Questions tagged [zero-article]

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

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37
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-...
25
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5answers
7k views

“I don't have the time to cook” or “I don't have time to cook”?

Should I say: I do not have the time. Or I do not have time. Which option is the correct one? If both are correct, is there any difference in meaning or other difference between them?
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

“He gave the order to abandon ship.” - why no article?

The entry for "abandon" in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary contains the following example sentence: He gave the order to abandon ship (= to leave the ship because it was sinking). I ...
16
votes
2answers
24k 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. ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Why is there the indefinite article in: “a Victorian 23 knots”?

I've recently watched Top Gear and one of the presenters said there: ...In fact, I was only doing a Victorian 23 knots. Why did he use the indefinite article when the noun is in the plural? And what ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

“The,” or no article: “All _____ time.”

What is the difference? Or is it grammatically wrong? all time or all the time And if you make such a proposal, it will be wrong? The best artists of the time (When you add the article the ...
14
votes
5answers
896 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
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4answers
6k 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 ...
12
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6answers
7k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
6k 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’...
11
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4answers
386 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

A or no article? “He is_____ racist.”

Why in most cases do not put the article "a", when you enter the sentence in the search? In the example on this site, the article is adding (OALD (American English)) Just enter in the search and you ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

“… is called Minkowski space” or “is called the Minkowski space” and WHY?

I met both constructions in quite respectable texts. Is it a matter of taste, or of a shade of meaning?
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 ...
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"), "...
8
votes
2answers
49k 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/...
8
votes
4answers
858 views

Are all article combinations valid patterns for “the” ɴᴏᴜɴ of “the” ɴᴏᴜɴ?

Please consider: We should pay attention to the quality of the presentation. We should pay attention to the quality of presentation. We should pay attention to quality of presentation. We should pay ...
8
votes
4answers
777 views

Is it correct to use zero article in this sentence?

There is an exercise in Gateway B1 Student's book, page 13, where you need to choose the correct article. The answer key for this sentence: The results show that ∅ / the teenagers who eat with ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

When to use an article before “reason”

Please help me to understand when should I use an article before reason and when I should not use any article before reason. Examples: (A) I have reason to do this. (B) I have a good reason ...
7
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
773 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'?
7
votes
1answer
661 views

Why isn’t there any article before this countable noun?

There was chaise longue at the end of the dressing room, and Clea crept to it now and lay down, pulling her knees up to her chin. (Clea & Zeus Divorce by Emily Prager,p.54) I don’t find out why ...
7
votes
2answers
238 views

Why don't we use “the” before “third gear”?

Or fifth, fourth, whatever. Omitting the article would make sense if it were "gear five". But with gear being a countable noun, I'm totally stumped. For example, Whenever I start my car I switch ...
7
votes
1answer
496 views

When should one use articles with adjective+proper noun?

I've always thought that we don't use articles when the adjective is descriptive as in "Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas". And that we do use them when the adjective makes the proper noun different from ...
7
votes
3answers
545 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Is “Bananas grow in a tropical climate” grammatically correct?

I'm trying to learn grammar from an IETLS book, In one of the fill in the blank type question, there is one question such as : Bananas grow in _______. The answers page says that the correct ...
6
votes
3answers
398 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
259 views

before we get to yuppie — why no article in front of “yuppie”?

Source: short audio clip Transcript: So, what is a yuppie? Well, actually before we get to yuppie, we need to go back in time. Let's go back all the way to the 1940s. Now, a couple months ago, in ...
6
votes
4answers
126 views

“the bounds of keyboard and cables, of monitor and mouse” - why no articles?

Source: How Computers Work by Ron White Example: The deskless PC has long been computing's holy grail, a computer that slips the bounds of keyboard and cables, of monitor and mouse, to soar free ...
6
votes
1answer
428 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
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, ...
6
votes
2answers
72 views

The definite article in phrases with “from”?

So, I learned that you use the definite article with specific nouns and no article with plurals or general nouns. In my practice book, there's an example that confuses me. It is a task where you have ...
5
votes
3answers
212 views

“Verge of shutdown” or “Verge of a shutdown”?

Which one of the following is grammatically correct? Abc Country might be on the verge of a shutdown. or, Abc Country might be on the verge of shutdown?. I think the second one is right.
5
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
529 views

Should I put “an” to describe “knowledge”

I am trying to post an advertisement, which is: Job opportunity: A company located in XXX needs employees. Requirements: some knowledge about NoSQL (preferable Couchbase) and elasticsearch. ...
5
votes
1answer
387 views

What is this over?

"I walked over hill and valley" from a workbook Does this mean walk all over hill and valley? or other things?
5
votes
1answer
129 views

The usage of the definite article

I'm watching a movie about an asteroid colliding with the Earth. At some point I saw a caption: 10 days until impact Why isn't it 10 days until the impact There is one particulat impact that ...
5
votes
1answer
187 views

Is this proper English “They have church building, but they're not church.”?

In a script I am working on a line is phrased within the movie: "They have church building, but they're not church." It is our job to edit the lines and make it more natural for the American ...
5
votes
2answers
102 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
228 views

“calculus” and “the calculus” - what's the difference?

Example: Now, if you picked up the book and looked through it, the first thing you'd notice is that it was presented in the imposing format that the ancient mathematician Euclid had used in his ...
5
votes
2answers
610 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
126 views

condition - a / no article

Why in some cases condition is used with an article and in some cases with no article? For example: Considering its age, this house is in excellent condition. He was in a terrible condition ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

Zero article before a noun

Please kindly help me understand the rules under which zero articles are used before the nouns appearing to be countable in these examples: As will be explained in [para] 2.3, several different ...
5
votes
2answers
736 views

When does one drop the article after “with”?

This question was already asked here, but didn't receive a proper answer. In a book on writing papers in english, one reads that the article is omitted "in some expressions describing a noun". The ...
5
votes
1answer
417 views

into night or into the night

I thought of another question led by a question in an exam. The paper is due next month, and I am working seven days ______ week, often long into______night. A. a; the B.the; / C.a; a D./; ...
5
votes
2answers
363 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, ...
5
votes
4answers
341 views

Why can articles be omitted in this sentence?

But all the while, he lived in the guesthouse where authorities believe he turned from con man to killer. (source) This seems to be a case of article elision. Why can articles be dropped before "con ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

“In chat” vs “in the chat”

Which one is correct? Short questions are welcome in chat, like if you want to ask about a sentence. or Short questions are welcome in the chat, like if you want to ask about a ...

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