which one is correct?

1.Army has raided the house.

2.The army has raided the house.

Is it mandatory to place definite article in front of material noun? such as the family, the police.....


The army has raided the house

Because without any context, I may consider that as part of the country's military force. And, when that is the case, the word takes the definite article.

Check the entry in the OxfordDictionaries:

(the army) The part of a country's military force trained to fight on land.

However, 'an army' is possible but then the case is different:

An army of bystanders watched the film crew work.

For the second part of your question, the answer is both yes and no. It depends on the context. If you are specific, you may use the definite article, or else not.

A good read is here.

  • It's worth noting that in the US just the name "Army" is used when referring to its collegiate sports teams. – chrylis -on strike- Feb 11 '19 at 8:26
  • 1
    @chrylis How? – Maulik V Feb 11 '19 at 8:27
  • 1
    @MaulikV What's that comment supposed to mean? Are you disagreeing? Asking for clarification or evidence? – Anthony Grist Feb 11 '19 at 11:25
  • @MaulikV From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army%E2%80%93Navy_Game: "Army and Navy first met on the field on November 29, 1890." In this context, "Army" refers to the football team of the United States Military Academy at West Point. – David K Feb 11 '19 at 14:43

Specifically for your question, option 2 is correct. Army is a collective noun, so it requires an article.

Regarding the second question, it is necessary to have an article come before collective nouns (the family, the police). This actually holds true for most non-proper nouns. For example, with the correct item first:

  • The dog ate the food vs dog ate the food
    • If the dog's name was Rex, you could say Rex ate the food because Rex is a proper noun.
  • The desk was broken vs desk was broken
    • If you decided to name your desk Fred (for some reason), you could say Fred was broken because Fred is a proper noun.
  • "Police came to our house at 6 am" is correct IMHO. You say that "is a collective noun, so it requires an article", I don't want to contradict that, but I think an English learner must be aware that a noun may be a collective noun but may not always be used as such. – Law29 Feb 11 '19 at 8:33
  • @Law29 - in your example "Police came to our house at 6am", this is a different use. In this case, "Police" is a short form of "police officers": i.e "Police officers came to our house". Whereas in the OP's usage of Army, they're talking about "The Army" as an organisation. So if you're talking about the police force as an organisation - on police business - you'd still say "The police came to our house". – Chris Melville Feb 11 '19 at 10:55
  • @Law29 - I disagree slightly - the sentence should be 'The police came to our house at 6 am' or a variation of 'Policemen/Police officers came to our house at 6am' – charmer Feb 11 '19 at 13:09
  • @ChrisMelville Yes -- an English learner must be aware that a noun may be a collective noun but may not always be used as such. – Law29 Feb 11 '19 at 20:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.