A simple question:

I have a dog and cat.

I have a dog and a cat.

Which one is correct? Should I add an article before the noun after "and"?



2 Answers 2


"I have a dog and cat" Means that you have a thing called "dog and cat". It must be a freak of nature. Rather you must have a dog and a cat, two separate and individual pets. If you have a dog and two cats then you must say "I have a dog and two cats" . You must follow the same logic and enumerate whether you have a cat or a thousand cats.

  • 1
    You can say The dog and cat ... and mean two separate animals, and not a single freak of nature. Why are indefinite articles treated differently from definite articles? Jul 13, 2017 at 14:46
  • @PeterShor The is used to refer an individual object or objects. , and gives a sense of awareness to that unique object. The dog and cat could be a single thing , whereas The dog and the cat are clearly two discernible things. You can expand the list "The dog, the cat, the parrot and the fish." . a signifies one or any but less emphatically. a dog and cat could also be a single thing called dog and cat. But a dog and a cat must be two discernible animals . A dog, a cat and a parrot walk into a bar... . Jul 13, 2017 at 15:57
  • Native speakers leave out repeated uses of the all the time. (But for some reason, we're much less likely to leave out a.) Jul 13, 2017 at 16:09
  • @PeterShor As Alex has explained, consider multiple items as a part of a set, then we can use them together without an article. For example, I purchased a bat and ball. Here, I am talking about a set of a bat and a ball. Sep 22, 2017 at 5:49

I have a dog and a cat. This is the correct one.

  • 5
    Why is it the correct one? Jul 13, 2017 at 10:06

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