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I'm looking for a full and complete guide to English articles like THE, A, AN, (none).

Can anyone recommend me something like that? I'd like to finally learn this and never make a mistake again. Ideally, I'd like it to cover every single exception as well.

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closed as off topic by tchrist, kiamlaluno, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd, coleopterist Feb 21 '13 at 18:16

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Good luck with that. You can have a look at CGEL but even that won't help you much because your very approach is wrong. Reading dozens upon dozens of pages of complicated and interwoven rules will not ensure that you never make a mistake again. Not one native speaker has ever learned the language that way. –  RegDwigнt Feb 21 '13 at 10:37
    
@RegDwighт♦ I'm not far from knowing it fortunately but I'm just annoyed by exceptions :) Basic usage is clear but in certain situations a few versions seem to be correct. What approach should I take instead in your opinion? –  Paul Feb 21 '13 at 10:52
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Some of the more obscure cases are downright esoteric, (decisions to treat something as a synecdoche so that what would naturally be a becomes the can speak more of an individual's fascination with the object than it does grammar [hence means of execution are often "the [electric] chair", "the noose", "the gallows", "the guillotine" more out of awe than out of grammar]). The best advice I can think of is to try to figure out how the cases that seem strange to you relate to the normal, because most of them do in some way, but it isn't always easy (e.g. today's question about "in the car"). –  Jon Hanna Feb 21 '13 at 12:05
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The good news is that the stranger cases are generally cases where using the normal isn't incorrect (e.g. "a noose" above would be correct, only "a chair" wouldn't, because the elision of "electric" is slangy and produces an idiom). I shall muse on how to answer, though I'm not sure covering all cases is possible in a reasonably concise answer. –  Jon Hanna Feb 21 '13 at 12:21
    
@Paul You see, article use (and for that matter, use of any words that are predictable and come in several varieties) is all arbitrary. There may be, somewhere, a compendium of all the uses of articles in English; I once wrote one, myself, on generic use of articles. And it would be very interesting. But it wouldn't help you determine how you need to use the article in any but specific cases, and recognizing those cases would involve even more rules. If you stop thinking of them as exceptions (because there is no general rule) you'll be happier. –  John Lawler Feb 21 '13 at 16:03