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

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2
votes
2answers
84 views

How do I refer to a geographical area outside Britain (use article or not)

I am not a native English speaker. In a scientific paper I'm writing, I refer to geographical areas in Belgium: Kempen, Hageland. In Dutch, an article is used when referring to these areas: "in de ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Which is correct, “from a young age” or “from young age”? [closed]

Consider this example: People tend to understand and use sarcasm from a young age. People tend to understand and use sarcasm from young age. Which one of these is grammatically correct ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

Indefinite articles and job titles [closed]

Why do we use indefinite articles in sentences as follows: John is a doctor. Mary is training to be an engineer. He wants to be a dancer.
0
votes
2answers
62 views

What article should I use here? [duplicate]

I do not understand what should be here: He wants to be able to see all users whose data he has an/the... access to.
1
vote
2answers
114 views

Article - “a” or “the” or plural for countable nouns?

I think a countable noun are usually of the following 3 forms: the + countable noun (single form) a + countable noun (single form) countable noun (plural form) I am confused about which to pick ...
4
votes
8answers
344 views

encapsulating a positive thing among many negative things

Is there a phrase that encapsulates 'this is a positive thing among many negative things'? Context: I need to find a name for an article I am writing - which is about how a person turned everything ...
0
votes
1answer
75 views

'In the event of fire' or 'in the event of a fire'?

In the event of fire,... In the event of a fire,... I see both variants ondifferent Web pages and I cannot understand which is correct. Could you please explain it to me.
0
votes
3answers
80 views

Some employees or all of them (Articles)

-Have your heard anything about Nick? -Yes. He found a job in a Swiss company. (The) employees don't like him much though (The) employees. Does the absence or the presence of a definite article ...
1
vote
2answers
487 views

Zero article before the word “part” - what is the particular reason for this?

Please consider the following sentences: "It's part of the life." "It's a part of the life." What is the difference in the meaning between these sentences? Why is it allowed to omit the article in ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Difference between “an” and “one”

Forgive me if I miss something very obvious; English is not my native language. I am currently taking an online (sort of) Math class that aims to teach creating/writing unambiguous Mathematical ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

a / the balcony

-How did you spend your last summer? -We rented a house in Finland. I went out a lot but my parents spent half of the time on a/the balcony sunbathing. If the house has got 2 balconies, then I ...
31
votes
5answers
9k 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
2answers
118 views

Indefinite article with substances

Which one of the following is correct? If both - what is the difference? In an optically thin gas ... In optically thin gas ... For example: We consider radiative equilibrium in (an) optically ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

The Mt.Fuji vs Mt.Fuji. When do I use “the”? [duplicate]

Why do we say The Amazon river and not The Mt.Fuji? For example, I climbed Mt.Fuji. I swam in the Amazon river. I hiked along the Silk road.
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Articles in English, the use of “the” and “a” [duplicate]

The following are sentences I picked up from newspaper articles. "A smiling Ichiro Suzuki(a popular baseball player) talked at the interview through an interpreter." "The 22-year-old XXX (a popular ...
-1
votes
2answers
854 views

What's the difference between “I have the ability to” and “I have an ability to”

What's the difference between the following? I have the ability to speak English. I have an ability to speak English.
2
votes
3answers
74 views

Of + articles + general references

1) a) A roof of a car is made of many different materials b) The roof of a car is made of many different materials 2) a) The branch of a tree will make decent firewood b) A branch of a tree will ...
0
votes
4answers
217 views

Why “the ipad” and not simply ipad [duplicate]

From what I've learned, special names don't get definite articles. (I should admit that the use of articles in English is very tricky) For example, we say Apple but not the Apple to refer to the ...
3
votes
2answers
938 views

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

I am a university student studying hospitalities and business English,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 ...
-5
votes
6answers
1k views

Have there been any movements/tendencies to remove definite and indefinite articles from English in the recent history of English?

My question is if there were some "movements" that propose to remove definite and indefinite articles completely in the last 100 or 200 years (or even more older). E.g. "a book" will be just "book" ...
3
votes
1answer
987 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
4answers
499 views

Why is 'the' before winter season?

In my opinion, 'the' is a definite article. It emphasis saying "that one only". Why then 'the' before winter season. There is only one kind of winter season. There cannot be different kind of winter ...
2
votes
2answers
529 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? ...
4
votes
5answers
17k views

Is it 'a usual' or 'an usual'? Why?

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?
5
votes
7answers
1k views

The + vowel sound

I've been told that when "the" is proceeded by a vowel sound, like "apple" or "hour", it's pronounced as "thee" and not as "thu". But after listening to a couple of songs, I noticed that sometimes ...
2
votes
2answers
141 views

**in** an equilibrium or **at** an equilibrium

I often search for valid collocations using google with a specific query phrase. In case of the phrase in question, i.e. in/at an equilibrium I have a problem since both seem to be used almost equally ...
1
vote
2answers
62 views

“The” usage on a subjectively modified known location

In the following sentence, It was great meeting you at X-Event in [the] beautiful Monterey Bay. is [the] required by grammar, or is it optional? It sounds more fluid and poetic without it but ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

Why no “the” or “a” here?

I had asked the man in wardrobe to take a photo of me. Why is it that there's no articles before the noun wardrobe?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

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

Do I need hyphens? Should I use the indefinite article or zero article?
0
votes
4answers
186 views

The meaning of “the” in a standalone “the greater”

Often I read that "X's quality Y was the greater by virtue of Z", which makes perfect sense as a result of me being used to this form of expression, but not when I am now trying to understand what is ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Article 'a' altering the meaning of a phrase

Recently, at work, I had an argument with a colleague on the use of article 'a' in the sentence: "Active i is just 'a' little more than a smaller and cheaper Activa." In the sentence, he meant that ...
0
votes
1answer
846 views

“in the summer” or “in summer”

Both are correct forms when we talk about seasons of the year from what I learnt. But is there any difference between "in summer" and "in the summer"?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “a/an” an example of liaison in English?

French there is a process called liaison, where final consonants are omitted unless the next word starts with a vowel. Would it be accurate to say that the English indefinite article (a/an) is an ...
2
votes
3answers
922 views

Need for using the article “the” before “United States of America”? [duplicate]

Usually, we do not use the definite article, the, before names of countries but we use the before "United States of America". Is there a specific reason for using the article before the country ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

confused about the use of the [duplicate]

This is the first sentence of an introductory paragraph Translation of scientific texts has a long history in North Africa. Does it sound right? Should it be: The translation of scientific ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

“Act as a decoy” vs. “act as _ decoy”: The Case of the Vanishing Article

A quote from The Economist: This was also the young woman—she was 19 or 20 then—who could turn her aircraft over and dive full-throttle through raking German searchlights, swerving and ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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
158 views

“a high enough” vs. “high enough a”

After editing a question recently, the OP undid those edits stating he did not like the bad changes I made with regards to the grammar of the post. The author originally wrote: Nobody in this ...
11
votes
2answers
9k views

Is it “a user” or “an user” [duplicate]

Since user starts with a vowel shouldn't we use "an" ? I've seen many cases of using "a" .
0
votes
0answers
35 views

article before (vowel) consonent [duplicate]

When the text is written as Once upon a time there was ... (old) man. The parenthesis indicates that it could have been old or otherwise. That is the word old can be omitted or used. Which ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Boilt or boiled

Which word should be used here; 'boilt' or 'boiled'? When the mother came home, the dinner had already been boilt/boiled. I know that prepared/cooked/done are correct options, but I had to ...
2
votes
2answers
334 views

'of all the reasons' vs. 'of all reasons'

Given: Of all ____ reasons for my decision to become a university professor, my father's advice was ____ most important one Which of the following choice is correct? A: the; a B: /; a C: ...
6
votes
2answers
235 views

“the average person” vs “an average person”

There's a question in a forum I frequent, and I'm trying to decide whether "the average" or "an average" is appropriate in its title. Let's say the question is: "Why is the average Canadian ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

Indefinite article doubt preceding “one-to-one” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? While I was reading a book, I faced the following sentence: There is a one-to-one correspondence between the ...
0
votes
2answers
64 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
218 views

Plurals + The + Prepositions

I'm pretty sure I have to use the in 'The people/citizens of this city speak a dialect' but when I try to use another preposition, instead of of, it doesn't seem right. I don't know why. Do I have to ...
1
vote
2answers
66 views

“The machine” when referring to vending machine as source of candy

In an episode of Seinfeld, when asked where he got the Junior Mints he's eating, Kramer answers "from the machine". Would it be correct to say that in this case, "the machine" refers to all types of ...
7
votes
5answers
38k views

“In recent years” vs “in the recent years”

Do we write in the recent years or in recent years? For example, In the recent years, the influence of blablabla on blablabla has grown rapidly. In recent years, the influence of blablabla ...
4
votes
1answer
168 views

“(zero article) failure” but “the departure”: articles before mass nouns

A quote from The Economist: In Iraq failure to reach a similar security agreement led to the sudden and premature departure of all American forces. Here we have two nouns which may be either ...
0
votes
1answer
166 views

Choosing a proper article or word for metaphor [closed]

I'm a breaking wave, because I can't get away from the sea called the world. I'm the breaking wave, because I can't get away from the sea called the world. Which article is proper for metaphor? The ...