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

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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
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2answers
510 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
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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
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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
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1answer
164 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 ...
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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 ...
0
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1answer
101 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
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2answers
346 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
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2answers
258 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 ...
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2answers
65 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
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1answer
224 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 ...
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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
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1answer
155 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
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1answer
168 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
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1answer
174 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 ...
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1answer
77 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
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2answers
122 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
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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 ...
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1answer
113 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 ...
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1answer
245 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
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1answer
652 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
199 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
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2answers
275 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
618 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
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1answer
587 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 ...
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2answers
183 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
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2answers
276 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 ...
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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: ...
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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" ...
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1answer
318 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
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2answers
376 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
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4answers
190 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
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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0answers
69 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 ...
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10answers
1k views

Why is it ‘A God,’ not ‘God' in Mark Sanford’s “I want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances, but third, fourth, eighth chances”?

There was a quote of ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in his victory speech in the House vacant seat election in the New York Times article (May 13) written by Gail Collins under the title ...
3
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3answers
843 views

Use of the definite article “the” before “church”

I was in a Teacher's selection for a school in my country, and one of the coordinators said that she heard a mistake from another teacher that was unacceptable. I tried to figure out why was that, but ...
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2answers
75 views

When modifiers precede, is ‘wounded’ used without ‘the’?

. . .she tended Hungarian wounded returning from the Russian front and casualties wounded in American bombing raids. (The Telegraph) When there are modifiers before 'wounded,' is it used ...
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2answers
396 views

The article: communicative function [closed]

Okay, this might come across as a fairly stupid question, yet I have to know this. Does anyone know what the communicative function of 'the article' is? For example, if we consider 'must' and 'have ...
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0answers
42 views

Is the English correct? What's the best translation or interpretation? [duplicate]

I'm reading a technical IT document that can be found here. So, the question is, in the phrasebelow: A challenge password is it correct write "a" instead of "an"? Why? What is its' best ...
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1answer
776 views

use of articles with personal names modified by adjectives

Suddenly, to everybody's surprise, the silent Mr.Smith swung around and addressed Barbara. The dinner was served by a silent Mrs. Keats. I saw an infuriated Jennifer, who started shouting at ...
0
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1answer
71 views

articles when not to use [duplicate]

Which of the following sentences are correct? Although it lives in all oceans and most seas, it prefers temperate and polar regions. Although it lives in all oceans and most seas, it prefers the ...
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2answers
522 views

Must a non-proper noun that starts a sentence be preceded with an article?

I'm doing some research in NLP, and thought you guys would be the best to ask this. When looking at an English sentence, it is sometimes hard for a computer to distinguish between proper nouns, such ...
1
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1answer
101 views

Using stressed “the” to emphasize outstanding noun

I'm not a native English speaker and sometimes I encounter article "the" used in stressed form before some noun or name, mostly in movies, like "That's not the gun, that's THE gun" or "He is THE ...
1
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1answer
296 views

Zero article in a concessive adverbial clause

Which of the following two expressions is better? A doctor by training as he is, he has proved himself to be a successful writer. Doctor by training as he is, he has proved himself to be a ...
0
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2answers
120 views

Usage of the article 'a' before bait in this particular instance

Is it acceptable to use the article 'a' before 'bait' in this sentence? Is there a difference in meaning here when you use 'a' or drop it? "You would not have sent it to me for no reason. It was a ...
2
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2answers
144 views

“He feared a U.S. invasion” vs. “He feared U.S. invasion”

It it accurate to say this? He feared a U.S. invasion. Or should I say, He feared U.S. invasion. I'm trying to figure out when to place "a" in front of the U.S. when U.S. comes with a noun ...
3
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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 ...
2
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1answer
120 views

Article usage on word 'default' when the context is known

This question excludes 'default' used in court or 'a default' for an indefinite future (e.g. setting a default option). My question pertains to circumstances where the context behind the question or ...
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votes
1answer
300 views

An Ozibox user OR a Ozibox user is correct? [duplicate]

Which one is better and why? 1) Are you an Ozibox user? 2) Are you a Ozibox user? Ozibox is the name of a web application
0
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4answers
224 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 ...