4
  1. "What is a wine?" or "What is wine?"

  2. "What is a convertible?" or "What is convertible?"

I don't know if I should be using is with "a" or not. I've heard people saying "what is a" and even "what is"; I think both are correct, but when should I be using them?

1

Firstly, it is to make you sure that the noun phrases, containing no articles, refer to the term zero articles, or more broadly, zero-marking in English Language.

English doesn't require an article in plural noun phrases with a generic reference, a reference to a general class of things.

Additionally, English doesn't use the indefinite articles sensed with instuitionalized terms, like school, college, prison, etc.

  1. She is in hospice.

  2. The criminal went to prison.

  3. I'm going to school.

Also, if the reference is indefinite, English doesn't use article before a mass noun or a plural noun; as in:

  1. generic mass noun: Happiness is contagious.

  2. generic plural noun: Cars have accelerators.

  3. generic plural noun: They want equal rights.

  4. indefinite mass noun: I drink coffee.

  5. indefinite plural noun: I saw cars.

Reference:

  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_article_in_English

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