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I'm a Korean student and my high school test went wrong.

I wrote "Samsung is a company's name, so we don't put an article on it". the word 'article' refers to the grammar one.

I was not given a full point because the teacher thought the use of the article 'on' is awkward in the sentence.

Is the use of the article 'on' wrong?

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I do not know, of course, what your teacher was intending or looking for in the question.

However, I would make two suggestions.

First, 'Samsung' -- within quotes -- is a company's name. Samsung -- without the quotes -- is a company. This is the distinction between use and mention. In your sentence, you are referring to the company Samsung, not the name 'Samsung'. (You get the distinction right in the next sentence when you put quotes around 'article'.) Hence, the sentence, whether or not the article 'on' is appropriate, is poor.

Second, yes. Using 'on' in this way is awkward at best. The preferred construction is 'take an article'.

Rewriting your sentence, I think this is better:

'Samsung' is a company's name, so it does not take an article."

For an example, search for 'take an article' on this site:

https://www.oecd.org/about/publishing/OECD-Style-Guide-Third-Edition.pdf

I hope this is helpful!

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  • I sincerely thank you for your detailed answer! Hope everything goes well with you:P
    – user394883
    Aug 5 '20 at 1:38
  • As tgraybam says "X does not take an article" is the most usual way of saying it but if you really wanted to use a preposition you could have said "we do not put an article before (or in front of) Samsung". You can talk about accents and other marks being placed on, over, or under letters and, in the case of underscores, whole words. But what goes before or after a word is not described as being "on" the word.
    – BoldBen
    Aug 6 '20 at 0:48
  • In strict theory, your teacher was correct. In reality, that's too strict for words unless this example was the sole point of the lesson. Huge numbers of native speakers of any variety of English would use your construction with no second thought. No-one with any real grasp of English could misunderstand "… put an article on…" instead of "… use an article with…". No-one would correct you, without being asked. Since "on" isn't an article, any Question about "… the article 'on'… " will always be invalid. You might find more suitable help at SE English Language Learners. Aug 6 '20 at 23:17

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