Questions tagged [zero-article]

For questions about noun phrases that contain no articles, definite or indefinite.

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42 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why do we not use the definite article in "Where can I find the room 401?"

Last week in college, a student [with a thick South Asian accent] asked me: "Excuse me, where can I find the room 401?". I realized that to my native English ears, the word "the" sounded non-...
silph's user avatar
  • 781
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

In which situations is it OK to omit articles in short sentences?

Recently, in many new online software I often see that developers omit articles in short sentences, especially on action buttons or tooltips. For instance: "Add new task" (not "Add a new task"), "...
pch's user avatar
  • 153
18 votes
2 answers
33k views

When can an article be omitted? [duplicate]

I am aware that articles are the modifiers, which introduce a noun/noun_phrase in a sentence, and by the rules of English grammar we should use an article before referring to a noun in a sentence. ...
Sky's user avatar
  • 417
9 votes
5 answers
3k views

"police said" - why not "the police said"?

Example with a context (news article: Russian police arrest three after dramatic Moscow shootout): In their last crime, the alleged robbers had grabbed more than 8 million rubles ($146,000) in an ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
797 views

“the top levels of government” -- why not "of THE government"?

Example taken from: Russia questions five suspects over Nemtsov killing: However no information has emerged as to the possible motive the men could have had in killing the charismatic opposition ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers
1k views

"I was reading posts there" vs. "I was reading the posts there"

This is my post from History Stack Exchange. I was reading posts there and one specific issue interested me. That's why I wrote that post. Should I use the when referring to posts on History SE in ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
  • 36.6k
20 votes
10 answers
8k views

"She speaks an impeccable English" vs "She speaks impeccable English"

What is the difference between these sentences? She speaks an impeccable English. She speaks impeccable English. I understand both are correct but is one simply more specific because of ...
Word Nerd's user avatar
  • 301
15 votes
4 answers
11k views

A secretary with ____ good knowledge of English: "a" or no article?

I'm trying to pass a test on "Articles exercise" as they call it on the EnglishGrammar site. Reviewing my answers I got stuck about the two I posted on the picture below. As I understand both words ...
Andrey Morozov's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
10k views

"She's the author of" or "She's author of"? - which one is correct?

What's the difference in the usage of the article "the" with the word "author"? Why is the article "the" left in the second sentence? She's the author of "The Power of Glamour," "The Future and Its ...
masterkomp's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
3k views

When to use "such" before a noun and when to use "such a/an"?

Should you put an “a” here in the blank after such? Alpha is supposed to warrant the connection between Beta and Gamma. But ____ connection seems to be already warranted. Which one is correct ...
Sasan's user avatar
  • 2,058
12 votes
6 answers
8k views

(The?) Lions in the zoo are very aggressive [duplicate]

We use a plural count noun with no article if we mean all or any of that thing. For example: Lions are very aggressive. I don't like lions. We only use the with general ...
Tom's user avatar
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11 votes
5 answers
8k views

what kind of an animal vs. what kind of animal

An excerpt from Java for Dummies, 6th Edition: If you already know what kind of an animal Java is and know that you want to use Java, skip Chapter 1 and go straight to Chapter 2. Believe me, I won’...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
15k views

"Have you ever had surgery?" Why does surgery in this sentence have no article?

Can't we ask instead, Have you ever had a surgery? Is surgery a countable noun? I guess we can speak of surgeries in the plural form. Why should we use zero article in this sentence? Update: What ...
Vladislav's user avatar
  • 225
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why is there no article in "We are Family"?

Sister Sledge - We Are Family - YouTube I've searched on YouTube a song named 'We are Family' Why use the sentence without an article 'a' or 'the'?
Maika's user avatar
  • 173
5 votes
3 answers
7k views

Zero article before "advice", "fish and chips", "lunch"

Please explain next example: My neighbour is a photographer; let's ask him for (!) advice about colour films. We had (!) fish and (!) chips for (!) lunch. That doesn't sound a very interesting lunch....
Max Usanin's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
20k views

"What was best" vs "what was the best"?

Do both have the same meaning? Or they are subtly different? Example sentence: What was (the) best? To go left or right, up or down? In an answer on englishforums.com it says that both are exactly ...
wyc's user avatar
  • 7,145
4 votes
1 answer
179 views

Lack of Articles in Headlines

Are there any rules as to an article before a noun in the singular in headlines please, i.e. lack of an article? Description of Type of Investment
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
720 views

should there be a definite article before "eye level"? (a quote from Salinger)

From Salinger's Zooey: There were scars much nearer to eye level, too, from a rather awesome variety of airborne objects—beanbags, baseballs, marbles, skate keys, soap erasers, and ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
  • 36.6k
3 votes
1 answer
5k views

Using "the" in this sentence: "I won the first place at the tournament"

Here is the sentence where I am confused as to whether I should put the or not: "I won first place at the tournament" OR "I won the first place at the tournament" Which one is correct ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
8k views

Without (the / no article) air and water, living things could not survive

Could you please advise whether I should use definite article 'the' in the below sentence? I'm helping my little sister with an exercise of filling suitable article(s) into the blank of the sentence: ...
doquan0's user avatar
  • 1,403
2 votes
3 answers
202 views

(The|A) stor(y|ies) about James and Susie?

This question may seem too basic, but after reading through 3 grammar and usage guides, I still can't find the sufficient information on this distinction. Consider these phrases with their different ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
91 views

'at very high altitude', 'at very high altitudes': both are okay in this sentence?

I'd like to know and ask whether both the sentences below are correct. At very high altitude you will have difficulty breathing. At very high altitudes you will have difficulty breathing. My ...
Smart Humanism's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
3k views

Leave class vs leave the class

So, “May I go to the bathroom?” is “Will you please permit me to leave class and go to the bathroom?” I guess leave class would be leave the class since both the speaker and the listener know which ...
Gamal Thomas's user avatar
  • 2,099
2 votes
1 answer
287 views

Why there's no article with 'Mexican' and 'an' with American in sentence:

"She’s Mexican. But she’s married to an American." (Pimsleur English course)
asianirish's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
126 views

Why should we use "the" in "the political implications"?

Which of the following expressions is correct?: The political implications of ... Political implications of ... Is the The necessary here? When I search the web using Google, in most cases The is ...
user215721's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
155 views

Article or no article?

Why not use the article? The starting point of all achievements is the/a desire
Boyep's user avatar
  • 1,390
11 votes
2 answers
76k views

Do you have a / the time?

I am trying to cope with the ever increasing trend of new phrases in English language and found something. I have heard many a times people use "Do you have a/the time?" In reply, either we say "Yes/...
madLokesh's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
5 answers
490 views

psychologist John Hayes (THE, zero article before false titles)

An example (from The New Yorker) of a phrase with a false title (psychologist John Hayes): After Simon and Chase’s paper, for example, the psychologist John Hayes looked at seventy-six famous ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
  • 36.6k
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is Vietnamese a noun or an adjective?

If I say I am Vietnamese. Is Vietnamese a noun or an adjective? According to OALD, Vietnamese can be a noun or an adjective. If it’s a noun, why don’t we say I am a Vietnamese? Because its meaning is ...
Meow's user avatar
  • 1,213
7 votes
3 answers
865 views

How to distinguish countable and uncountable senses?

The general rule is to use an article for countable nouns (i.e. nouns permitting a plural) and no article for uncountable nouns. However, some nouns may be countable in one sense and uncountable in ...
A. Pelicker's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
655 views

Omitting the article before defining relative clause

We use the definite article before defining a relative clause when we mean specific instances— this is a well-known rule. What if we omit an article in order to say something in a more general way, ...
Nikolay Komolov's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
680 views

Zero article before emperor in "You will not be emperor"

Emperor is a countable noun according to the Cambridge dictionary. Why the zero article is used in the following sentence? You will not be emperor. (Gladiator) Comparing to the similar construction ...
Vladislav's user avatar
  • 225
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

usage of THE with the plural subject (or noun)

I have following construction. Table 4 shows the parameters used by the filtering approach. The parameters are determined by the knowledge about the data and landscape. I want to clarify, ...
gnp's user avatar
  • 1,907
4 votes
2 answers
116 views

'[That] includes publisher and date' — no article?

I stumbled upon this text: Many thanks go, first of all, to the authors of more than a thousand sentences quoted in Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style. Each author's name and the title of the work ...
Damkerng T.'s user avatar
  • 27.2k
4 votes
3 answers
255 views

Why is "a" used here?

This pain that has troubled me on a Sunday evening... Why "a" instead of "on Sunday evening"? What's the difference? It's like not every Sunday evening but every other week or so? it's present ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
912 views

“the assistant nurse” vs. “an assistant nurse”

Which article (an/the) is correct in this context? This is an exercise we had to complete in our grammar class. I filled it up like this: Write the missing articles, if one is needed. A: Who ...
Soha Farhin Pine's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
220 views

Why isn't there an article in "if you're not family"? [duplicate]

[Fred] “Merry Christmans!” [George] "Hey, look –– Harry's got a Weasley sweater, too!" Fred and George were wearing blue sweaters, one with a large yellow F on it, the other a G. "Harry'...
Listenever's user avatar
  • 24.1k
3 votes
2 answers
145 views

He was state champion and national record holder

Why is there no article used with state champion and national record holder in this sentence? In high school he was state champion and national record holder. What would happen if a or the were ...
stillenat's user avatar
  • 955
3 votes
2 answers
361 views

Zero article meaning some particular thing

Please, help me with the meaning of the sentence: "Flowers in my room brighten it up" 1) Can zero article here mean that I talk about real flowers that are now in my room, in general meaning? 2) Or ...
Nikolay Komolov's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
185 views

suspend implementation for a week -- why no article?

Usage example with a context: Tusk said the EU would go ahead anyway with new sanctions against 19 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and nine entities next week, despite having agreed on Monday to ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
419 views

why no article before G.D.P.?

A quote from NY Times: For the first quarter, the bureau now says G.D.P. grew at a 1.1 percent rate — after a series of reductions from its initial estimate of 2.5 percent. Why is there no ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
  • 36.6k
3 votes
2 answers
206 views

(The) companies engaged in this field - is article needed?

In the year 2014, Uzbekistan's chemical production grew by 9% relative to 2013. In the period under report, the companies engaged in the field increased their outputs of the following products: ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
  • 36.6k
3 votes
1 answer
463 views

English Definite Article "the" with "Same"

I know we often use the English article "the" before nouns. But I have noticed this is not always true. According to the Oxford dictionary, "Same" is used as Adjective, Pronoun, and Adverb. Oxford ...
Anonymous's user avatar
  • 335
3 votes
1 answer
93 views

Exxon and (∅, the) other oil majors

A quote from The Economist: Yet Exxon and the other oil supermajors are more vulnerable than they look. What if we insert a zero article in THE's position before the "other": Yet Exxon and ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
  • 36.6k
3 votes
2 answers
123 views

Why neither "the" or "a" is used to identify a mug (see details below)?

Just noticed my coffee mug lid has text saying "See important warning on bottom of mug". Why it's not "bottom of the mug"? It is very specific mug this lid connected to, this is why I expect it to be "...
Oleksandr Golovatyi's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
82 views

"If you own" or "If you own a" when talking about a product in an ad

Let's say there is a game console called Bumby that can be used to play every single game available. "If you own Bumby, you won't need another console." "If you own a Bumby, you won't need ...
Bumberby's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
539 views

Can a singular noun follow zero-article?

I go to the bank, and ask: Which type of account should I open if I want to receive money from my foreign friend? "Account" is a singular noun; is it correct that a singular noun follows zero-...
Novice's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
1 answer
292 views

'Level' - no article? With an article?

The world 'level' is a bit tricky for me as it appears either with or without the definite article. I'm trying to understand when I can get rid of the definite article and when it should stay. I ...
Fae's user avatar
  • 178
2 votes
2 answers
92 views

Would you use "the" in "(the) division of opinions"?

The division of opinions among political parties is good for democracy in new nations. Division of opinions among political parties is good for democracy in new nations. I don't know if "the&...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
774 views

dreams of empire -- why no article in front of "empire"?

Usage example with a context: Close to the end of the World War II, as Nazi dreams of empire were collapsing in flames, a noted French collaborationist explained how the Germans did it all wrong. ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar