This question came in the Dhaka University admission exam 2005-06

Q) Choose the correct sentence:

(a) Hearing the noise, boy wakes up.

(b) Hearing noise, boy woke up.

(c) Hearing the noise, the boy woke up.

(d) Hearing noise, the boy woke up.

We can eliminate (a) and (b) right off the bat. Funnily enough, the question bank says that (b) is the correct one.

Now, I'm split between (c) and (d). Both seem correct. I found (c) being used here, and in some other places. I didn't find (d) being used anywhere, though. Which is the best answer out of the two options?

I request answers/comments that reflect common practices of American and British English.

  • 1
    Hearing noise boy woke up, Marta pensively looked out the window, enjoying the day's last few moments peace. I can fit B in like that but, as recently indicated on ELL, Bangladeshi English is its own dialect and I am not speaker.
    – EllieK
    May 27 at 12:40
  • 6
    Am I the only one who is extremely concerned about the frequency of questions like this? It seems like every week is another one of these multiple choice english proficiency tests with multiple arguably-correct answers, and the official correct answer being entirely wrong. It's a real tragedy for students faced with these exams. May 27 at 20:44
  • 3
    I suspect the problem is with the "answer bank". It is not clear to me that the answers come from the university. It is quite possible that the solutions have been produced by a well meaning but incompetant learner. As evidence I note that the the question may have been misquoted. See blog.learntube.academy/… "Hearing the noise, boy wakes up\\ Hearing the noise, boy woken up\\ Hearing the noise, the boy woke up\\ Hearing noise, the boy wake up\\ Ans. Hearing the noise, the boy woke up" Different question, correct answer.
    – James K
    May 27 at 21:29
  • 1
    @JamesK Yes. The Question bank has been provided by a third party not affiliated with the University. I rechecked the question bank. I didn't make errors in copying. Probably, the author(s) of the question bank made errors while copying. May 28 at 5:29
  • 2
    So I suppose that is the answer. Don't use that question bank. Ideally get the questions and solutions directly from DU, But if not possible then at least use another source of answers, since the one you're using has been shown to be unreliable.
    – James K
    May 28 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


I think c or d could be correct, depending on context.

"The noise" implies that we have already mentioned a source of noise:

Susan dropped her shoes beside the bed. Hearing the noise, the boy woke up.

"Noise" implies this is the first time it's mentioned, or perhaps noise was only hinted at indirectly:

During the night, a small herd of cattle made its way slowly past the camp. Hearing noise, the boy woke up.

  • 1
    Nice answer. Giving an upvote. Depending on context, any of “hearing a noise,” “hearing noises,” “hearing noise,” “hearing the noise,” and “hearing the noises” may be appropriate. May 27 at 12:58

You are correct that the options a) and b) are incorrect, as "the" should be added in front of "boy".

Let's talk about c) and d).

In my opinion, the both options are correct. According to British Council, the article "the" should be used when you are talking about something mentioned before.

In option c), "The noise" means that we had already mentioned that before, for example:

Suddenly, an eerie howl appeared in the woods. Hearing the noise, the boy woke up.

In this example, "the noise" refers to the eerie howl. Hearing the eerie howl, the boy woke up.

And in option d), the "noise" (note that in option c) I wrote "the noise" but here I wrote the "noise") can mean any noise. It may be the buzzing sound of mosquitoes, the meowing sounds of cats, or anything.

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