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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

3
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are academic articles/journals/papers so hard to understand? [closed]

I am a university student, I have to read a lot of published paper and cite them into my paper, but I find it really hard to understand the articles. I am not an English native speaker, but I can ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Question re: use of “the” before government?

Should one use "the" before government? Bringing change in government and its policies" For a country's government's policies, should one use "the" before country name only for US and not India? ...
-2
votes
2answers
357 views

Wish you happy new year or (a) happy new year

I always use google with double quotes to get the answer for similar questions by looking at results number (assuming that the majority are correct), well, it is not the case here. In these days, we ...
4
votes
2answers
103 views

1 % of (the) GDP - with or without the article?

What is the correct form? I have consistently encountered both forms. Definite article: required, optional or wrong?
7
votes
3answers
489 views

Definite article before “cinema”?

I'd like to speak about cinema as an invention. Do we say The cinema was invented in 1895. or Cinema was invented in 1895.
2
votes
3answers
234 views

Use of article 'the' before author's name

Is is correct to write: 'Author Martin Amis describes...', or should we use the article 'the' in front of 'author'?
2
votes
1answer
633 views

Why do we use the article “the” with the Matterhorn (a mountain)?

The rule is that we don't use an article before the name of an individual mountain, only with the name of a mountain range. So why do we say "the Matterhorn" (a mountain in the Pennine Alps)?
1
vote
0answers
79 views

Which article must I use and why? [duplicate]

Would you please explain the difference between the following? The average American city requires a prodigious amount of fish daily. And: An average American city requires a prodigious ...
2
votes
2answers
82 views

Dropping articles in confirmation messages

When writing a confirmation message, (i.e. from a computer system) is it correct to say: "Item was modified" or is it necessary to include the determinate article: "The item was modified".
1
vote
1answer
149 views

Example where article reverses meaning

Adding "the" reverses the meaning in these two sentences: Alice is in charge of Bob. Alice is in the charge of Bob. What is the formal grammatical explanation of this difference?
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Indefinite article with a superlative in case of ties

Imagine there are several paths through a maze. Some path are shorter than others, and there can be several different paths with the minimal length. If I talk about a path with the minimal length (I ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Can indefinite article refer to anything within a list?

Please, help.. "There are pens on a table. Take a pen and write down the text" = Take one of those pens? "Here are some books. I know you like reading. Take a book and read it" = Take one of those ...
-1
votes
1answer
202 views

Missing article?

Should there be an article before the word cruelty in the sentence below? Nevertheless, Gandhi knew that cruelty was not the answer and stated, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

“life” vs. “the life” [closed]

my first question here. "The life seems to work for them": why did the author of this phrase use "the" before "life"? Does it have to do with meaning, vernacular or what else? Thanks
2
votes
2answers
793 views

Pronunciation of “the” before a long u sound

All my life I have been hearing and pronouncing /ði/(unstressed) in "the US", "the UK" and "the UN", but I'm not sure that was correct. How do you pronounce "the" before a long u sound? I searched ...
1
vote
3answers
63 views

Do I use “the” or “a”? [closed]

Example: "Time for the/a big one (referring to a big (important) rugby match)! Do I use the indefinite article a or the definite article the? Thank you!
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Usage of article while separated from noun

Folks, being non-native speaker, came across a phrase, and trying to figure out correctness: An Options Regulations Records Request has been issued by our company for your Firm. Should or should not ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Usage of comma and articles

I am not sure if the usage of comma and articles are correct in the sentence below. More specifically: is the comma justified in '... a Master of X degree, from XYZ ...' does 'a Master of X degree' ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

“You're missing the posts only available to members” — should there be a “the” in there?

Consider this sentence: You're missing posts only available to members. I think it should actually be You're missing the posts available only to members or at least You're missing ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Article usage and of phrase

Here are two examples: A: I heard there were those in this town who collect the LP. B: Yes, over there, Tom and Gina. They are the collectors of the LP you are looking for. In general, the ...
1
vote
1answer
399 views

Can I use indefinite article with superlative adjectives?

In most russian grammar books there is a rule saying that definite article must be used with superlative adjectives. However from time to time I see people using indefinite article. For example, a ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Use of articles in mathematical writing

I'm writing a section about some mathematical properties and have trouble with the use of articles (indefinite/definite/no). I could come up with the following variants, but don't know which one is ...
0
votes
2answers
61 views

indefinite article with proper names [duplicate]

Please help me decide which of the following two sentences in correct: Twenty-year-old Thomas Smith has been running his own business for already 2 years. A twenty-year-old Thomas Smith has been ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

I found a/the rule about [duplicate]

Please, help to understand the meanings of two sentences. 1) I found the rule about the usage of this pattern. The only rule I found at all was about this pattern ? About this pattern I found only ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Usage of some with plural nouns

Please, help me understand the grammar behind "some" and "zero article". As I know, we use zero article with plurals in the same cases when we use indefinite articles with singular - making general ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Use of ‘such a lonely work’ instead of ‘such lonely work’

A sentence of William Zinsser in "On writing Well" goes like this: “Writing is such lonely work that I try to keep myself cheered up.” Does it make any difference or is it a wrong usage if I use ...
3
votes
1answer
153 views

Can an adjective change the use of zero versus definite article?

I have a little issue with the use of zero versus definite article, since I tend to abuse the former one. Consider the following sentences: The issue described above influences the quality of ...
0
votes
2answers
80 views

Omitting articles in front of countable nouns

First off, I'd like to say "hello", as it's my first post here. Nonetheless, you guys have been helping me for quite some time, since I've been an avid reader. It's high time I asked a question that I ...
1
vote
2answers
91 views

using “the” when referring to languages

When should one use "the" when referring to a language and when is just the noun appropriate? e.g. At the end of a quote one may see "Translated from the German." What about, "Joe translated the ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Which article to choose in this situation?

On our company's website there's a list of projects. One of them can be chosen by clicking on the button Choose the project. In my opinion there should be a instead of the, because we are not pointing ...
0
votes
1answer
181 views

I love pictures on my phone. The pictures are nice

There is a set of sentences: "I love pictures on my phone. The pictures are nice." In a thread I love pictures on my phone - what does zero article imply? I was told that the meaning of the first ...
3
votes
2answers
280 views

When do you say “Earth” and when “The Earth”? [duplicate]

I'm reading the page on Wikipeda: Earth [...] is the third planet from the Sun[...] The Earth's human population is [...] Then the University of Tennessee's page The Earth is certainly the most ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Does a Parenthetical Adjective Change “a” to “an” When Appropriate? [duplicate]

Consider the following sentence: He pets a dog. If one wanted to suggest, as an aside, that the dog is excited, one might add that as a parenthetical adjective, as below. Would this change "a" ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

“The + noun + of” construction meaning specific instances

Help me, please, with the next question. There is a book "The rules of management". Does the construction in the title says to us that in the book are all the rules of management (that I can't ...
3
votes
3answers
213 views

“become a President” or “become President”

If he had not been a film star, he would not have become President. In my opinion, "a President" is correct. Examples: "My dream is to be a teacher" "My dream is to be a President" ...
0
votes
0answers
7 views

“a time” vs “the time” [duplicate]

Reagan's "The Speech" made half a century ago was titled "A time for choosing". When is "a time" more appropriate than "the time" in the context of making a momentous choice?
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Origin and usage of “a shambles”

"Shambles" is one of the few singular nouns in English that blatantly resembles a plural noun. What is the origin of "a shambles"? Why do we really need to prefix an "a" in front of "shambles"? Which ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Using article “the” when addressing a general category in an article [closed]

I am writing an English paper; (actually translating into English from a Persian source), where the topic of "ending" in story writing is discussed. Due to frequent use of the term "story", can I use ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is this sentence: “Additional nine features were added…” incorrect?

I am trying to explain to a colleague why the sentence: Additional nine features were added to the dig is incorrect. I have said you can say "An additional nine features...", "Nine additional ...
37
votes
7answers
12k 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: ...
1
vote
1answer
193 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
604 views

“a” and “the” before time markers

For my linguistics course I was asked to explain the difference in meaning of the following: 1. I would like to have lunch with you on Friday 2. I would like to have lunch with you on a Friday ...
1
vote
3answers
138 views

“cross this line” versus “cross the line”

This is written on a railroad platform: Is the English text OK? Or "cross the line" is better? Or both are equally correct?
0
votes
2answers
86 views

known as (a, the) - which article to pick?

A quote from the Economist: Part of this naturalistic approach is that the transistors in his systems often operate in what is known technically as the “sub-threshold domain”. May we use a ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

No article with plural - possible meanings

Please, tell me the meaning of the sentence: "There are books on my table. Books on my table are good." Does it mean: 1) All the books that are now on my table are good? 2) All the books I put on ...
0
votes
3answers
114 views

The + adjective + proper name

I recently noticed that the honorific "The Honorable" is often followed by just a name ("The Honorable James Lloyd") rather than a noun ("The Honorable Judge James Lloyd"). That seemed fairly ...
2
votes
3answers
20k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Generic Articles [duplicate]

I have a question about articles. I already know that there are three ways to express, with articles, generic meaning: (1) the + singular countable noun, (2) a/an + singular countable noun, and (3) ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Do I use “the” or “a”? How do I decide which article to use? [duplicate]

Do I need to put "the" in front of correlation and negative? We performed a correlation analysis to measure a correlation between job satisfaction and the shortage of nursing. We found that a ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

“An X or a Y” vs. “An X or Y”

You can create a web site or an application with your bare hands. or You can create a web site or application with your bare hands. ? Also, same for the definite article?