I learn english for about 20 years, and still sometimes articles make me mad. This question has few related sub-questions about articles.

  1. Can you please explain these sentences:

    • "Waiting for remote server" - no definite article. Does adjective remote serves as a replacement of an article?
    • "Program exited" - no definite article, although it is clear that the exact program was meant.

    The examples above are taken from https://golang.org/

  2. "He borrowed the teacher’s book." - is the related to teacher or to a book? Or it depends on the context? Can the be related to both teacher and book?

  3. Can any adjectives other than posessives (my, his, etc.) and demonstratives (this, that, etc.) make articles unnecessary? E.g.: "I gave him my (this) pen". Or only posessives and demonstratives have such a magic ability?

  4. Did I do any mistakes of using articles while writing this question?

2 Answers 2

  1. "Waiting for remote server" and "Program exited" are not complete sentences. They sound like warning messages or notices in software. English speakers do not expect signs or notices to follow the rules of grammar. You'll find that most other languages are the same in this respect - road signs are often just one or two single words, not a sentence.

  2. In "the teacher's book", the definite article refers to the teacher. The sentence implies that the teacher only has one book, or else it is clear which book you are talking about, so no need for the definite article. You could make the book the focus of the sentence and say "he borrowed the book from the teacher". You could also say "he borrowed one of the teacher's books". Notice that in this final example, "book" is plural, and the definite article remains, making it clear it is the teacher.

  3. There are often ways of making the definite article redundant. As in the previous example, it can just require rewriting the sentence. For example you could say "He borrowed a book from his teacher", or "His teacher loaned him a book". Nothing magic, you just use the definite article when it is the most appropriate way to show uniqueness, but there may be other ways.

  4. No "mistakes" as such, but you used abbreviated language, for example in question one you said "no definite article..." instead of "there is no definite article". This is perfectly acceptable and understandable, but it surprises me that you can write this informally but not understand the question which is really about informal language!

  • 1
    Thank you, so much! I choose this answer because it did not ignore the last point. Oct 27, 2018 at 21:54

"Waiting for remote server", "Program exited"

Messages from computer programs/applications are very often written as fragments. In formal writing we would see "The application is waiting for the server" and "The program exited".

"He borrowed the teacher’s book."

The definite article relates to the noun immediately following - the teacher. He borrowed the (or a) book belonging to the teacher.

Can any adjectives other than posessives (my, his, etc.) and demonstratives (this, that, etc.) make articles unnecessary?

"My, his, etc" (possessive pronouns), and this/that etc (demonstrative pronouns) replace articles - my book, not the my book; this book, not the this book.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .