This is a real war, and the whole of the city is on edge.

How the meaning of this sentence changes if ALL the articles are removed, like so:

This is real war, and whole of city is on edge.

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    In practice it doesn't make any real difference to the meaning whether you include an article or not in a real war. Come to that, t doesn't make any real difference whether you include the word real either. But "whole of city" isn't valid English, so I think this question nets down to Off Topic proofreading anyway. Feb 26 at 11:39
  • I'd say 'a real war' here is the preferred choice. 'It must be classified as a war rather than say a mere border skirmish'. 'This is real war' would be used to mean 'really fierce engagements rather than say a longish lull in a declared war'. // As FF says, 'the whole of city is on edge' is unacceptable. Feb 26 at 11:49
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1 Answer 1


If you remove the articles the sentence ceases to be English.

A native speaker would probably be able to understand the gist, but mentally inserting the articles in places that are reasonable.

It is possible to omit the article before "real war" because it is possible to use "war" as a non-count noun. There is little change in meaning.

It is not possible to omit the articles before "city" in English.

  • Thanks. How about the omissions of articles in headlines and headings, like in this one: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_London Feb 26 at 15:13
  • How about it? That's a title, and a proper noun. It's not a grammatical sentence. It is like saying "Dog"... it's a word, but it isn't a sentence. There's no grammar. If you are putting words together to make a sentence, then you need sentence grammar. Sometimes that means you have to have some articles. Look at the rest of the Wikipedia page and you'll see sentences, and the word "the" is used very often.
    – James K
    Feb 26 at 16:20
  • This title looks like a proper sentence. Still no ‘the’ before city: bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-24/… Feb 26 at 18:53
  • Not a sentence.
    – James K
    Feb 26 at 20:12

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