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

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2
votes
3answers
18k 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
19 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
61 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
41 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?
0
votes
0answers
32 views

What is the difference in meaning between the sentences? [duplicate]

"She works in the paper business." "She works in paper business."
2
votes
2answers
76 views

the function of “the” in the following sentence.

The following sentence is from NY Times. "Another corporate structure being exploited now more than ever is the master limited partnership." In the sentence, the concept of "master limited ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

Was “an unicorn” ever correct?

According to Biblehub and Bible Gateway, King James's Numbers 23:22 says: God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. I don't have a hard copy to check. Is that ...
3
votes
3answers
974 views

Why isn't a definite article used before “a labyrinth”?

The following is from NY Times. "The decline is the result of the rise of untraditional business structure, the effects of a more globalized economy, and a labyrinth of subsidies and tax ...
2
votes
4answers
258 views

About the definite and zero article meaning generic concepts

I have been having a trouble with the idea of the definite article meaning generic concepts. Recently, I came upon a question asking which one is correct between " The Chines invented the paper" and ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

The definite article implying the generic idea of something

I know that the definite article "the" can be used to mean a generic idea of something as in "the lion is the king of the animals." In this sentence, the in "the lion" is used to imply the general ...
1
vote
2answers
683 views

With passion for … or with a passion for

I am looking at the following sentence and can not understand whether I have to use a or not. I am a ... with [a] passion for ... . From my point of view passion is a noun and therefore it should ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Boris Group or 'the' Boris Group? Is article omission an error?

From a native speaker standpoint, would it look OK if a company whose name follows the "X Group" pattern omits the use of the definite article when presenting itself on its website, like this (name ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Indefinite articles and ordinals [closed]

I was told that when ordinals are used (e.g., first, second, third), the noun they modify should use the definite article "the" (e.g., "the second phenomenon", "the first study on physics"). Are there ...
1
vote
1answer
270 views

when do we omit the article in an OF-phrase? [duplicate]

When do we omit the definite article THE at the beginning of a phrase and for what reason? Removal of skin or the removal of skin. Could someone give some examples?
2
votes
2answers
100 views

Use of articles

I'm not sure whether this is the right forum to post my question. In my job I frequently come across instances where the article in front of a common noun used for a person is omitted. Example: ...
41
votes
5answers
11k views

Why can we say 'an American' but not 'a British'?

I am confused with the use of an indefinite article in front of British or Chinese. To my understanding, we can place an indefinite article in front of any “countable noun”. So, we can say a cup and ...
0
votes
1answer
372 views

It has a meaning vs. it has meaning [duplicate]

Sometimes I'm really confused with articles. I'd say 'everything has a meaning' but it seems that for some reason most people tend to say 'everything has meaning' instead. However, I've come across ...
2
votes
1answer
188 views

What is the meaning of 'to be recessed 0.2mm in area shown' in a drawing

What is the meaning of 'to be recessed 0.2mm in area shown' in a drawing
36
votes
8answers
4k 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
143 views

“I went into a restaurant, and the waiter…”

"We went into a restaurant. And the waiter introduced us to seats upstairs." In this sentence, when the speaker said "the waiter," does it necessarily mean there was only one waiter and he/she showed ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Is the word “the” required in “…fundamental for the successful functioning…”

The sentence is this: I believe that contributing to the scholarly community is fundamental for successful functioning of academic institutions and progress of scientific research. Does ...
0
votes
0answers
55 views

The best time to go out for (a) dinner [duplicate]

I'm not sure why in some situations articles are not going before a noun. E.g. I found this sentence: The best time to go out for dinner. Why is not here a dinner? This link says that we don't ...
0
votes
1answer
160 views

Article “the” with relative clauses [duplicate]

I am not confident about my judgement as to whether or not "the" is required if a relative clause is used in a sentence. For example, The data can be collected on all the computers on which the ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Article necessary with “secret”?

Is it necessary to use an article with the word secret? For example: Teach your children not to keep problems, games, or other activities a secret. or Teach your children not to keep ...
0
votes
2answers
107 views

“In this paper, we describe the/an environment…” — should I use “the” or “an”? [closed]

I am trying to decide which should be more correct grammatically in the abstract of my paper. In this paper, we describe an environment. . . . or In this paper, we describe the environment. ...
8
votes
2answers
5k 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" ...
4
votes
4answers
809 views

“Most” vs. “most of”

During most of history, humans were too busy to think about thought. Why is "most of history" correct in the above sentence? I could understand the difference between "Most of the people" and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
57 views

A century ago vs. century ago [closed]

I would like to know which one is correct and if both are correct what is the difference. I want to say that some work was done more than 100 years ago. Do I say "This was done more than a century ...
-1
votes
2answers
147 views

It is time for “a next step” or “the next step”?

Which form is proper: it is time for "a next step" or "the next step"?
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do people support/oppose the death penalty (with article), but oppose/support abortion (no article)

Why is the article the used when talking about the death penalty, but isn't used when discussing abortion?
0
votes
1answer
588 views

“A person” versus “some person”

What is the difference between: There is a person in the room. There is some person in the room.
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Necessity of “in” and “the”?

Please let me know which sentence is correct. I have faced the first and third one in the Longman dictionary, but dictionaries are prone to typos and errors. So I couldn't be sure which one is correct ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Indefinite Plural VS Indefinite Singular for stating general facts, properties, etc

Is there any nuance in the two sentences below if I want to state a general fact about cars ? A) Cars have 4 wheels. B) A car has 4 wheels. The question above is also a question to itself. So can ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Using “the/a/an” with “and” and “or” [duplicate]

Suppose I need to mention two nouns in a phrase so that they are joined with either "and" or "or". Do I use "the/a/an" with the both of the nouns or just with the first one?
0
votes
2answers
221 views

What's the difference between the grape, a grape, grapes? [closed]

I'm a non-native English speaker. If I want to say, "The green grape is my favorite fruit." is it okay? And is the sentence above different from these two? "A green grape is my favorite fruit." ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Articles with “calls” and “stories”? [duplicate]

I'm responding a test. I write a correct answer: I was telling the stories this time yesterday. He isn't answering the calls at the moment. Is the use of the definite article in these ...
0
votes
4answers
215 views

Articles for words that function as both a verb or a noun

Do I need to include an article (if yes, which one) before words that can be either a verb or a noun? For example, consider "install." Do I say "After inserting the disk, you need to run install" or ...
-1
votes
1answer
172 views

Definite article or none in “…at Taipei Zoo” or “… at the Taipei Zoo”?

"Come see the baby panda, Yuan Zai, at Taipei Zoo" "Come see the baby panda, Yuan Zai, at the Taipei Zoo." In my opinion it should be the second choice. It belongs to a specific location ...
3
votes
3answers
256 views

There are seven days in a/the week [closed]

What is correct and why? Both, or only one of the following sentences? 1 - There are seven days in a week. -> One single week consists of seven days. 1 week = a week = 7 days. 2 - There are ...
-2
votes
1answer
64 views

Do I use an article if the word is combination of a proper noun and a common noun?

Do I use an article if the word is a combination of a proper noun and a common noun? For example, “Microsoft website.” Would I say “I need to go on the Microsoft website” or “I need to go on ...
0
votes
2answers
140 views

Is the use of the indefinite article 'a' with the word 'staff' considered standard [closed]

The word staff can apparently refer to a member of a group of service personnel. (Dictionary.com mentions this as one of the meanings of staff: a member of a staff.) I was wondering how native ...
3
votes
2answers
308 views

Why the indefinite article in “my son has a swollen left eye”?

"My son has a swollen eye." is correct English, meaning only one eye is swollen, out of two. But why do we say "My son has a swollen left eye" rather than "the swollen left eye", even though he only ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

Theorem about uniqueness of solution

I want to write down such a theorem. Theorem. Strong existence and pathwise uniqueness hold for Equation (8). A unique solution is a continuous Markov process. I have a question concerning the usage ...
9
votes
1answer
888 views

Omission of “the” in “elected him president” and “made captain”

Why is there no the before president and captain? They elected him president. She was made captain of the team.
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Definite article – usage of 'the' dependent on context [duplicate]

Which of the three articles (a/an/the) would the blanks in the following sentence take? It is not unusual for ____ editor to tamper with _____ writer's manuscript. I think it should be 'an' and ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

AE vs British English usage of hospital [duplicate]

We all know that Americans say: Sara is going to the hospital While in the UK, they would say (and Americans would never say): Sara is going to hospital I'm wondering what the history of ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

Problem in recognizing correct definite/indefinite articles out of context [duplicate]

I have read some grammar points about definite/indefinite articles, but I still have problems recognizing the right choice in questions requiring them. I know sometimes I can omit articles but I don't ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

How specific does a noun have to be to have “the”

Consider these two sentences: Houses are expensive in that neighbourhood. ― All houses are expensive in that neighbourhood. The Houses are expensive in that neighbourhood. ― Not all houses are ...
0
votes
2answers
312 views

Which is right and why: Why do people go (to zoos/to zoo/to the zoo)?

I couldn’t find these explanation of exactly how the rules of articles apply in questions like this: Why do people go to zoos? Why do people go to zoo? Why do people go to the zoo? It’s not a ...