Should I put "an" to describe "knowledge"



I am trying to post an advertisement, which is:

Job opportunity:

A company located in XXX needs employees.
Requirements: some knowledge about NoSQL (preferable Couchbase) and elasticsearch. (It doesn't need to be an advanced knowledge)

If anyone interested, kindly send an email to this address XXXXXXXX

My question is should I put "an" in the "an advance knowledge"? Or not?

Marco Dinatsoli

Posted 2015-07-12T09:36:49.010

Reputation: 2 634

1You can say an advance knowledge. See the above link. – Khan – 2015-07-12T13:47:02.190

1But... "some knowledge about NoSQL" should be "some knowledge of NoSQL" . – Brian Hitchcock – 2015-07-13T10:02:41.810

@Khan "an advance knowledge" is wrong, but only because it should be "advanced" in this context. – Nigel Harper – 2015-07-13T14:11:01.260



In English knowledge is a mass noun. For this reason it cannot combine with an indefinite article.


However, the uncountable nouns, when they are preceded by an adjective or followed by a phrase will take the indefinite article:

a good knowledge of French

a sadness that won't go away

Lucian Sava

Posted 2015-07-12T09:36:49.010

Reputation: 11 342


Not true - in some cases it can. For example "He has a wide knowledge of painting and music" is the 2nd example under definition one in the OALD:

"An advanced knowledge" is perfectly fine.

– Nigel Harper – 2015-07-13T14:09:20.550

That will do fine @NigelHarper! Thanks for the correction! -:) – Lucian Sava – 2015-07-13T15:10:36.960

IMHO, the edited answer is still misleading. For example, work is uncountable, according to this answer, when it's preceded by an adjective, for example, tedious, work will take the indefinite article--that is, we should write a tedious work. That doesn't sound quite right. – Damkerng T. – 2015-07-13T15:40:29.817

Lucian Sava, I think you should say ".......or followed by a clause, not a phrase. – Khan – 2015-07-13T18:31:35.067


As a general rule, mass nouns don't take the indefinite article. However, some mass nouns, though uncountable, can be used in the singular by taking the indefinite article. Knowledge is one of them that can take the indefinite article, especially when you limit its meaning in some way by using adjectives. Some examples are given below:

  1. I have a thorough knowledge of history.

  2. He has a wide knowledge of painting and music.

  3. He has a limited knowledge of French.

  4. I have a reading knowledge of French.

So you can say an advanced knowledge.


Posted 2015-07-12T09:36:49.010

Reputation: 26 261