Does this phrase get used in its metaphorical sense like in English? (i.e. You can infer the underlying cause based on the observed symptoms/signals)
Wouldn't you say "a fire" always refers to some specific local fire, like a bonfire, whereas "fire" is more generally the phenomenon of fire? Like the difference between "beer" and "a beer"? If so, I think "fire" is a better translation for אש than "a fire".
Sure, it may be better in a sense, but 'a fire':
- looks grammatically authorised to me (so perhaps distracting/misleading to mark as 'incorrect' ?)
- Is quite commonly used in UK English (See Google: "There is no smoke without a fire" site:uk )
The same are used as a metaphor also in my mother tounge: Ingen (no) røyk (smoke) uten (without) ild (fire). But actually I am not so sure it is a valid statement! There are smoke from your breath when it is very cold outside just because of humidity or temperature difference, there are mist that look like smoke in the mornings etc. So as reality not always is like one thinks at first sight, one should be careful not to misjugde metaphorically as well.....At least if one interpret the word fire narrowlingly not to include heaten up by the sun or by "burning" of calories etc.....