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(a) heavy rain Options
zhonglc2020
Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 12:39:53 PM
Rank: Member

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 113
Neurons: 768
Hello everyone,

1.There will be heavy rain in all parts tomorrow.
2.There will be a heavy rain in all parts tomorrow.
Suppose it is used for weather report.
Sentence 1 is normal while 2 is wrong.

I'd like to know why natives can instinctively know it is wrong.Maybe---
(1)“a” implies there is at least another "a"--- I mean there is more than one shower involved. So it is contradictory.
(2) "a" means "a certain".So it doesn't make any sense.
(3) "a heavy rain" seems to mean people have never experienced it. It is something new. So it doesn't make sense.
...


What's the real reason?


Many many thanks.




coag
Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019 4:37:47 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/27/2010
Posts: 1,254
Neurons: 6,755
I did an Internet search and I wouldn't say that "a heavy rain" is incorrect. Here are some examples.

What the garden needs is a good, soaking rain.
A light/heavy rain began to fall.
(Webster)

A number of studies, including this one from 2010, have found that emergency room visits for gastrointestinal distress increase after a heavy rain.
(The Atlantic)
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:07:52 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,267
Neurons: 60,793
zhonglc2020 wrote:
Hello everyone,

1.There will be heavy rain in all parts tomorrow.
2.There will be a heavy rain in all parts tomorrow.
Suppose it is used for weather report.
Sentence 1 is normal while 2 is wrong.

I'd like to know why natives can instinctively know it is wrong.Maybe---
(1)“a” implies there is at least another "a"--- I mean there is more than one shower involved. So it is contradictory.
(2) "a" means "a certain".So it doesn't make any sense.
(3) "a heavy rain" seems to mean people have never experienced it. It is something new. So it doesn't make sense.
...


What's the real reason?


Many many thanks.

To say there will be heavy rain in all parts tomorrow is understood to mean there will be the "possibility" of heavy rain in some parts. The reasoning is that this is a weather forecast, so it always has some chance of being wrong. Also, it will be understood that this isn't possible across the whole country.

But the major problem with saying, "There will be a heavy rain in all parts tomorrow" is that this is saying there will absolutely be "a" heavy rain which will cover the entire country tomorrow; a situation that is extremely unlikely. Therefore, it would be thought silly by a native speaker, and as a weather forecast, something to not take seriously.



Romany
Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 6:08:37 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 16,071
Neurons: 50,951
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

A little cultural difference here:

I know nothing about American weather reports but elsewhere:

"There will be heavy rain tomorrow" means it will rain.
"There is the possibility of rain tomorrow." means it may rain or it may not.

As for it not being possible to predict rain for an entire country? That is entirely subjective and depends where you live. In Australia, Russia, China this would be unlikely. But in Wales, Monaco, Belgium , Liechtenstein, Tahiti, Andora.....small countries and islands, it is perfectly feasible.

As a native speaker I would find nothing exceptional or silly about it: but would find "a heavy rain" a rather strange thing to say in the context of a weather report.
zhonglc2020
Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 11:12:39 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 113
Neurons: 768
Thank you all.
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