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

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4
votes
2answers
6k views

Can I start a sentence with a singular noun with no article?

For example, which one of the following sentences can I use? Consumer of Product X needs to fill out a rebate form […]. Consumers of Product X need to […]. A consumer of Product X needs to […]....
1
vote
4answers
416 views

Is it “comedy” or “a comedy”?

For example in this sentence, do we need an article before comedy? Improv is essentially [a] comedy.
10
votes
1answer
30k views

Rule on absence of the article “the” with plural nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Definite article with plural nouns I recently reviewed (as I believe, rather thoroughly) the rules of using articles in English and I do not recall any rule on absence of ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

Why does English need an article before any noun?

In my native language, we can say: I have dog Because I don't want to say a dog (one dog, how many dogs) or the dog (that dog, the listener don't care which dog). p.s. after 3 years later, I ...
0
votes
1answer
147 views

Should “the” precede “word”?

What is the rule on using articles in front of "word"? For example: Please remove the word "judge" from your vocabulary.
2
votes
4answers
458 views

Is “What is bounty?” grammatically correct?

Jeff Atwood argues that "What is bounty?" is correct here, but is this really the case?
1
vote
1answer
982 views

Should I use 'a' or 'an' when the following word is within parentheses? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “a/an” preceding a parenthetical statement I'm asking a question on Stack Overflow now, and I'm unsure about this: I have an (Ruby on Rails site's) API ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it necessary to use “the” multiple times?

It seems that the question has eventually become a series of questions.... Question 1 An example goes as: The 1st and (the) 2nd paragraphs of the article are extremely long. Is it necessary ...
1
vote
2answers
318 views

Issues with articles

Do I need an article in these sentences (marked in bold)? And in the message, I asked for her e-mail address and suggested the time and place. A list of items required at the interview (...
3
votes
2answers
397 views

Use of 'the' before human voice

Which is correct? The fascinating features of human voice OR The fascinating features of the human voice Is there a rule or is it another difference between American and British ...
7
votes
6answers
38k views

Is it 'a usual' or 'an usual'? Why? [duplicate]

is it 'a usual' or 'an usual'? 'A usual' sounds more correct in my head ('Today was a usual day.') than 'an usual', but u is a vowel. Which one is correct and why?
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it correct to write “a 5-mm-thick layer”?

Do I need hyphens? Should I use the indefinite article or zero article?
5
votes
2answers
12k views

Should “an” be used before words beginning with “h”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “A historic…” or “An historic…”? Should an be used before words beginning with 'h'? What about when the 'h' is silent and is followed ...
1
vote
2answers
754 views

on Wall Street vs on the Wall Street

Why is the article before "Wall Street" extraneous?
7
votes
2answers
17k views

Difference between “society” and “the society”

I am not very clear on the difference between "society" and "the society". As far as I know, "society" (without "the") refers to a society that is more general. But I don't have a clear distinction ...
1
vote
2answers
975 views

About the use of the definite article “the” before a word starting with capital letters

I am writing a scientific paper. I have made several assumptions which are properly ordered. When I cite them, shall I use, i.e., "... by the Assumption 1,..." or simply "... by Assumption 1,..."?
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Definite article — “on television” vs. “on the radio”

Why are these different? We heard the news on the radio. We watched the news on television. In this book, the author says we must use television without the. Why? It makes me crazy. Is ...
0
votes
1answer
5k views

What are the rules of capitalization and article usage with building names?

What are the rules for building names? In particular, does the word "building" need to be capitalized when a part of a building's name? How about article "the" - what are the rules for using it as a ...
0
votes
0answers
162 views

Rules for articles usage [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any simple rules for article usage (“a” vs “the” vs none) Is there a good rule for articles usage? I just don't get it and everytime in ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “if winning isn't everything then why do they keep score” a correct sentence?

We wanted to use this as a T-shirt quote, but I feel that "if winning isn't everything then why do they keep score" is wrong. The correct sentence should be "if winning isn't everything then why do ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Why are words such as “that” and “those” not considered articles?

According to Wikipedia (disclaimer: of course I realize that Wikipedia should not be regarded as an absolute authority, but I generally consider it to be a fairly accurate and reliable resource): ...
11
votes
1answer
6k views

“An SQL Server database schema” or “a SQL Server database schema”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? I got the following sentence from the book I'm reading: You can take a database-first approach by ...
0
votes
0answers
184 views

A becomes an before a word beginning with a vowel, does this apply to u? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” Is it “a uniform” or “an uniform” In spoken English we do say: He is an unhappy person But I ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Missing articles?

Aren't some articles missing in the following sentence? ... when traditional pattern of landscape became established. Or is it something else that is wrong with this sentence? Context.
6
votes
2answers
342 views

Why Should One Capitalize Titles When Publishing?

What is the motivation behind capitalizing the first letter of each word except prepositions in news, articles and blog post titles?
13
votes
1answer
1k views

“A” vs. “An” in writing vs. pronunciation

When starting a word with a vowel, the preceding "a" becomes an "an". I often find that when writing words that start with letter "N" or "M", I will pronounce them "EN", "EM", etc. (This is because in ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

Difference between 'all' and 'all the'

I came across people using all the in sentences instead of all. Select the type of user to view all the users of that type. All the users of the selected role are displayed. I usually strike ...
22
votes
4answers
42k views

Is it “a uniform” or “an uniform”? [duplicate]

On a Physics specification, it says: 6.7 Know how to use two permanent magnets to produce a uniform magnetic field pattern. Isn't it "produce an uniform magnetic field", or is the existing "...
1
vote
2answers
296 views

Articles when talking about something certain, yet unmentioned before

The same sentence as in question Articles in conjuctions: As a result, hosting in IIS 5/6 is notorious for instability and the frequent need to reset the server or IIS 5/6. As far as I ...
4
votes
1answer
261 views

Articles in conjuctions

The following is taken from a book: As a result, hosting in IIS 5/6 is notorious for instability and the frequent need to reset the server or IIS 5/6. In the context above, why doesn't "...
75
votes
10answers
7k views

“A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement

When a/an precedes a parenthetical aside (sometimes seen in informal/conversational writing), should the vowel rule depend on the first word in parentheses, or the next word in the "regular" flow of ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

“Ate cheeseburger” or “ate a cheeseburger”?

Which of the following is correct? Ate a cheese burger last night. Ate cheese burger last night.
2
votes
0answers
192 views

an SQA or a SQA? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Although I am clear about the usage of 'an' and 'a' on most cases, but I am not sure how they are applied in ...
45
votes
8answers
16k views

Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?

I can’t for the life of me figure out where to use a and where to use the — and where there is no article at all. Is there a simple rule of thumb to memorize? The standard rule you always hear: “...
6
votes
5answers
347 views

“The” for superlative referring to more than one object

Which one of these sentences is correct? The best countries to live in are ... Best countries to live in are ... EDIT: The reason this question is being asked is that this Wiktionary ...
9
votes
2answers
9k views

Using “the” before ordinal numbers

When learning English I was told that ordinal numbers should always be used with "the" before them. But I often see that this is not always so strict, for example I heard the phrase "April first" ...
11
votes
1answer
592 views

Does absence of articles in computer-related sentences look natural?

I'm a non-native speaker (actually from Russia) and for us the articles (a, an, the) came as a thing that we just have to adopt. We do not have not similar constructions in Russian. Menus I see in ...
169
votes
7answers
97k views

Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms?

99% of the time, I'm clear on when I should use "a" versus "an." There's one case, though, where people & references I respect disagree. Which of the following would you precede with "a" or "an," ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

New Oxford American Dictionary describes “the” as an adjective

When I look at the definition given from the Mac OS X Dictionary (I have set American English as interface language, and the dictionary used is then the New Oxford American Dictionary), I read: ...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

Definite article with plural nouns

Are there cases where the definite article is used with a plural noun, or is it a rule that the definite article is never used with the plural of a word?
105
votes
15answers
95k views

When should I use “a” vs “an”?

In the following example, is it appropriate to use a or an as the indefinite article, and why? He ate __ green apple. I know that in the case of just "apple", it would be "an apple," but I've ...