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10
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 ...
15
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
920 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.
12
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
5k 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) ...
9
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
17k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
302 views

Why isn’t the definite article used in “The commission commanded that work […] should cease”?

In this sentence: The commission commanded that work on the building should cease. Why isn't the used before the word work? It seems that the work is specified by on the building. Another ...
-1
votes
3answers
844 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
134 views

“Had a seafood dinner” or “had seafood dinner”? [closed]

Which sentence is correct? I had a seafood dinner last night. I had seafood dinner last night.
3
votes
5answers
515 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
92 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.