Home Random Page



Articles. Revision


Article Rules/Examples Notes
    ZERO article   1. Streets, squares and parks: Oxford Street, Wall Street, Trafalgar Square, Central Park, Hyde Park But: the High Street, the Mall, the Main Street, the Strand, the Avenue  
2. Airports and railway stations: Heathrow (Airport), Gatwick (Airport), Waterloo (Station)  
3. Bridges: Tower Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge But: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Severn Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, the Forth Bridge
4. Religious (churches, cathedrals and abbeys) and official buildings: Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. Pauls Cathedral But: the White House, the Royal Exchange, the Old Bailey, the Tower, the Mansion House  
5. Educational establishments (universities, colleges): Merton College, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Harvard University But: the University of York, the Higher School of Economics
6. Magazines and journals: New Scientist, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping But: the Journal of American Psychology, the Spectator
7. Festivals: Christmas, Easter, Lent, Carnival, Ramadan, Mothers Day, St Valentines Day  
    The definite article Special cases 1. Museums, galleries, theatres and cinemas: the Tate Gallery, the British Museum, the Odeon, the Globe
2. Hotels, restaurants and pubs: the Ritz, the Royal Oak But: Luigis, Matildas Restaurant (persons name)
3. Ships, trains: the Titanic, the Queen Elizabeth, the Orient Express But: zero article for spacecraft: Challenger, Apollo 17
4. Newspapers: the Times, the Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, the Economist (published in England) But: Today Foreign newspapers: Pravda, Zvezda, Le Monde, Der Spiegel
5. Sporting events: the Olympic Games, the World Cup * zero article for names which are taken from the place where the event occurs: Wimbledon (tennis), Ascot and Epsom (horse-racing), Henley (rowing) But: Ive never been to a Cup Final. (one particular case)
6. Organizations and political institutions: the House of Commons, the Senate, the Cabinet the Labour Party, the United Nations, the BBC, the FBI *Abbreviations pronounced as one word take zero article: NATO, OPEC, UNICEF But: (British) Parliament, (American) Congress  


Articles. Revision

To identify a noun already mentioned E.g. A dog has been barking all day and here is the dog now, standing outside the gate. Before a singular countable noun when it is mentioned for the first tine and represents no particular thing or person E.g. Could you lend me a pen? Man, used to represent the human race E.g. If oil supplies run out, man may have to fall back on the horse.
To identify a noun following by the modifiers E.g. The dog that has been barking all day has finally stopped barking. With a noun complement () + names of profession. E.g. It was an earthquake. He is an actor. Before titles or ranks E.g. Lord Oliver, Grand Duke (B )
Context known to both writer and reader E.g. Have you been to the mountains recently? (mountains nearby that are known to everyone). In expressions: A lot of, a great many, a great deal of, a couple, a dozen Before abstract nouns E.g. Men fear death.
Identification of a class, especially in a generalization o Followed by a noun, often singular E.g. The nuclear threat is frightening. o Followed by an adjective E.g. The elderly are often lonely With certain numbers: a hundred, a thousand Before names of meals E.g. The Scots have porridge for breakfast. But! The wedding breakfast was held in her fathers house.
The beginning of a phrase containing an appositive E.g. This is my friend, the one I was telling you about. Before half when half follows a whole number E.g. one and a half kilos (11/2). But! Half a kilo (1/2).   Before names of games. E.g. He plays golf.
When the object is unique: the earth, the sea, the sky, the equator, the stars etc.   Construction a + half + noun E.g. a half-holiday, a half-portion. Before parts of the body and articles of clothing (these prefers possessive adjectives) E.g. He took off his coat.
Before a noun which by reason of locality can represent only one particular thing E.g. Please pass the wine. (the wine on the table). With ⅓, ¼ etc. E.g. a third, a quarter etc. Nature, where it means the spirit creating and motivating the world of plants and animals etc. E.g. If you interfere with nature you will suffer for it.
The + singular noun can represent a class of animals or things E.g. The deep-freeze has made life easier for housewives. In expressions of price, speed, ratio etc. E.g. 5p a kilo, sixty kilometers an hour. To refer to all members of a class E.g. Man proposes, God disposes. (man in the sense of all human beings).
Before a member of a certain group of people E.g. The small shopkeeper is finding life increasingly difficult. In exclamations before singular, countable nouns E.g. Such a long queue! But! What pretty girls! To distinguish one class from another E.g. Dogs, and squirrels, are domestic animals.
Before certain proper names of seas, rivers, groups of islands, chains of mountains, plural names of countries, deserts, regions E.g. The Atlantic, the Netherlands, the Sudan, the Sahara, the Alps, the Thames. o Before names consisting of noun + of + noun E.g. the Bay of Biscay, the Cape of Good Hope, the Gulf of Mexico, The Tower of London. o Before names consisting of adjective + noun E.g. The Arabian Sea, the New Forest, the National Gallery. o East/west/south/north + noun E.g. The West Indies. But! West Germany, South Africa. Before Mr/Mrs/Miss + surname A Mr. Smith means a man called Smith unknown to the speaker To refer to an indefinite number but not necessarily to all members of a class E.g. The edge of the field was marked by trees.
Before names of choirs ['kwai‌‌ə], orchestras, pop groups, names of newspapers, ships etc. E.g. The Bach Choir, the Beatles, The Times, The Great Britain (ship). Before a predicate noun after to be E.g. Mrs. Seckson is a good friend With plural nouns after be E.g. Most of my friends are students.
With names of people o The + plural surname = the family E.g. the Smiths o The + singular name + clause/phrase (to distinguish one person from another of the same name) E.g. We have two Mr. Smiths. Which do you want? I want the Mr. Smith who signed the letter. o Before titles containing of E.g. the Duke of York With uncountable nouns to mean a kind of, with kind of, certain E.g. This man has an honesty that we all appreciate. With institutions and practices felt to be unique E.g. People are angry with the Congress.(there is only one Congress in the country). But! People are angry with the city council. (one of many).
Letters written to two or more unmarried sisters jointly may be addressed The Misses + surname E.g. The Misses Smith.   Names of languages E.g. He was learning Chinese.
    Before the names of sport and academic subjects E.g. She plays badminton and basketball. Shes taking economics and math. Her major is Religious Studies.
    With seasons E.g. In spring, we usually clean the house.
    With diseases E.g. Hes dying of pneumonia.
    With time of day E.g. Well be there around midnight.


I. Common expressions without articles

In some common fixed expressions to do with place, time and movement, normally countable nouns are treated as uncountables, without articles.

Examples are:

to school

at school

in school (US)

from school

to/at/from university/college (GB)

to/in/from college (US)

to/at/in/into/from church

to/in/into/out of bed/prison

to/in/into/out of hospital (GB)

to/at/from work

to/at sea to/in/from town

at/from home leave home

leave/start/enter school/university/college

by day

at night

by car/bus/bicycle/plane/train/tube/boat

on foot

by radio/phone/letter/mail

With place nouns, similar expressions with articles may have different meanings.

E.g. Compare:

- I met her at college (when we were students)

I'll meet you at the college. (The college is just a meeting place.)

- Jane's in hospital, (as a patient)

I left my coat in the hospital when I was visiting Jane.

- Who smokes in class? {=... in the classroom ?)

Who smokes in the class? (= Who is a smoker...?)

In American English, university and hospital are not used without articles.

E.g. She was unhappy at the university.

II. Double expressions

Articles are often dropped in double expressions, particularly with prepositions.

with knife and fork

on land and sea

day after day

with hat and coat

arm in arm

husband and wife

from top to bottom

inch by inch

But articles are not usually dropped when single nouns follow prepositions.

E.g. You can't get there without a car. (NOT ... without car.)


III. s genitives

A noun that is used after an 's genitive (like John's, America's) has no article.

E.g. the coat that belongs to John = John's coat

(NOT John's the coat OR the John's coat)

the economic problems of America = America's economic problems

(NOT the America's economic problems)

But the genitive noun itself may have an article.

E.g. the wife of the boss = the boss's wife


VI. the... of a...

In classifying expressions of this kind, the first article is definite even if the meaning of the whole expression is indefinite.

E.g. Lying by the side of the road we saw the wheel of a car.

(NOT ... a wheel of a car.)


V. noun modifiers

When a noun modifies another noun, the first noun's article is dropped.

E.g. guitar lessons - lessons in how to play the guitar

(NOT the guitar lessons)

a sunspot - a spot on the sun

VI. both and all

We often leave out the after both.

E.g. Both (the) children are good at maths.

And we often leave out the between all and a number.

E.g. All (the) three brothers were arrested.

We usually leave out the after all in all day, all night, all week, all year, all winter and all summer.

E.g. We've been waiting to hear from you all week.

I haven't seen her all day.

VII kind of etc

We usually leave out a/an after kind of, sort of, type of and similar expressions.

E.g. What kind of (a) person is she?

Have you got a cheaper sort of radio?

They've developed a new variety of sheep.


VIII. amount and number

The is dropped after the amount/number of.

E.g. I was surprised at the amount of money collected.

The number of unemployed is rising steadily.


IX. man and woman

Unlike other singular countable nouns, man and woman can be used in a general sense without articles.

E.g. Man and woman were created equal.

But in modern English we more often use a woman and a man, or men and women.

E.g. A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle, (old feminist joke)

Men and women have similar abilities and needs.

Man is also commonly used to mean 'the human race', though many people regard this usage as sexist and prefer to avoid it.

How did Man first discover fire?


X. days, months and seasons

We use articles with the names of days of the week and months when we are talking about particular days or months.

E.g. We met on a wet Monday in June.

She died on the Tuesday after the accident.

But articles are not used when the meaning is 'the day/month before or after this one'.

E.g. See you on Thursday. See you in April.

Where were you last Saturday? We're moving next September.

To talk about the seasons in general, we can say spring or the spring, summer or the summer, etc. There is little difference. The is always used in in the fall (US).

E.g. Rome is lovely in (the) spring.

I like (the) winter best.

When we are talking about particular springs, summers etc, we are more likely to use the.

E.g. I worked very hard in the summer that year.


XI. musical instruments

We often use the + singular when we talk about musical instruments in general, or about playing musical instruments.

E.g. The violin is really difficult.

Who's that on the piano?

But the is often dropped when talking about jazz or pop, and sometimes when talking about classical music.

E.g. This recording was made with Miles Davis on trumpet.

She studied oboe and saxophone at the Royal Academy of Music.



XII. television, (the) radio, (the) cinema and (the) theatre

When we talk about television as a form of entertainment, we do not use articles.

E.g. It's not easy to write plays for television.

Would you rather go out or watch TV?

But articles are used when television means 'a television set'. Compare:

E.g. What's on TV?

Look out! The cat's on the TV!

Articles are generally used with radio, cinema and theatre.

E.g. I always listen to the radio while I'm driving.

It was a great treat to go to the cinema or the theatre when I was a child.

But the article can be dropped when we talk about these institutions as art forms or professions.

E.g. Cinema is different from theatre in several ways.

He's worked in radio all his life.


XIII. jobs and positions

We normally use a/an when we say what job somebody has.

E.g. She's an architect, (NOT She's architect.)

The is not used in titles like Queen Elizabeth, President Lincoln. Compare:

E.g. Queen Elizabeth had dinner with President Kennedy.

The Queen had dinner with the President.

And the is not usually used in the complement of a sentence, when we say that somebody has or gains a unique position (the only one in the organisation).

E.g. Compare:

- They appointed him Head Librarian.

He's a librarian.

- He was elected President in 1879.

I want to see the President.


XIV. exclamations

We use a/an with singular countable nouns in exclamations after What.

E.g. What a lovely dress! (NOT What lovely dress!)

Note that a/an cannot be used in exclamations with uncountable nouns.

E.g. What nonsense! (NOT What a nonsense!)

What luck! (NOT What a luck!)


XV. illnesses

The names of illnesses are usually uncountable in standard British English.

The can be used informally before the names of some common illnesses such as the measles, the flu; others have no article.

American usage is different in some cases.

E.g. I think I've got (the) measles.

Have you had appendicitis?

I'm getting toothache. (US ...a toothache.)

Exceptions: a cold, a headache (US also an earache, a backache).

I've got a horrible cold.

Have you got a headache?

XVI. parts of the body etc

When talking about parts of someone's body, or about their possessions, we usually use possessives, not the.

E.g. Katy broke her arm climbing, (NOT Katy broke the arm climbing.)

He stood in the doorway, his coat over his arm.

(NOT ... the coat over the arm.)

However, when talking about parts of the body we generally prefer the in prepositional phrases related to the object of a clause (or the subject of a passive clause).

E.g. She hit him in the stomach.

Can't you look me in the eye?

He was shot in the leg.

This can also happen in prepositional phrases after be + adjective.

E.g. He's broad across the shoulders.

XVII. measurements

Note the use of the in measuring expressions beginning with by.

E.g. Do you sell eggs by the kilo or by the dozen?

She drinks cough medicine by the litre.

He sits watching TV by the hour. Can I pay by the month?

A/an is used to relate one measuring unit to another.

E.g. sixty pence a kilo thirty miles an hour {OR ... miles per hour)

twice a week, on average a third of a pint


XVIII. place names

We use the with these kinds of place names:

seas (the Atlantic)

mountain groups (the Himalayas)

island groups {the West Indies)

rivers {the Rhine)

deserts {the Sahara)

most hotels (the Grand Hotel)

most cinemas and theatres (the Odeon; the Playhouse)

most museums and art galleries (the British Museum; the Frick)

We usually use no article with:

continents, countries, states, counties, departments etc (Africa, Brazil, Texas, Berkshire, Westphalia)

towns (Oxford)

streets (New Street, Willow Road)

lakes (Lake Michigan)

Exceptions: places whose name is (or contains) a common noun like republic, state, union (e.g. the People's Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the United States). Note also the Netherlands, and its seat of government The Hague.

In British English, the is unusual in the titles of the principal public buildings and organisations of a town.

Oxford University (NOT the Oxford University)

Hull Station (NOT the Hull Station)

Salisbury Cathedral

Birmingham Airport

Bristol Zoo

Manchester City Council

Cheltenham Football Club

In American English, the is more often used in such cases.

The San Diego Zoo. The Detroit City Council

Names of single mountains vary. Most have no article.

Everest, Kilimanjaro

But definite articles are usually translated in the English versions of European mountain names, except those beginning LeMont.

The Meije (= La Meije), The Matterhorn (= Das Matterhorn)


XIX. newspapers and magazines

The names of newspapers usually have the.

The Times, The Washington Post

The names of magazines do not always have the.

New Scientist


XX. abbreviated styles

We usually leave out articles in abbreviated styles.

newspaper headlines MAN KILLED ON MOUNTAIN


picture captions

notices, posters etc


numbering and


dictionary entries




Chapter 2


Mother and child


Open packet at other end

Go through door A

Control to Car 27: can you hear me?

Turn to page 26. (NOT ... the page 26.)


Date: 2014-12-29; view: 882

<== previous page | next page ==>
ARTICLES WITH MISCELLANEOUS PROPER NAMES | The Journey from Childhood to Adulthood
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2021 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.009 sec.)