Use this tag for questions about the usage of articles (e.g. a, an, and the).

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3
votes
4answers
54k views

Is saying “I had a fever” correct?

I'm sure this might have been asked, but couldn't find it, so forgive me if it is a duplicate. Is saying "I had a fever" correct ? I've also heard people saying "I had fever", but don't ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

The article “a/an” with uncountable nouns

Sometimes I read in books sentences where uncountable nouns are used with the article "a/an". For example She fades like a dew before the sun. Is it out of the common rules? Sorry if this ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does English have an indefinite article? [closed]

I've seen many non-native speakers of English not making use of indefinite articles, presumably since their first language did not contain them. Thinking about this, and about the fact that even in ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

How to use articles? When to use “a”, “an”, “the”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any simple rules for article usage (“a” vs “the” vs none) When should I use “a” vs “an”? Can anyone explain to me when and where to ...
5
votes
3answers
14k views

“At the time” versus “at that time”

If I want to say that during the accident there were no passengers, how do I phrase it? There were no passengers at the time. There were no passengers at that time.
0
votes
0answers
166 views

Why shouldn't we say “an user”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word X-Ray? As far as I understood, you prefix "an" instead ...
4
votes
2answers
18k views

“On grounds of” vs. “on the grounds of”

Here's the sentence from Wall Street Journal: ...eight individuals have been deported on grounds of national security. Instead of this, if one says, ...eight individuals have been deported ...
0
votes
2answers
329 views

finding proper article for a sentence [closed]

I want to write the introduction of a story It goes like this , A guy... some bitterness, some talks, some love ... and a break up or the break up what should I write here ?
8
votes
3answers
10k views

Dropping articles in the title (of an article or a section) or in the caption (of a figure or a table)? What's the general rule?

It is said that "To give added punch, articles are often dropped in the titles" Source: http://www.davidappleyard.com/english/articles.htm Is there any general rule or reference about dropping ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

When does “nature” require an article and why?

I was wondering about a sentence like this: If nature were to design a bicycle, how would it look? Is nature missing an article? Should it be "a nature" or "the nature", or is it correct as is? ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

In “Are you staff?” does “staff” need to be preceded with an article?

Is it appropriate to say "Are you staff?" when asking someone if they are a staff member, or do you need to say "a staff"? This is regardless of any slang possibly incurred through either spoken, or ...
8
votes
2answers
22k views

“During summer” vs. “during the summer”

What is the difference between saying "during summer" and "during the summer"? As in: I work during the summer. I work during summer. Are both common? Is my feeling correct that the ...
1
vote
3answers
137 views

“Had entries” or “had an entry”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: "Only those who qualify will be awarded a certificate" or "Only those who qualify will be awarded certificates"? In this question, there is a part ...
6
votes
1answer
446 views

Use of definite article in “the more” and “the less”

Why is the definite article used in expressions like the more and the less? For example, The more you study, the more you know. The less you study, the less you know.
-2
votes
2answers
733 views

“Win the lottery”, “win a lottery”, “win lottery” [closed]

Should it be win the lottery or win a lottery or just win lottery? The sentences below sound the same to me. Are they? I lost $5000 to lottery. I lost $5000 for lottery.
3
votes
3answers
25k views

“Simple is best” vs “Simple is the best”

As a foreigner, using articles is one of the most difficult part. What is the difference between "Simple is best" and "Simple is the best"? When I googled it, both appeared with many results, so it ...
1
vote
1answer
214 views

Is “the” required in “Welcome to [the] premier issue of”?

In the premier issue of a new magazine I saw today, the first line reads "Welcome to premier issue of Vegas/Rated." I was thrown by the lack of some other word preceding "premier". It could have an ...
1
vote
1answer
206 views

Is “in an utter attempt” correct?

I think I have heard, and I think to understand, the phrase "in an utter attempt". I want to say something like "In an utter attempt for brevity, I will summarize each chapter in one sentence". Is ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Does one apply “to university” or “to a university”?

Is one of these more correct? I will apply to university next year. I will apply to a university next year. Also: I go to university. I go to a university.
41
votes
8answers
7k views

Why is there no plural indefinite article?

The takes either a singular or a plural subject. A/an only takes the singular. When we pluralize a noun preceded by an indefinite article, we simply drop the article (sometimes replacing it with ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

Which article would be correct in this instance? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? What article should be used directly in front of an acronym that begins with 'N?' Since the pronunciation ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

Use of definite article before phrases like Heathrow Airport, Hyde Park, Waterloo Station, Edgware Road and Parliament Square

In this related question (Definite article with proper nouns, titles followed by a common noun), the OP asks if it is grammatical to use the definite article before phrases like Advanced programming ...
-1
votes
1answer
346 views

Correct English: “An L.V.” or “a L.V.”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “a” or “an” for words that don't start with vowels but sound like they're starting with a vowel Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Does one use 'a' or ...
11
votes
5answers
321 views

What is the radical difference between ‘this’ and ‘a’ when telling a story?

The following quotation is a line from Ron to Harry after the first stage of the Triwizard Tournament. (p359, Harry Potter 4, US edition) “You were the best, you know, no competition. Cedric did ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

“Is key” or “is the key”?

I wrote this: This means that, as with any distributed application, concurrency is key: we have at least one flow of execution per node running concurrently with all others, and [...] I was told ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“To be elected chairman” vs. “to be elected the chairman”

I have a question regarding the correct use of the definite article "the": One of my books says: Definite article the is used before nouns denoting a position that can be held by one person ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

A or an XML report? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word 'X-Ray'? Quite simply, should a sentence read "a XML report" ...
3
votes
3answers
206 views

Why don't we need “the” in “from lack of sleep”?

From lack of sleep Since we're talking about a specific lack, namely lack of sleep, it seems that the article the should be there. That is, From the lack of sleep.
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Which is correct: “full context” or “complete context”?

"For the full context, see this." vs. For the complete context, see this." Are both identical in meaning? Do I need the article "the"? Please explain.
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“Some same thing/person”

I wonder if it is correct to say "some same thing/person", in order to mean some thing/person same as the one just mentioned earlier? If not, what is the correct way to express the meaning? My ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Superlatives with “the”

What is the rule regarding using the with superlatives? For example: John is the fastest among his friends. John is fastest among his friends. Both appear to be correct. I have seen ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Use of “them” as an article, not a pronoun

I've seen a lot of times the pronoun them used like an article. For example, in the title of the Delta Rhythm Boys Them bones, or in the first sentence of "Money for nothing": Now look at them ...
3
votes
2answers
335 views

“A dual nationality” vs. “dual nationalities”

Which one is correct? He has a dual nationality. He has dual nationality. He has dual nationalities.
1
vote
1answer
224 views

“a” or “an” in this situation? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “A” vs. “An” in writing vs. pronunciation Use of “a” versus “an” I know that "an" should be used when a word is ...
4
votes
7answers
5k views

City names with articles

Typically we don't use articles with city names, e.g. "Seattle" and not "the Seattle." I know at least one exception though which is The Hague. Are there any other city names which we use with the ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it correct to say “one out of *a* possible four”?

I am curious if it is correct to say "one out of a possible four". This is what I found in a publication: Discrete level (one out of a possible four), corresponding to a range of safety ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Should it be “a established” or “an established”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” I have always been using a established. The CPM is a established theory that explains......... But when reading ...
2
votes
0answers
698 views

How did the definite / indefinite articles develop? [closed]

Russian, I believe, has no definite or indefinite article. How did it develop in Latin languages, particularly English? Would English be much poorer without it?
4
votes
2answers
616 views

What is the articulatory logic behind the “a/an” rule in English?

Is there some articulatory reason behind why we choose to preface consonant sounds with the article a and vowel sounds with an? The reasoning I've read in the comments somewhere, I don't remember ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Do I need to put “the” before “most” in this sentence?

Is putting “the” before “most” in this sentence compulsory, optional, or a mistake? Fascination with language and attention to particular regions and communities in America are the most common ...
7
votes
5answers
6k views

Is the phrase “man is mortal” grammatically correct? [closed]

Or, must it be "Every man is mortal"? How about "Tree is mortal"? In another sense, "A detailed description of a man", "A detailed description of man" or "A detailed description of Man"?
2
votes
2answers
457 views

Use of 'The' in names containing 'Of'

Names, often, are related to places or regions like Mahmud of Ghazni Christopher of Bavaria My questions are: Are such names always related to people from political backgrounds (Kings, ...
6
votes
1answer
37k views

Article when there is an adjective before a noun [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” When to use a or an before a noun when there are adjectives before that noun? like the following example: An operator ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Correct pronunciation of “the” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Is pronouncing “The” as in “Thee” still correct in titles? What is the pronunciation of “the?” What would be the correct way to ...
0
votes
0answers
458 views

which is correct “a ear” or “an ear”, conversely “a year” or “an year” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is correct- “A Year” or “An Year”? Use of “a” versus “an” A(n) ear vs. a(n) year in speaking is very confusing, please clarify.
0
votes
1answer
15k views

What is the rule for using “a” or “an” in a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “A user” or “an user”? Use of “a” versus “an” If I remember correctly back to my school days, the rule is to use "a" ...
0
votes
2answers
138 views

“A first post” — makes sense or not?

I once knew a person who titled the first post in his blog, "A first post." It was immediately pointed out to him that correct usage is "The first post." To that he responded: Well, every blog has ...
1
vote
1answer
317 views

“Bad weather doesn't exist” vs. “The bad weather doesn't exist”

Should it be: Bad weather doesn't exist. or The bad weather doesn't exist.
7
votes
2answers
969 views

Definite or indefinite article in “the/a devil's advocate”

I can't quite figure out which of the following expressions is more correct: He is the devil's advocate. He is a devil's advocate. He is playing devil's advocate. The combination of an article ...
5
votes
2answers
589 views

What are “a” and “certain” adding in meaning to the phrase “a certain Mr. Ripley”?

Consider the following sentences: I had my identity stolen by Mr. Ripley. and I had my identity stolen by a Mr. Ripley. and I had my identity stolen by a certain Mr. Ripley. In what ...