Questions tagged [articles]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Can the definite article be omitted when referring to a person qualified by a noun?

Is there a difference between these references to a specific person: "The implication is clear: as the psychologist Jonathan Haidt said..." and "The implication is clear: as psychologist ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Use or omit “the” before profession?

This image-stabilising system for a hand-held camera, developed by cameraman Garrett Brown in 1973, offers (...) Wouldn't it be more correct to write "the cameraman Garrett Brown"? Is omitting the "...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

About the definite and zero article meaning generic concepts

I have been having a trouble with the idea of the definite article meaning generic concepts. Recently, I came upon a question asking which one is correct between " The Chines invented the paper" and ...
3
votes
2answers
855 views

the function of “the” in the following sentence.

The following sentence is from NY Times. "Another corporate structure being exploited now more than ever is the master limited partnership." In the sentence, the concept of "master limited ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Use of definite article in “the more” and “the less”

Why is the definite article used in expressions like the more and the less? For example, The more you study, the more you know. The less you study, the less you know.
4
votes
8answers
10k views

encapsulating a positive thing among many negative things

Is there a phrase that encapsulates 'this is a positive thing among many negative things'? Context: I need to find a name for an article I am writing - which is about how a person turned everything ...
4
votes
10answers
2k views

Why is it ‘A God,’ not ‘God' in Mark Sanford’s “I want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances, but third, fourth, eighth chances”?

There was a quote of ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in his victory speech in the House vacant seat election in the New York Times article (May 13) written by Gail Collins under the title “...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is liquid a countable noun? [closed]

I read this sentence in a description to a podcast from https://www.eslpod.com/website/index_new.html Batter, “batter,” when we talk about cooking is a liquid, made usually with eggs, and flower, ...
0
votes
0answers
1k views

“A user” or “an user”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” “A” becomes “an” before a word beginning with a vowel, does this apply to “u”? Is it “a ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the pronounciation of “the” before the vowel “e”? [duplicate]

How do you pronounce the vowel in the article "the" when used before "evil"? (American English)
-2
votes
6answers
2k views

Have there been any movements/tendencies to remove definite and indefinite articles from English in the recent history of English?

My question is if there were some "movements" that propose to remove definite and indefinite articles completely in the last 100 or 200 years (or even more older). E.g. "a book" will be just "book" ...
118
votes
2answers
201k views

Is it “a user” or “an user” [duplicate]

Since user starts with a vowel shouldn't we use "an" ? I've seen many cases of using "a" .
15
votes
5answers
20k views

“not found” or “is not found”

Why there is file not found access denied and so on everywhere, when it should be (as far as I know) the file was not found the access is denied I wonder which is actually correct? ...
51
votes
5answers
16k views

Why can we say 'an American' but not 'a British'?

I am confused with the use of an indefinite article in front of British or Chinese. To my understanding, we can place an indefinite article in front of any “countable noun”. So, we can say a cup and ...
17
votes
5answers
177k views

“In recent years” vs “in the recent years”

Do we write in the recent years or in recent years? For example, In the recent years, the influence of blablabla on blablabla has grown rapidly. In recent years, the influence of blablabla ...
14
votes
3answers
27k views

Using “the” before ordinal numbers

When learning English I was told that ordinal numbers should always be used with "the" before them. But I often see that this is not always so strict, for example I heard the phrase "April first" ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

“king of” or “the king of”

Which is correct? I am king of the world. I am the king of the world. Additionally, which would be the better choice, if I wanted to use the expression "king" to signify dominance in a ...
21
votes
5answers
32k views

Definite article — “on television” vs. “on the radio”

Why are these different? We heard the news on the radio. We watched the news on television. In this book, the author says we must use television without the. Why? It makes me crazy. Is ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

“A wrong answer” vs “the wrong answer”

In English, when presented with a list (real or imagined) or answers that could be given to a question, and the correct one is not given, we will say that somebody has given "the wrong answer". ...
7
votes
4answers
14k views

Usage of “a” and “the” in titles [closed]

Which one should I use for page title? Apple — Tasty Fruit Apple — A Tasty Fruit Apple — The Tasty Fruit The article is only about tasty apple.
13
votes
4answers
5k views

New Oxford American Dictionary describes “the” as an adjective

When I look at the definition given from the Mac OS X Dictionary (I have set American English as interface language, and the dictionary used is then the New Oxford American Dictionary), I read: the ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

“the average person” vs “an average person”

There's a question in a forum I frequent, and I'm trying to decide whether "the average" or "an average" is appropriate in its title. Let's say the question is: "Why is the average Canadian more ...
6
votes
4answers
12k views

Is it correct to write “a 5-mm-thick layer”?

Do I need hyphens? Should I use the indefinite article or zero article?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Zero article before the word “part” - what is the particular reason for this?

Please consider the following sentences: It's part of the life. It's a part of the life. What is the difference in the meaning between these sentences? Why are we allowed to omit the article from ...
4
votes
1answer
28k views

“the next day” or “next day” [duplicate]

Cambridge Dictionaries Online has provided examples on the word "next". Why is "the" omitted in "What do you think you'll be doing this time next year?" while next day is preceded by "the" in ...
2
votes
2answers
591 views

The reasoning behind omitting “the” in “I'm (the) president of the United States.”

I understand you can say either I'm president of the United States. or I'm the president of the United States. I also know of a rule that you may omit "the" in front of a title, position, etc. ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Zero article after “of” in “a change of place”

Given the sentence The use of apples instead of pears is unexpected in the dish. I don't think we can use apple instead of apples. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) But then, how come we can say the ...
8
votes
1answer
831 views

“This essay was translated from the Chinese” — what does this “the” do?

Chen Guangcheng is a special student at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at the New York University School of Law. This essay was translated from the Chinese. Why don't they write: "This essay was ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Definite or indefinite article in “the/a devil's advocate”

I can't quite figure out which of the following expressions is more correct: He is the devil's advocate. He is a devil's advocate. He is playing devil's advocate. The combination of an article with ...
7
votes
1answer
12k views

Articles in a list

I saw a bear, a lion and a donkey. Is the usage of the article a necessary before each word in a list like this? Biggs set out Monday morning for one of his usual hiking and gold-panning trips ...
6
votes
5answers
10k views

Is “education” a count noun?

I'm getting confused about these two sentences: The government should provide education to its citizens. She has received a great education since high school. I think education is an ...
6
votes
2answers
521 views

Unorthodox article placement

In my English class yesterday we looked at the following example: Monica is such a beautiful woman. We learned that the above sentence could also be written as: Monica is so beautiful a woman ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Superlatives with “the”

What is the rule regarding using the with superlatives? For example: John is the fastest among his friends. John is fastest among his friends. Both appear to be correct. I have seen both ...
4
votes
1answer
721 views

Why no article with “service” and “access”

Simple question, which I'd like a simple (simple enough to explain to an ESL student) answer to.* Is there a conference room? Is there a non-smoking room? Okay, so I have no problems with ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Repeating determiners: “the X and (the) Y”

I have a problem with the use of "the" after "and" where you would basically be connecting words. For example, which of the following is better: The table and the chairs? The table and chairs? ...
4
votes
1answer
305 views

Articles in conjuctions

The following is taken from a book: As a result, hosting in IIS 5/6 is notorious for instability and the frequent need to reset the server or IIS 5/6. In the context above, why doesn't "...
3
votes
1answer
9k views

Is there a difference between articles and determiners?

I have heard the, a, and an referred to as both articles and determiners. Do these two terms mean the same thing, or are there some differences between them? Can a word be an article but not a ...
1
vote
1answer
460 views

“Bad weather doesn't exist” vs. “The bad weather doesn't exist”

Should it be: Bad weather doesn't exist. or The bad weather doesn't exist.
-2
votes
2answers
14k views

Wish you happy new year or (a) happy new year [duplicate]

I always use google with double quotes to get the answer for similar questions by looking at results number (assuming that the majority are correct), well, it is not the case here. In these days, we ...
18
votes
1answer
7k views

Was “an unicorn” ever correct?

According to Biblehub and Bible Gateway, King James's Numbers 23:22 says: God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. I don't have a hard copy to check. Is that ...
7
votes
2answers
551 views

Should there be an article before “mayor” in “the role of mayor”?

SimCity, for example, casts youth in the role of mayor. I'm not sure if I understand the usage of zero article correctly. There is no article before 'mayor' as this is the instance where we refer ...
6
votes
2answers
977 views

Can anyone explain the use of determiners in this passage?

Can someone explain the use of determiners (words like some or the) for the word beans in the following dialogue: Aki: Lisa, here're some beans. Lisa: Why are you giving me beans? Aki: ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What are “a” and “certain” adding in meaning to the phrase “a certain Mr. Ripley”?

Consider the following sentences: I had my identity stolen by Mr. Ripley. and I had my identity stolen by a Mr. Ripley. and I had my identity stolen by a certain Mr. Ripley. In what sense ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do some people prefix people's names with “the”?

Lately I've been seeing a trend that I find disturbing for some reason, mostly in Indian publications but also in some American ones - prefixing people's names with "the". For example: The Mr. Gandhi ...
3
votes
2answers
264 views

Indefinite article confusion preceding “one-to-one” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? While I was reading a book, I faced the following sentence: There is a one-to-one correspondence between the two sets ...
2
votes
1answer
387 views

Using “the” before name equations/theory like “The Maxwell's Equation”, “The Archimedes Principle” etc

Is it correct to use "the" before name equations like "The Maxwell's Equation", "The Archimedes Principle", "The Kolmogorov Equation" etc. Even though "the" refers to the equation/principle, it ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

“To be elected chairman” vs. “to be elected the chairman”

I have a question regarding the correct use of the definite article "the": One of my books says: Definite article the is used before nouns denoting a position that can be held by one person at ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

use of articles with personal names modified by adjectives

Suddenly, to everybody's surprise, the silent Mr.Smith swung around and addressed Barbara. The dinner was served by a silent Mrs. Keats. I saw an infuriated Jennifer, who started shouting at me ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Use of article in front of product names

In English, a definite article is not typically used in front of company names, except if you want to refer to some particular building (e.g. I went to the McDonald's around the corner). However, ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

definite vs. none article before abstract concept; again

I reviewed both: Definite article before scientific terms Use (or non-use) of articles before abstract nouns and I still cannot decide. According to the previous post my sentence should be: If ...