What a + NOUN PHRASE

Exclamative ‘what’ can precede the indefinite article and is, therefore, a predeterminer.  Here’s an example:

What a surprise!

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In the English Grammar Profile, A2 point 38 in the category of CLAUSES/exclamations:

‘What a’ + noun phrase and ‘What a’ + noun phrase + clause

However, in the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘what’ is listed at B1 for:

STRONG OPINION: used to give your opinion, especially when you have strong feelings about something
with examples:

  • What rubbish!
  • What a mess!
  • What an awful day!
  • What a beautiful soundtrack!
  • What an interesting fable!

This PELIC student example also includes a following clause ‘it was‘:

What a trip it was.

Japanese female level 5 grammar class.


An iWeb search for:

. What a * *

1 . WHAT A GREAT WAY 1759
2 . WHAT A WASTE OF 1402
3 . WHAT A GREAT IDEA 1092
4 . WHAT A WAY TO 1015
5 . WHAT A BUNCH OF 755
6 . WHAT A JOKE . 686
7 . WHAT A SHAME . 675
8 . WHAT A LOT OF 615
9 . WHAT A DIFFERENCE ! 432
10 . WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY 401
11 . WHAT A WASTE . 383
12 . WHAT A LOAD OF 366
13 . WHAT A MESS . 365
14 . WHAT A RELIEF ! 363
15 . WHAT A TIME TO 314
16 . WHAT A TREAT ! 298
17 . WHAT A JOKE ! 292
18 . WHAT A MESS ! 284
19 . WHAT A DIFFERENCE A 282
20 . WHAT A GREAT PLACE 250
21 . WHAT A WASTE ! 241
22 . WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT 237
23 . WHAT A GREAT TIME 235
24 . WHAT A SHAME ! 234
25 . WHAT A DEAL ! 228
26 . WHAT A RELIEF . 220
27 . WHAT A DIFFERENCE . 219
28 . WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY 213
29 . WHAT A PIECE OF 202
30 . WHAT A FUN WAY 199
31 . WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE 192
32 . WHAT A BLESSING ! 189
33 . WHAT A JOY TO 187
34 . WHAT A PAIN ! 182
35 . WHAT A SURPRISE ! 182
36 . WHAT A GREAT GIFT 176
37 . WHAT A GREAT DAY 175
38 . WHAT A JOY IT 174
39 . WHAT A CONCEPT ! 174
40 . WHAT A RELIEF TO 170
41 . WHAT A SHAME THAT 170
42 . WHAT A SURPRISE . 170
43 . WHAT A PAIN . 164
44 . WHAT A BLESSING TO 160
45 . WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT . 156
46 . WHAT A TREAT TO 156
47 . WHAT A PAIN IN 154
48 . WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE 151
49 . WHAT A GREAT PRODUCT 149
50 . WHAT A BETTER WAY 148
51 . WHAT A BLESSING IT 146
52 . WHAT A GUY ! 146
53 . WHAT A SHAME , 145
54 . WHAT A NIGHTMARE . 139
55 . WHAT A PERFECT WAY 139
56 . WHAT A GUY . 134
57 . WHAT A WONDERFUL THING 132
58 . WHAT A TREAT . 128
59 . WHAT A CONCEPT . 127
60 . WHAT A PLEASURE TO 126
61 . WHAT A MISTAKE ! 121
62 . WHAT A NIGHTMARE ! 116
63 . WHAT A GIFT ! 115
64 . WHAT A PITY . 115
65 . WHAT A GREAT GUY 112
66 . WHAT A WONDERFUL GIFT 110
67 . WHAT A GREAT JOB 108
68 . WHAT A GREAT FEELING 108
69 . WHAT A BUMMER . 107
70 . WHAT A MISTAKE . 107
71 . WHAT A PRIVILEGE TO 106
72 . WHAT A COINCIDENCE . 105
73 . WHAT A NICE SURPRISE 105
74 . WHAT A FIND ! 102
75 . WHAT A DAY ! 102
76 . WHAT A BARGAIN ! 101
77 . WHAT A TIME SAVER 101
78 . WHAT A COINCIDENCE ! 100
79 . WHAT A PITY THAT 100
80 . WHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA 100
81 . WHAT A GREAT THING 97
82 . WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT ! 96
83 . WHAT A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE 96
84 . WHAT A BLESSING . 93
85 . WHAT A PLEASURE IT 92
86 . WHAT A GREAT STORY 91
87 . WHAT A FANTASTIC WAY 91
88 . WHAT A WONDERFUL , 91
89 . WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLACE 89
90 . WHAT A SHAME IT 89
91 . WHAT A GREAT AND 88
92 . WHAT A NOVEL IDEA 88
93 . WHAT A CROCK . 85
94 . WHAT A RIP OFF 85
95 . WHAT A PITY ! 83
96 . WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA 82
97 . WHAT A GREAT GROUP 82
98 . WHAT A WONDERFUL SURPRISE 82
99 . WHAT A JOKE , 80
100 . WHAT A DIFFERENCE IN 80


A2:

brilliant,difference,fantastic,gift,guy,idea,mistake,off,

pain,perfect,piece,pity,pleasant,shame,story,surprise,way,wonderful


EXPERT EXAMPLE:

I thought: What a load of tosh.

thesun.co.uk

*higher-level language hides our grammar here.