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

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2
votes
2answers
208 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
3answers
7k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

The article “the” before messages

He shouldn't have posted the PM's that were meant to be private. [PM = Private message] Is the above sentence correct if we are talking about specific messages? Suppose that, on a forum that I am ...
0
votes
2answers
64 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
243 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 ...
0
votes
5answers
829 views

“I'm Spanish” or “I'm a Spanish”?

Which one is correct? I am quite sure about "I'm Spanish", but is it wrong if I add an "a" before "Spanish"?
1
vote
1answer
87 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
2answers
67 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
86 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
438 views

Why do some people prefix people's names with “the”?

Lately I've been seeing a trend that I find disturbing for some reason, mostly in Indian publications but also in some American ones - prefixing people's names with "the". For example: The Mr. Gandhi ...
1
vote
2answers
134 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
533 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
78 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
107 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
87 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
504 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
2k 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
4answers
851 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
3k 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
224 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
271 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
138 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
353 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
58 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
2k 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
679 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
91 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
2k 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
240 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
64 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
110 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
510 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
484 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
78 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
260 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
68 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
179 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
206 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
210 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
79 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
270 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
93 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
117 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
307 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
851 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
276 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
383 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
1k 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
804 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 ...