When i look up the word"sheer" in the 7th edition oxford advanced learner's English-Chinese Dictionary,it gives me an example sentence"The concert was sheer delight",but i think there should be an indefinite article "a" before "delight",because i think it's more reasonable that "delight" means something that gives you great pleasure here,and it should be used as a countable noun. Here is the photos i take of my dictionary: the example sentence of "sheer"

the definition of "delight"

  • 3
    I see nothing wrong with it. "Delight" can be countable or uncountable.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 23, 2019 at 1:44
  • 2
    Both "a sheer delight" and "sheer delight" are good English, imo. Without the article, it strikes me as a kind of figure of speech, where the sentence is exaggerated beyond merely saying that "a delight" is an attribute of the concert, but the concert is equated to the sensation of delight itself.
    – Greg Lee
    Mar 23, 2019 at 1:48
  • 1
    What Greg Lee said, plus a sentence that sounds much better without the "a": "The hike from the summit back to Camp Four in the storm was sheer terror." You would not say "a sheer terror" in this example.
    – ab2
    Mar 23, 2019 at 2:49
  • You dictionary definitions actually seem to say explicitly 'delight' can be (definition one) '[U]' uncountable, or (definition two) '[C]' countable. It can be an uncountable feeling or a countable thing.
    – fred2
    Mar 23, 2019 at 4:18
  • Thank you all.Here is my understanding of this:If i want to emphasize my feeling to something when using "sheer",it will be better not to add an article before the emotion word like delight,terror,tragedy,etc.Is that right?
    – user323406
    Mar 23, 2019 at 5:02


Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.