4

Possible Duplicate:
Are there any simple rules for article usage (“a” vs “the” vs none)

Which is correct?

  1. Everyone knows what a proton is.
  2. Everyone knows what the proton is.
  3. Everyone knows what proton is.

marked as duplicate by James Waldby - jwpat7, user11550, Matt E. Эллен, John Lawler, user2683 Jun 17 '12 at 19:27

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

7

Everyone knows what a proton is.

This is the most-used construct.

Everyone knows what the proton is.

This structure is a bit old-fashioned for general use, but is commonplace in scientific contexts.

Everyone knows what proton is.

This is ungrammatical. A correct way to say it is everyone knows what protons are.

2

Option 2 seems to emphasize "proton" as an ontological value. Option 3 sounds more abstract than 1, in the sense that "proton" could be a quality and not a noun, as in the case of "a proton". I'd say that being right or wrong depends on what you are writing. Withouth the specific context, any of them could be right.

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