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6
votes
1answer
6k 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) ...
1
vote
4answers
312 views

Why is there no article in “The Child is father of the man”?

The Rainbow by William Wordsworth: My heart leaps up when I behold A Rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is it necessary to use “the” before using verb+“ing” in specific contexts?

I am confused with whether it is necessary to use the before verbs in certain contexts. Like: The milking of a cow is not a painful process at all like you think. I am afraid it has never been ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is “the” dropped in “I go to school by bus”?

Why is the dropped in "I go to school by bus"? Why isn't it "I go to the school by the bus" if both school and bus are countable? Does the rule that a countable noun must have an article have an ...
-1
votes
3answers
958 views

What article should be used in such sentences?

What article should be used in the following sentence? He was English by [a/the/] blood. I feel there should be a zero article here, but I was taught that the zero article is impossible in ...
15
votes
3answers
19k views

Why use “the” for oceans/seas/rivers etc. but not lakes?

Possibly two questions in here: Are these sentence constructions logical, and if they are, why are they different? I swam across the Ocmulgee River. I swam across the Pacific Ocean. I swam ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there specific rules to build expressions with or without articles?

In English, there are lots of expressions built using articles like: at the station to the cinema play the piano have breakfast (no article) take a bath take a shower Are there specific rules or ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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.
2
votes
1answer
130 views

“In the third person” or “in third person”

Which is more correct? He's talking in the third person. He's talking in third person. Does it matter?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

When does “nature” require an article and why?

I was wondering about a sentence like this: If nature were to design a bicycle, how would it look? Is nature missing an article? Should it be "a nature" or "the nature", or is it correct as is? ...
8
votes
2answers
23k views

“During summer” vs. “during the summer”

What is the difference between saying "during summer" and "during the summer"? As in: I work during the summer. I work during summer. Are both common? Is my feeling correct that the ...
2
votes
4answers
540 views

Should I put a definite article before a scientific term?

Which is (more) correct? (I am with the) Laboratory of Biochemistry of Hydrobionts. (I am with the) Laboratory of the Biochemistry of Hydrobionts. Is there any rule for using or not ...
3
votes
5answers
588 views

Why use “at” in this way?

I always see signs such as Men at work or Children at play I was wondering why we use "at" in this way. Is it just a formal way of saying Men Working / Children Playing? Saying "At Lunch"...
17
votes
8answers
7k views

Omission of definite article with musical instruments

What is the rule for omitting/including the definite article in the following sentences: I used to play piano. I used to play the piano. I would pick the first sentence, but I've heard people ...