I have two sentences where I am not sure, whether I can omit an article or not. This is maybe bordering on stylistic choice:

"The rising sea quenched the fires of the last great war and the remnants of yesterday became islands in an ocean of oblivion. And

  • last shelter for survivors clinging to life." [No article]
  • the last shelter for survivors clinging to live."
  • one last shelter for survivors clinging to live."
  • a last shelter for survivors clinging to life."

"A world without pastures, without flocks, without

  • a god."
  • god."

Notice: I'm not using God as the Christian name/adress for the God (like "please, God, help me"), but referring to it as Generic term, like

  • a town without (a) maior
  • a story without (a) hero
  • a crime without (a) victim

In German the articles would be omitted in those cases.

  • 1
    I think you do need an article in all these cases. The article can be omitted in certain cases (e.g. without end, without purpose), but not usually. Thackeray's subtitle for Vanity Fair was 'A novel without a hero'. Feb 12, 2021 at 19:53
  • In the title, it should read "these", not "those". "Those" suggests we've already seen the cases. Jul 23, 2022 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


I agree that with these options, it's going to be a stylistic choice thing.

In you first sentence, "and last shelter" would have a certain archaic dramatic feel to it in the way that a medieval drama would be narrated. On a different vein, "the last shelter" might suggest that this shelter is literally "the last" whereas "one/a last shelter" would seem to only suggest scarcity.

In the second sentence, I think a monotheistic would respond to "without god" with empathy, thinking it conveyed "oh, these people lack our sense of religion". But using "a god" would allow more of a scholarly eye at the setting where one would consider this place to be one of great practicality or great seriousness where religion/"greater meaning" isn't something they have time for or interest in.

  • 1
    'Without any god' would make the meaning clearer. Feb 12, 2021 at 20:04
  • 1
    It's OK to omit the article when the noun is plural, but I'm assuming that most English speakers, believers or not, would assume god without any article or determiner to refer to God. Feb 12, 2021 at 20:21
  • @Porkfu Monotheistic is an adjective, not a noun. No idea what you mean by allow more of a scholarly eye at the setting. Prefer In a different vein to on a different vein. books.google.com/ngrams/… Feb 12, 2021 at 20:36

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