Tagged Questions

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

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1
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2answers
126 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
436 views

usage of articles: definite article or zero article? [duplicate]

the Chinese invented the paper the Chinese invented paper I can't decide which article we get before paper — zero article or the. Are we talking about paper in general (so zero ...
1
vote
1answer
69 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
92 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
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2answers
1k 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.
3
votes
3answers
82 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 ...
4
votes
8answers
415 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
642 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
2k 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
3answers
180 views

An article before the word “Equation”

In many scientific papers, the article before the word "Equation" is omitted. Is there any grammar statement behind this? For instance: "Equation (8) contains various approximations, and we have ...
2
votes
2answers
184 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 ...
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?
0
votes
1answer
315 views

What part of speech are articles before possessive adjectives?

Today I was diagramming a sentence when I noticed something that confused me. I had a sentence that was basically like this: A parent's greatest concern is rearing his children correctly. ...
0
votes
2answers
57 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
1k 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
2k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
543 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
89 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
183 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
63 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
103 views

Quote from the Pirates of Carribean [closed]

Here's the scene. Jack and Angelica are in the captain's quarters on Black Beard's ship. They're both looking at a shelf full of bottles that have ships inside them. One of them contains Jack's ship ...
2
votes
2answers
399 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
317 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
71 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
235 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
161 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
182 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
78 views

Look to the south vs Look south? [closed]

Reading some grammar rules for this topic (points of the compass), there was one saying that if it is "where - asking for direction, not position, 'the' should not be used". E.g. Go west, the river ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

sow the seeds for (whence definite article? )

I have a quote from an article in The Economist: But they could re-establish a grip on large parts of the south and east of the country, give succour to al-Qaeda, and sow the seeds for a new ...
3
votes
2answers
89 views

Do I need an article here?

Which of the phrases is correct and why? "This document assumes a general familiarity with ..." or "This document assumes general familiarity with ..." Google search gives me approximately equal ...
-3
votes
1answer
114 views

Article in a phrase [closed]

I saw a phrase on the curb. Literally: "NO DUMPING. FLOWS TO BAY". Why there is no article before "bay"? Bay is countable, and I think article should be there. Or it may be Bay? (The curb situated in ...
0
votes
1answer
264 views

Who is “the superficial man”?

She possesses many other qualities prized by the superficial man. My understanding is—whoever says it, doesn't refer to himself by the superficial man. The superficial man is some ...
0
votes
1answer
723 views

Does every countable noun have to be preceded by an article?

The usage of articles is a little tricky for me. My question is do we have to add an article to every singular countable noun? For example: License is the credential for using various value-added ...
2
votes
2answers
217 views

use of article before the word onset?

It happened due to 'an' early onset of the monsoon or it happened due to early onset of the monsoon. Are both correct? Is one wrong? and if anyone know what's the rule. I did a google search, and I ...
3
votes
2answers
313 views

Can the definite article be omitted when referring to a person qualified by a noun?

Is there a difference between these references to a specific person: "The implication is clear: as the psychologist Jonathan Haidt said..." and "The implication is clear: as psychologist ...
2
votes
1answer
747 views

a part vs. part [duplicate]

part (mass noun) is close to "some", it means some but not all thing. a part (countable) is a separate piece of something that you can combine with other pieces. It has been always a problem for me ...
3
votes
1answer
640 views

Lots of questions for a lot of clauses!

I am confused over the use of lots of vs lot of. I am phrasing a sentence having the following clause : [Article] [lot-of/lots-of] [noun singular/plural] [verb] ... As an example : A lot of ...
1
vote
2answers
196 views

“Between a mother and daughter” vs. “between a mother and a daughter”

What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences? The relationship between a mother and daughter. The relationship between a mother and a daughter. I know both are ...
6
votes
2answers
285 views

Unorthodox article placement

In my English class yesterday we looked at the following example: Monica is such a beautiful woman. We learned that the above sentence could also be written as: Monica is so beautiful a ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Which is right — “all the three” or “all three” in a situation of specific objects?

Let's imagine, I'm speaking about someone's three specific cars, which are over there, there, and there. Now I'm saying that I have installed a new sound system in all of them. Which is right: ...
-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
363 views

Online checker for articles [closed]

I seem to have dropped most use of articles in my written English, however they seem to fall in correct(?) places in my spoken English. And as there are quite few of special cases when you would not ...
9
votes
2answers
381 views

“There is X” vs “There is a/an X”

1: There is a reluctance on the part of European companies to buy from American sources. 2: There is an emphasis on the organic roots of spirituality. 3: There is a tendency to make the ...
0
votes
4answers
208 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Omitting article “the” in front of plural nouns

I'm helping someone learn English (second language), and I'm having trouble explaining when to use the and when not to. For example: Students learn better when teachers are passionate about ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

articles in English [duplicate]

Most of the time I understand how to use articles, but when it comes to certain sentences I start to lose confidence. Could anyone please consider the following uses? In each case I am trying to ...