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Questions tagged [zero-article]

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

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35
votes
4answers
3k 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-...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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"), "...
16
votes
2answers
22k 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. ...
9
votes
5answers
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
891 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
20
votes
10answers
7k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
4k 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’...
5
votes
2answers
597 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
602 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'?
4
votes
1answer
134 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
2
votes
1answer
110 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)
11
votes
4answers
384 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
44k 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/...
5
votes
2answers
317 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
381 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
360 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
101 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
121 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
201 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'...
4
votes
2answers
536 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
293 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
89 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 "...
2
votes
4answers
691 views

Use/nonuse of articles in 'a state of residual charge of battery of a microphone at a…'

I know you put 'a', 'an', or 'the' for countable nouns. But I sometimes see some phrases without the articles when they are supposed to be included. For example, a state of residual charge of ...
2
votes
2answers
786 views

from chilliest era of the Cold War — where did the article go?

Source: A new Cold War with Russia? Last week the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from chilliest era of ...
0
votes
1answer
11k views

“English”, “the English” or “an English”? [duplicate]

Well, one thing came in my mind when I've posted a comment on SO. Comment is: Do you understand English? Can we write the English or an English ? I'm generally use Grammar Checker when i confuse, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
82 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
222 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
82 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k 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: ...
3
votes
2answers
163 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: ...
2
votes
3answers
180 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
128 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
364 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
64 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
150 views

Adjective or possessive?

Consider the following sentence: Who is the president of France? I want to build a shorter sentence and I don't know if I should use a noun adjective or possessive mark: Who is the France's ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

You know how to turn on (the) printer(s)!

You know how to turn on (the) printer(s)! A child has turned on a computer and you are making a mark. It is the printer, but you are not limiting your meaning to this occasion and you mean printers ...
0
votes
2answers
634 views

“Make easy” vs. “Make it easy”

I need to know which of these options is the correct one and why: The Spanish cooking makes it easy to have a nice meal. The Spanish cooking makes easy to have a nice meal. I don't know if ...