I thought the grammar terms such as 'subject' and 'object' were countable. But I notice that they can sometimes be used without any determiner.
For example, here's the first sentence of a linguistics paper (Prepositional phrases as subjects and objects):
The positions of subject and object in simple active sentences, and object of a preposition are normally filled by NP's but they can also be filled by PP's.
Does this mean that these terms can be uncountable nouns?
I have received these notable comments below:
It's the same as saying "The lion is (the) king of the jungle". A kind of generic use, I suppose. Notice the relational meaning conveyed by the of PP. Same with "Ed is (the) subject (of the clause)". – BillJ
@BillJ It think that both in your example, and in OP's, the word subject is a bare role NP. Same goes for King of the jungle. The preposition in the OP's role of subject seems to me to take a PC, not an Object (the 'role' and the title/moniker are the same thing). Note that we cannot freely use subject as an actual subject without a determiner. For example, "Subject is the phrase the man" won't work. What do you think? – Araucaria
It's not specific to these grammar terms. The position of Vice President is mostly ceremonial. – Barmar
The consensus of the comments seems to be that grammar terms are not peculiar in that they might belong to what @Araucaria calls "a bare role NP". I do see how the sentence "Subject is the phrase the man." doesn't work without any determiner for the word "Subject". But I also see that you can add either the definite or indefinite article in this modified example. (In order to simplify the issue, I have modified the original quote.):
a. The position of subject in a simple active sentence is normally filled by an NP but it can also be filled by a PP. [modified original]
b. The position of a subject in a simple active sentence is normally filled by an NP but it can also be filled by a PP.
c. The position of the subject in a simple active sentence is normally filled by an NP but it can also be filled by a PP.
Can the bare role NP normally be allowed to take the indefinite article as well as the definite article?