But also I can, right? So "A wonderful cooperation" and "Wonderful cooperation" are both correct? – Miki May 22 '18 at 13:29
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    No. I'm telling you your example isn't really a "sentence" at all, since it doesn't even include a verb (it's just a noun phrase). So it's not really useful as an example when considering the grammatical implications of whether to use an article or not. – FumbleFingers May 22 '18 at 13:40
  • In colloquial speech, it's common to drop things like it's a as here or do-support in questions: "[Did you] Find your keys yet?" – KarlG May 22 '18 at 14:10
  • Ok, giving the full sentence like : (An/The) Excellent cooperation, and commitment to all the details agreed upon. Here I have to put an article? Which one, in this very situation (service review)? P.S. Please correct me, if I made mistake anywhere. – Miki May 22 '18 at 14:10

There are two ways to parse the noun phrase

Perfect day for a walk.

as a declarative sentence with ellipsis:

[It’s a] perfect day for a walk.

or as a nominal exclamative:

[What a] perfect day for a walk!

Linguists Paul Portner and Raffaella Zanuttini argue such noun phrases need not be parsed as omitting anything at all, but are a distinct type of exclamative in its own right.

This argument has logical appeal: such expressions are so common in spoken English that it seems superfluous to add something in analysis that is never present in the phrase itself. Put it back in and it becomes a different construction. The nominal exclamative can easily omit a determiner:

Great wedding! Nice car! Wretched weather today! Fantastic performance!

or include it:

[A] great crowd tonight! [A] long way to go yet! [A] beautiful dress she wore to the Oscars!

If these exclamatives are transformed into any other type: declarative (without ellipsis), interrogative, or a what-exclamative, then the article is obligatory according to standard rules:

Was there a great crowd tonight?
There was a great crowd tonight.
What a great crowd tonight!

An exclamative need not be spoken with great affect to be classified as such, and I am only using an exclamation mark to indicate that the expressions are not mere noun phrases fluttering in the breeze, but are complete expressions.

Given the special nature of this type of exclamative, it would be unwise to apply this omission of the indefinite article as some general rule of English usage.

  • All I can say is: model answer. – Tuffy May 22 '18 at 19:26
  • @KarlG So I mustn't, but I also can use an article in front of a (sg. uncon.) noun, in these "shortened" sentences. Is that a case for all the sentences where the beginning of the sentence is "missing" or just for these short answers? Example: [What a] wonderful cooperation and commitment to all the details agreed upon. So I can start without an article - Wonderful cooperation... or with an article - A wonderful cooperation and / The wonderful cooperation... – Miki May 22 '18 at 20:45
  • Cooperation is uncountable, so not "What a…" This sort of exclamative is usually fairly short. "Wonderful cooperation and commitment!" would be OK. – KarlG May 22 '18 at 22:59
  • Grammarly suggests that I should use an article in front of "wonderful cooperation" (longer version, with verbs - not exclamative)...that's confusing. – Miki May 23 '18 at 15:29

Many Americans write and speak in notations - incomplete sentences that carry a synoptic accounting of meaning or sentiment. They often lead to questions of; i.e., 'Did you?', 'Will you?', 'Why don't you?'. or forms of agreement/disagreement; i.e., 'Yes it is.', 'It is raining here.', 'I'll be inside all day.'. It is a informal remark. If you do not know English well enough, think of it as an opportunity to respond from your perspective.

  • This is a common trait of all language users, as far as I know. Not restricted to English or Americans. – user184130 May 22 '18 at 15:10
  • @Jame Random That may be true. That could be very inclusive of other languages. I need to speak from my POV though and not overstretch my knowledge to include languages that I do not speak. It is being authentic. – Norman Edward May 22 '18 at 15:31

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