When you look at a picture of (the, a, 0)sun, you say the sun. How about with sky? You see a picture of (the,a,0) sky, do you say a sky, the sky, or sky without an article?

One more thing: if the sky is dark, and you want to add this adjective, is it a dark say or the dark sky (still a picture of it)?

  • There is only one sky (what you see when you look up and around), and it is not a proper noun (not capitalized), so use the. "The sky" – user3169 Aug 3 '16 at 4:14

This is a good question, as the answer is not straightforward - it depends on the context. In most cases, you would use the definite article, but in some cases it can be omitted, and with certain constructions, the indefinite article is preferred - particularly when there is an implied comparison between different appearances of the sky.


The sky is an infinite movie to me. I never get tired of looking at what's happening up there. - K. D. Lang

There is the sky, which is all men's together. - Euripides

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. - John Lubbock

We are a nation of communities... a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. - George H. W. Bush

So, for your specific example, you could either say:

(In this picture,) the sky is dark.

(This is a picture of) a dark sky.

Incidentally, you can say "a golden sun" or "a blood-red sun" in much the same way when talking about "the sun".

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  • Thank you. So you look at a picture and define the sun as a golden sun, is that it? – Joe Kim Aug 3 '16 at 6:32
  • @JoeKim we would be describing the sun as golden rather than defining it. We can use "a" because it is not always golden - it can be another colour. With the sky however, you will often see "the blue sky" because when referred to by itself, it is nearly always blue (blue is nothing remarkable), but another colour is a different matter - "a grey sky" or "grey skies" would be more common than "the grey sky". – bruised reed Aug 3 '16 at 6:53
  • Thank you for your help. Then can you give me more explanation on sky without article? I know you've used an example, but it's hard for me to correctly interpret its usage. – Joe Kim Aug 3 '16 at 19:35
  • @JoeKim That would be rarer in general prose, but in specialized text like poetry, titles or labels, the articles are sometimes dropped. From your example before, If you were to write a title for your photo (as opposed to a grammatically correct complete sentence description) you could just call it "Dark sky" – bruised reed Aug 3 '16 at 19:52

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