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Questions tagged [articles]

Use this tag for questions about the usage of articles (e.g. a, an, and the).

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Is "The Shining" a title with a gerund, or a regular -ing noun? [duplicate]

Does using "the" or "a" in front of a gerund alter it somehow? "A painting," for example, is not a gerund, and if a book were titled "The Painting" it would not ...
Sarah's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
57 views

Using "the" before a profession and name

A column heading in a recent New Yorker magazine : "The staff writer Sarah Larson on natural history marvels." Why would "the" be used here? Wouldn't the heading be correct without ...
Jumpringer's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
6 views

When can we omit the article in front of a countable word in singular? [migrated]

In the sentence below, there is no "the" in front of former President. I am wondering what is the grammar rule for that? Under Smith and his successor, Douglas, Canada sought closer trade ...
Julia's user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
93 views

"I am at a/the library" - which article should I use? [duplicate]

If I am speaking to a tech recruiter overseas, why is the correct way to describe is "Hi, Jane. This is Katie. I'm at the Library" ? If the recruiter is someone that doesn't know the library,...
Katie's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
33 views

When a band is performing live at a venue, would you say "live at [venue]" or "live at the [venue]"?

Basically what the title says. I've seen both used before. Ex.: "Live at Civic Arena" vs. "Live at the Civic Arena".
Nathan's user avatar
  • 1
22 votes
6 answers
3k views

Why is an article often used with (the) Rubik's cube, although other "name+'s" constructions usually don't use one?

As far as I know (being non-native and not having studied linguistics), you usually do not use an article before a name + genitive. For example, you would say "this is Harry's ball" or "...
Mo P's user avatar
  • 323
2 votes
0 answers
65 views

"a shirt in (a) (size) small"

To me, these versions sound natural and idiomatic: I'd like this/a shirt in a small. I'd like this/a shirt in a size small. I'd like this/a shirt in a size 7. Do you have this dress in a 9? She wears ...
desmo's user avatar
  • 649
2 votes
2 answers
400 views

A half or half - adjective or noun word

I was reading the meaning of the term "crescent" on internet, and I spotted a part in it that led me to confusion, the definition is the following one; A curved shape that has two narrow ...
PROCESIONES CELESTES's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
40 views

Should I use "A/an + adj. + Name" or "The + adj. + Name"?

As a native English speaker, I find myself perplexed by this situation. Here are some examples of what I mean. 1.1 The worried Link went to see Impa. 1.2 A worried Link went to see Impa. 2.1 The angry ...
Micheal Gignac's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
51 views

What rule dictates the use of articles with nouns in names?

I've recently started working for an organization -- for the sake of argument, let's say it's an institute that studies lacrosse in the state of Utah. I've been told by various people in the senior ...
JeanSibelius's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
78 views

Is ‘the’ used before a number as determiner, when ‘all’ is used before them? [duplicate]

I want to write this sentence in a paper: All the three characters also have their counterparts in ASCII, where all the three characters refers to the aforementioned three characters out of a bigger ...
Guanyuming He's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
53 views

Is omitting the definite article in this case grammatically correct (and preferable)?

I had written the following sentence in a manuscript: After each transaction, the balance of the sender account equals their balance immediately before the transaction minus the amount of funds ...
bp99's user avatar
  • 139
0 votes
0 answers
13 views

Which article should come here? [duplicate]

Had this in a test: He went to _ prison to give a lecture to the prisoners. Will there be an article here? If so which one? My first intuition was "a", but I'm unsure.
Sohaib Mubashir's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Are names of chemicals not proper nouns?

I notice that people often use "gold" and "diamond" in lower case. Yet as far as I see it these are all "proper names" of an abstract idea and really ought to be ...
Sidharth Ghoshal's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
26 views

Article 'The' when use with the name of an island [duplicate]

According standard English, we do not use 'the' with the name of a single island, for example, 'Tasmania' or 'Bermuda'. We just use 'the' when the name refers to a group of islands or is made up of ...
Lotus's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
56 views

Should there be a "the" before "consideration" in this sentence?

It should be not excluded from consideration that by choosing Katha as their candidate, the incumbent party revealed its goal to expand influence in the northern districts.
T R's user avatar
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11 votes
6 answers
2k views

Attributive nouns without an article in programmer-speak

In the context of computer programming, I often see constructions where I expect the word "the" to appear, but it's omitted: "…is powered by method DEX and aimed at…" - I expect &...
Kodiologist's user avatar
  • 1,155
3 votes
2 answers
104 views

Articles in reference to natural phenomena

I have been wondering about the usage of the definite article with the nouns that refer to natural phenomena such as wind, rain, weather. Michael Swan suggests in "Practical English Usage" ...
Penguin422's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
16 views

Simple Article usage question implied or not? [duplicate]

It doesn't matter if you are a nurse or a doctor, you still need a pass. In this sentence, can I skip article a just before doctor? It doesn't matter if you are a nurse or doctor, you still need a ...
Kelly's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
72 views

Indefinite article before an underscore [duplicate]

I have some words in my [technical] text that begin with an underscore. Should I use "a" or "an" in front of them? For example, should it be a _TextIOWrapper or an _TextIOWrapper? ...
DYZ's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
60 views

Do I need an indefinite article, talking about exposition in literature? [closed]

For example: It's only (an) exposition, but I already love the story.
venor's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
109 views

What's the difference between "I believe in God" and "I believe in a God"?

I've recently heard these two examples where I don't understand what "a" is supposed to emphasize: Somebody asks: "Do you believe in God?" Then gets this reply: "I believe in ...
Damocle Damoclev's user avatar
1 vote
6 answers
632 views

A man of many talents/ the man of many talents

Can I use the article the with the idiom “man of many talents” if I want to emphasise that it refers to just a specific person and not speaking generally? For instance: “You’re the man of many talents”...
Tiziano De Masi's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
28 views

When should I NOT use an article in front of a noun? Easy to remember tips? [duplicate]

THE title says all. Although I've been living in the US for many years at this point, this still confuses me time to time.
curiouswalnut's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
59 views

Connotation of "for" / "for the"

I asked this question on ELL and got a satisfactory answer about whether "A new material for manufacture of bricks" is a correct title for a scientific article. However, it seems that ELL is ...
Sardine's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
35 views

A/an + adj. + weather [duplicate]

We can say, "I had a delicious breakfast" because of the adjective, as opposed to "I had breakfast", where we don't use an indefinite article. As in this former case we have ...
Leroy's user avatar
  • 294
0 votes
0 answers
74 views

usage of "the" - "listen to the TV", or "listen to TV"

Question: When we only listen to the sound of that machine (TV), not watching its screen, which is appropriate to say "listen to the TV" or "listen to TV"? Background: When we ...
noel's user avatar
  • 101
3 votes
1 answer
146 views

Use of definite article in school grade names

I'm a younger speaker from Chicago. All throughout my education, I've noticed two different ways in which people can refer to grade levels. One includes the definite article and one does not. For ...
Graham H.'s user avatar
  • 890
0 votes
1 answer
65 views

"a" vs "the" articles: an object identified by another object

I am confused whether I should use "a" or "the" when I refer to an object given/identified by some other object. For example: The package is now in [a / the] deposit box with the ...
morgwai's user avatar
  • 103
0 votes
0 answers
29 views

Zero article usage before countable nouns [duplicate]

I came across the following sentence while reading "A Clash of Kings" book by George R. R. Martin: He liked to watch the windows begin to glow all over Winterfell as candles and hearth ...
Denis's user avatar
  • 123
4 votes
5 answers
365 views

Does 'angle' as a noun necessarily receive a definite article?

Here is the sentence in dispute: In humans, the femoral angle shows no correlation with femoral length. The question: why would 'femoral angle' receive a definite article, but not 'femoral length'? ...
BVinNV's user avatar
  • 49
0 votes
0 answers
19 views

"A" and "an" with interjections [duplicate]

Basically I know how "a" and "an" are used: a member an adult member but how is the same handled when the middle word is inserted parenthetically or even in brackets: I met a ...
bakunin's user avatar
  • 426
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is there any historical basis for pronouncing the “Ye Olde …“ with a /j/?

It is my understanding that the article ye as used in archaic spellings such as “Ye Olde Yereminne Shoppe” originates from spelling þe as ye with moveable type when the typeface did not feature the ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 4,404
1 vote
1 answer
51 views

Hello, I need help in understanding the grammatical tense of this phrase [closed]

It is easy to see how primitive warfare might sometimes have beneficial environmental effects; it is not clear how they could amount to a cause of primitive warfare. Could you tell me, please, what ...
Dmitry's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
44 views

Article usage when talking generally (not about specific things) [closed]

I have a question about article usage. I have two sentences and I'm struggling with the articles in the second sentence: There may be invoices on each table. When (?) invoices lying on (?) table ...
Radek Micek's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
69 views

Article: An univesity or A university [duplicate]

U article hello guys Some days ago, I heard one thing from my teacger, he said an university is wrong and we have to say a university. He called this knowledge: phonology and phonetic. Can you explain ...
Sajjad Khorrami's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
178 views

Why does generic “the” sound wrong when referring to some classes of things?

“The” can be used as a generic term for a class of things, e.g. “The elephant is the largest land animal.” This sounds fine, as does the more specific “The African elephant has larger ears than the ...
ReallyBigRock's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
70 views

Generalising about things in English

I have come across the following sentence in the article noted below: A growing plant requires water and minerals. The plant must also have sunlight. The minerals must include nitrates and the water ...
Penguin422's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What's it called when a word that starts with a vowel takes the 'n' from 'an' (the indefinite article) and puts it on the word?

I don't exactly know how to describe it, but I've heard of this happening in English before. I'm pretty sure the word 'newt' is an example of this. From what I've heard, the word used to be 'ewt', ...
Adrian Miller-Castaño's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
79 views

Counter-intuitive usage of articles: "the" and "a"

Some examples needing an explanation, thank you for the help. "I came up with (an) idea, we can do..." We should use "an", shouldn't we? But why, if we have a specific idea ...
gelerum's user avatar
  • 23
1 vote
0 answers
24 views

Can articles be omitted in instructions? [duplicate]

On a fire extinguisher's cover, "In case of fire, break glass" may be written. As you see, in short, instructional contexts, one often finds articles being omitted. Is this grammatically ...
baral's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
55 views

What is the reason for the absence of articles in in "... with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door" in "The Raven"?

The seventh stanza of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven reads as follows: Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; ...
Ricky's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
102 views

Why is an "a" article being used here? I would use "the" instead

The Senate late Thursday passed a House-approved bill to raise the debt ceiling and cap government spending for two years, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk . https://www.cnbc.com/...
Jaroslav Tavgen's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

"in the Hebrew it ..." vs "in Hebrew it ..." - what is the difference of meaning in this paragraph of Milton and in general?

In book one of The Doctrine & Discipline of Divorce, it is written: The cause of divorce mention’d in the Law is translated some uncleannesse, but in the Hebrew it sounds nakednes of ought, or ...
John Smith's user avatar
  • 1,758
0 votes
2 answers
69 views

How many "the"'s are needed in the phrase "the A of the B of the C ..."? [closed]

Here's an example from Wikipedia: Statement: ... Suppose a function g ... has the set of discontinuity points D_g ... Proof: By (the) definition of the continuity of the function g(·), ... (The ...
yatse's user avatar
  • 13
0 votes
0 answers
25 views

Does an unstressed 'a + noun' become 'an + noun' in spoken English when the noun starts with an 'h'? [duplicate]

I am what most of the world considers a "non-native" speaker of English. I, however, consider myself a "native" speaker of English because: I grew up speaking English since birth, ...
adityagnet's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
37 views

Including an article if the following phrase already contains it

For example, when referencing a webpage: Visit the "The Performers" page to learn about our musical lineup. In this case, I want to tell someone to visit a webpage entitled "The ...
humble.rebel's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
71 views

Why is it OK to drop articles in “Leopard Rock is fortress and home”? [duplicate]

In episode one of the National Geographic documentary The Savage Kingdom, there is this line which you hear said (and see in the subtitles) there: Leopard Rock is fortress and home. The line reads ...
tinlyx's user avatar
  • 626
0 votes
0 answers
62 views

*an unitary operator* or *a unitary operator* [duplicate]

The rule that I usually use in such cases is that *an* precedes a vowel sound, while *a* is used before a consonant sound. I understand sound as different from letter - conventionally u would be ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
  • 231
1 vote
1 answer
253 views

Is there any difference between "is called the" vs. "is called a"? [closed]

Is there any difference between "is called the" vs. "is called a"? Examples from ISO/IEC 9899:2011 (E) (emphases added via bold font): The identifier immediately following the ...
pmor's user avatar
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