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ARTICLE. A omitted after "what," "such," &c.

A was sometimes omitted after "what," in the sense of "what kind of."

“Cassius, what night is this?

(A has been unnecessarily inserted by some commentators.)

“I'll tell the world
Aloud what man thou art.

“Jove knows what man thou mightst have made.

“What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears.

"What case stand I in?" (W. T. i. 2. 352) = In what a position am I?

What thing it is that I never
Did see man die!

We omit the article after "what" before nouns signifying a collective class, saying "what wickedness!" but "what a crime!" "what fruit!" but "what an apple!" Hence the distinction in the following: "What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid from the world! What corruption in this life that it will let this man live!"--M. for M. iii. 1. 240.

A is omitted after "such:"

“Showers of blood,
The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
It is such crimson tempest should bedrench, &c.

Here "such" probably means "the aforesaid," referring to the "showers of blood."

After "such" in this sense the indefinite article is still omitted; naturally, since "such" is used in a defining sense.

A is omitted after "many" in "Many time and oft" (2 Hen. VI. ii. 1. 93). Here "many-time," like "some-time," "often-times," "many-times" (MONTAIGNE, Introduction), seems used as one word adverbially.

A is omitted before "little," where we commonly place it in the sense of "some:"

“O, do not swear;
Hold (a) little faith, though thou hast too much fear.

It is perhaps caused by the antithesis which assimilates the use of "little" to the use of "much." "In (a) little time" (V. and A. 132) is to be explained as a prepositional phrase approximating to an adverb: see 89.

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