Reply to "in a hurry and in haste"

Gustavo, Contributor posted:

Even if both nouns (hurry and haste) are abstract, "hurry" (just like "rush" in the phrase "in a rush") takes the article because it refers to a single instance of that situation. The article is used precisely to denote that.

Instead, "haste" does not seem to accept that kind of division into moments of haste but is used to refer to that situation as a whole.

Nice explanation, Gustavo.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:
I'm sure there are other cases like this in the language.

Yes. Another example that comes to my mind is "in a bind" versus "in difficulty." The two phrases are basically interchangeable, but the one has a countable, discrete meaning and the other an abstract, holistic meaning.

  • He found himself in difficulty when his car wouldn't start.
  • He found himself in a bind when his car wouldn't start.
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