0

Can we use one article in

>

  • I am going to show you the sink, kitchen and fridge. (the sink and the fridge are in the kitchen we are talking about)
  • I am going to show you the accommodation, campus and school. (we are talking about a single campus with a dorm and an academic building)
  • 2
    Your grammar is correct, but your choice of nouns is odd. Why not the sink, cooker and fridge in the kitchen? – Kate Bunting Jul 20 at 13:03
  • As above, you would normally not supply a list of items and have one of those items be of a different type than the rest. In the first example, for instance, you wouldn't normally list everything inside a kitchen—but then also count the kitchen itself as one of those items. (And, if you do, it would normally be either the first item or the last item, not one stuck in the middle.) Here, it would be I am going to show you the kitchen, including its sink, fridge, and oven. Or I am going to show you the sink, fridge, and oven that are in the kitchen. – Jason Bassford Jul 20 at 14:22
  • Aren't a dorm and an academic building included in a campus? While a campus is but a plot of land, the others are buildings. – Russ80 Jul 20 at 14:34
  • That is the whole point of the above comments. Being shown round the campus would include seeing the academic buildings, student accommodation etc. – Kate Bunting Jul 20 at 16:30
  • Nevertheless, for some reason, the second sentence didn't raise any questions initially, did it? – Russ80 Jul 20 at 17:23
2

As others have said in the comments, the nouns in your first example are not quite related in the right way to justify omitting the articles: instead of kitchen, you need to have an item that, like the sink and the fridge, is typically found in a kitchen.

I agree with you that the second example is marginally acceptable. It's only marginally acceptable because both campus and school need to be interpreted in a particular way for the sentence to work, and not in the way the overall context most naturally suggests. In the end, to make the sentence work, we interpret campus not in the sense in which the accommodation and school are part of it (that was the problem with kitchen in your first sentence), but rather as something like the grounds, i.e. what the open areas and the exteriors of the buildings look like. School is also a bit iffy; to make the sentence work, I think our mind tries to interpret it as a particular building.

Discussion

According to Collins COBUILD English Guides: Articles, articles can be left out

when two nouns (or adjectives), both acting as head of a noun group, are joined together with 'and' or 'or'; the second head can be without its article. This happens with both the definite and the indefinite article.

They had enhanced the reliability and quality of radio reception.
a coffee cup and saucer.
You can order traveller's cheques through a local bank or travel agent.

You don't have to leave out the second article; you can say 'a coffee cup and a saucer'. But if you do leave it out, the two nouns must be closely related in meaning; you couldn't say 'There was a matchbox and jacket on the table'.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.