I have a sentence but I don't know how to fill it. When I don't use the, it seems pretty sensible. When I use it, it seems sensible too. I'm writing the sentence below.

An infographic is ....... kind of illustration which .... public enjoys looking at to understand statistical facts.

  • The choice is between “the” and “a” for the first blank. The second blank can only take “the”. Is the infographic the only kind of illustration or one of many that the public enjoys looking at to understand statistical facts?
    – Jim
    Jan 15, 2017 at 19:46
  • ELU has a question about indefinite/definite/zero articles which would answer this question, but it seems likely an ELL answer would be better. Jan 15, 2017 at 20:36
  • Can we leave the second blank empty? Jan 15, 2017 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


A general rule I follow is for non-plural nouns, insert an article. In your case, "the" should be used for both spaces so that the sentence reads,

"An infographic is the kind of illustration which the public enjoys looking at to understand statistical facts."

NOTE: The article "a" can be used for the first blank--"... is a kind of illustration..."-- but NOT for the second blank, because only one public is referred to in this context.

  • To me, the choice of “a” or “the” comes down to their use of “that” or “which” . It’s “the kind of illustration that” or “a kind of illustration which” Since they’ve used which the choice is “a”.
    – Jim
    Jan 15, 2017 at 19:53
  • 1
    I do not think that is a good general rule. It doesn't work in all cases, or even in a vast majority of cases. There are plenty of non-plural nouns that rarely take articles, and plenty that often take articles but may not depending on context. Abstract nouns like "friendship" or "freedom" rarely take an article, although they can. Uncountable nouns in general tend to eschew articles, and you would say "milk is healthy", not "the milk is healthy", although of course you do add a definite article when you are specifically definining: "the milk that I bought today was off".
    – LjL
    Jan 16, 2017 at 1:13

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