I am not sure if the following sentence is correct:
I do not like a small talk.
Should it be “a small talk” or “small talk”?
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According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:
: light or casual conversation : CHITCHAT
They made small talk while waiting for the meeting to start.
It is a compound noun with the idiomatic meaning and needs no article here.
I do not like small talk.
suggests that 'small talk' is the noun, that type of conversation that is used when you just met someone etc. about inconsequential topics.
I do not like a small talk.
allows the interpretation that 'small' is serving just as an adjective. As in
I do not like a talk which is small.
Which meaning are you intending to express?
The expression a small talk is not wrong, it is acceptable in the following cases
“I need to have a word with you in private” is similar in meaning to
“We need to have a small talk about [ __ ]” (a brief conversation)
Or when it refers to a presentation
She gave a delightful small talk about Chippendale furniture
From Google Books
I went for a walk and then suddenly I saw my uncle and we had a small talk” said James.
We arrived after some of the people were gone; but some returned, and I gave them but a small talk, being very weary in walking down the mountains, and over rocks.
Just looked at him. Then he sat forward again, his fingers interlaced in front of him, and he smiled. “I think my cousin and I need to have a small talk.
I intended to keep my conversation with the mysterious non lotus-eater on a small talk level but either the context of what he said, or at least the way he expressed it, kept me consistently intrigued.
In one of my many dream I had, […] I was in my underwear, standing in front of a music stand and expected to give a small talk.
The noun–small talk–without the article, has a different meaning. This is a meaningless conversation that you generally have with strangers or acquaintances to help pass the time or overcome an embarrassing or prolonged period of silence. If they are someone you casually know, you might inquire about their work, their health, or their family. If they are complete strangers then you might talk about the weather or if they are familiar with the area/bar/club, e.g. Do you come here often?
Polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions. Oxford Dictionaries
- ‘The awkward small talk is as communicatively insipid as the first time you asked someone out on a date.’
- ‘On social occasions, small talk on neutral topics is appropriate and modest gifts are given.’