This question is based on the following excerpt from a GRE example:

Experts have differed about where the genus Varanus (monitor lizards) originated. Because most existing species live in Australia, early researchers concluded that Varanus originated in Australia and subsequently island hopped westward along the Indo-Australian archipelago. Herpetologist Robert Mertens later argued that Varanus probably originated in the archipelago. Chromosomal analysis has since supported Mertens’ contention, and in addition, geologic evidence points to a collision between the archipelago and the Australian landmass after Varanus evolved—a fact that could account for the genus’ present distribution.

Here is my question:

In the second sentence, "Because most existing species ...", why is an article not needed before the noun "island"?

  • 1
    It would have been clearer to hyphenate as island-hopped for a general audience, but it does not appear that island hopping (the colonization of an island by flora or fauna from an adjacent island) is conventionally hyphenated in biological or ecological literature.
    – choster
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


"island hop" is a phrasal verb meaning to repeatedly move to different islands. Articles are not put before verbs.

If you put an article there, it would mean that the island was doing the hopping, rather than meaning that Varanus hopped from island to island.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.