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1. Diseases

  • 0 article for medical terms

malaria, pneumonia, diabetes

  • ‘the’ for colloquial expressions for common diseases

the flu, the gout

  • optional ‘the’ for plural names

(the) mumps, (the) measles

  • ‘a’ for symptoms or conditions that do not progress to an identifiable illness

a fever, a headache, a cold


2. Noun pairs

hand in hand

day by day

face to face

with knife and fork

from top to bottom


3. Body parts

the heart

the liver


N.B. My head hurts BUT

He hit me on the head. (body part belonging to the object of an active voice sentence)

I was hit on the head. (body part belonging to the subject of a passive voice sentence)


4. Unique jobs and positions

He was elected President.

They appointed him Chairman


5. Proper names

I have a Bill in my class.

We have two Annas on our staff.

The Trudeau of the 1960s was different from the Trudeau of the 1990s.


6. Compass directions

‘the’ with prepositions in, on , to, from, at

in the north

to the west

at the north-east corner of Yonge and Bloor

7. Names of Prizes

He won first prize.

8. The physical environment

  • The world around us and its climate
  • Common features of our lives

The town

The country

The sea/seaside

The rain/wind/fog

The weather

The night

The future

The universe

The sunshine


Compare: a country – the country

A city/town – the city/town


9. Enertainment and performance art

  • When we refer to entertainment as the whole experience, we use ‘the.

We went to the theatre.

We go to the movies every week.

Do you want to go to the opera next week?

I am going to the ballet tomorrow.

I haven’t been to the cinema for weeks.


In these instances we are including all the different aspects of the particular form of entertainment, the location and the performance.


  • When we talk about television as a form of entertainment, we don’t use articles.

He wrote a play for television.

Would you like to watch TV/television tonight.

What’s on TV/television tonight?


Articles are used when we refer to a television set. In that case, ‘television’ is a normal countable noun

We bought a new TV.

Don’t put that vase on the television (set)

They own three TVs/televisions/TV sets


  • When we talk about the actual product/performance, we use articles the same way we use them with normal countable nouns

Norma is an opera written by Bellini.

The opera I enjoyed the most was Otello.

We saw a new ballet last night.

Would you rather watch a movie or listen to a radio play.

We saw three movies in one night.

Hamlet is a famous play.

The plays we saw at the Shaw festival were great.


  • Art forms are uncountable abstract nouns.

Opera is my favourite art form.

He worked in radio all his life.

Ballet is not as popular as cinema.

Cinema is different from theatre.


Instead of ‘cinema’ we can use ‘movies’, which is a plural noun because it comes from ‘moving pictures’. When used to refer to the art form, no article is used.

Movies are different from cinema.





  1. He works from ______ noon till ______ night.
  2. He has _______ cancer of _______ liver.
  3. Who won _______ second prize?
  4. He kicked me in ______ shin.
  5. They walked ______ side by _______ side.
  6. Do you want to go to ________ theatre tonight
  7. They moved to _______ north of the city.
  8. They moved _______ south of the city
  9. They live ________ south of the border.
  10. _______ opera is becoming very popular.
  11. _______ night was cold.
  12. They moved to _______ country.
  13. Although he mostly worked in _____ radio, he also worked in ______ movies.
  14. They moved to ________ country where English was the first language.
  15. If you have _______ toothache, you should see ______ dentist.



Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1080

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