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
0answers
53 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Slogan for a drapes manufacturer, which is correct? “Dressing the perfection” or “Dressing Perfection”?

I work at a factory that manufactures drapes and window treatments, and we hired a marketing team to revamp our corporate identity. The slogan they came up with is: "Dressing the Perfection" To me ...
4
votes
4answers
225 views

Is there a rule concerning nouns with foreign articles?

I'd like to know if there is a rule concerning the usage of "the" preceding nouns already including a foreign article. For instance, should a restaurant called "La trattoria" be referred to simply as ...
1
vote
2answers
188 views

strong will or strong wills? [closed]

Idiomatically we do say "a strong will". But can we say "strong wills"? The context is The optimism and (the) strong will(s) of the handicapped children touched me deeply. Also, do I need a "the" ...
3
votes
1answer
632 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
votes
2answers
552 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Use (or non-use) of articles before abstract nouns

I know I have asked a similar question before but this time I have examples taken from COCA and they do puzzle me. I would love to hear explanations from native speakers. The following (incomplete) ...
2
votes
3answers
194 views

Choice of articles: the reduction/ a reduction /reduction

I am often confused about the use of articles before abstract nouns. Are the following three sentences all grammatically correct? If so, what differences are there, if any, in their meaning or nuance? ...
0
votes
1answer
183 views

What kind of noun is 'splurge'?

I was reading a grammar book the other day, it was mentioned to omit articles "before names of substances and abstract nouns (i.e uncountable nouns)." The nouns splurge and howler are abstract nouns ...
3
votes
2answers
267 views

Sometimes the article precedes the noun and not the adjective

I have a question that baffled me for a while now, and I'd be a happier person for an answer. Why in sentences such as It's not that big a deal. And He was as nice a friend as you were. Or ...
3
votes
1answer
285 views

What articles can I use with “maximum/minimum [noun]”?

There's a short piece of text whose heading is as follows: Maximum variability and openness The variability and openness should refer to the features of an application. Which article ...
0
votes
1answer
170 views

Small Question Regarding Article the or a [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any simple rules for article usage (“a” vs “the” vs none) I always don't understand which one to use, a or the or nothing. I got a ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Origin and usage of “a shambles”

"Shambles" is one of the few singular nouns in English that blatantly resembles a plural noun. What is the origin of "a shambles"? Why do we really need to prefix an "a" in front of "shambles"? Which ...
5
votes
2answers
526 views

Indefinite Article Preceding Noun “Wind”

It's common to say "a gentle wind", but is it OK to say "a wind"? I just noticed that there's a novel named "A Wind in the Door", in which case I guess "A" could be used here due to the modifying "in ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

The article “a/an” with uncountable nouns

Sometimes I read in books sentences where uncountable nouns are used with the article "a/an". For example "She fades like a dew before the sun". Is it out of the common rules? P.S.: Sorry if this ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

“A dual nationality” vs. “dual nationalities”

Which one is correct? He has a dual nationality. He has dual nationality. He has dual nationalities.