26 votes

"a L2 learner" or "an L2 learner"

You should say "an L2 learner". Here's the explanation: Most students think they should only use "an" before the words that begin with the letters "a, e, i, o, u"; ...
  • 1,110
24 votes

Why is it "the North Island" and not "North Island" in New Zealand?

It is not at all uncommon in English (and other languages) for established regions of countries to be prefixed with a definite article. See: the Camargue (in France) the Algarve (in Portugal) the ...
20 votes

Why is it "the North Island" and not "North Island" in New Zealand?

Naming is highly ideosyncratic. While there are some common patterns, there are also many exceptions, and this is one of them. You can't usually identify reasons for the exceptions, they just happen ...
  • 2,016
18 votes
Accepted

Why is the `the` determiner missing before the word camp?

For historical reasons, some words for places don't always require an article. "Camp" is one of those words. All of these are correct, for instance: My father is at church. Joe got sent ...
  • 21.8k
17 votes
Accepted

Using "a" with the word "slang"

"Slang" as a noun refers to the entire body of very informal language and terms, not just one word. So, we would say "it is a slang word", not "it is a slang". That would ...
  • 77.2k
17 votes

"a L2 learner" or "an L2 learner"

You should consider the sound when it comes to these issues. Take a look at these examples: A European. Here we use "a" because of the reason that the word "European" starts with ...
  • 433
17 votes
Accepted

"a L2 learner" or "an L2 learner"

Expanding on what @Kate Bunting commented: generally, when a text contains acronyms (like "L2"), these are read/pronounced letter for letter, and since the "L" is pronounced "...
12 votes

"Heaven's Gate" vs "The Gates of Hell"

Both of the expressions you cited contain determiners: "Heaven's Gate": the determiner is a possessive noun ("Heaven's") A nominal phrase usually takes only one determiner. "...
11 votes

Why is it "the North Island" and not "North Island" in New Zealand?

Speaking as a NZer, it's the North Island simply because it's a descriptive label... out of the two main islands that make up the country, it's the northern one. And likewise the South Island being ...
10 votes
Accepted

Hearing the noise vs Hearing noise

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 ...
10 votes
Accepted

Undergo surgery/a surgery: Is using "a" before surgery wrong?

In British English, 'surgery', meaning 'the treatment of injuries or diseases in people or animals by cutting open the body and removing or repairing the damaged part' is a non-count (uncountable) ...
9 votes

The information or simply information

Either information or the information can be used. Use it without an article if you mean information generally. Use the information if you have specific information in mind, especially if you have ...
9 votes
Accepted

Must I use "my" when referring to my own bodypart or can I use "the" without technically breaking any rules?

English is very short on "rules" - we don't have a "Royal Academy of the English Language" like some languages do - but the forehead here sounds weird to US English speakers. My ...
  • 36.6k
6 votes

Is the definite article needed in "the recommendation of (the) passenger"?

First, passenger means "somebody who travels in a vehicle but is not controlling that vehicle". It is incoherent to use "passenger" when there is no vehicle expressed or implied in ...
  • 66.9k
6 votes
Accepted

Why may "he's real scum" be without any article, while "he's a real hero" must be with the article?

Very simply, because hero is countable and in most normal situations scum is not countable. The following are all similar: He's real scum. He's real trash. He's real soup. But He's a real hero. He's ...
5 votes

An apartment with 'three bed-room' or 'a three bed-room'?

The sentence is wrong in any case. "Bedroom" is not only a single word, but a countable noun - so it needs to be pluralised. I am living in an apartment with three bedrooms. However ...
5 votes
Accepted

"Heaven's Gate" vs "The Gates of Hell"

You can put "the" in front of either gates of heaven or gates of hell. And it can be one gate or more, though in the King James Version of the Bible: "gate of heaven" appears once....
5 votes

Why is it "the North Island" and not "North Island" in New Zealand?

The New Zealand Geographic Board seemingly has a strange dislike for arthrous proper nouns (including its own moniker), and declared in 2009 that the official English names are simply "North ...
5 votes

Is it wrong to use "...the access..." in this sentence?

Both are correct and have similar enough meanings that it probably makes no difference. The difference comes from the word "the" adding the nuance of specificity. Without "the", it ...
  • 21.8k
4 votes

Do you say "On the air" or "on air"?

Webster's dictionary defines "on the air" as an idiomatic term for broadcasting, and in the same entry notes that 'on air' is a "less common variant". However, this ngram would ...
  • 77.2k
4 votes

"She's at THE airport"

It could absolutely be "an airport"; a shortcoming of many tests is to expect only one of several valid possibilities. If you answered "an" and the test is being graded by a human, ...
  • 8,697
4 votes

When to use the phrase 'a enough time'?

The answer to "When should I use the phrase a enough time" is "Never". The answer is the same in respect of an enough time. Ther are no contexts where enough can be directly ...
  • 66.9k
4 votes

"The" or "an" official language

As a question, both "a" and "the" are correct. You would use "the language" if you believed that there was only one, and you want to know what it is. The answer to that ...
  • 158k
4 votes

Article with parts of the body

Typically, on first mention, the indefinite article is used: He complained of [having] a sore throat. She has a grazed knee. Aloysius has a weak heart. Exceptions occur with post-specification: ...
4 votes

With all the short forms (abbreviations) , should we use only "an" as article?

The indefinite article used before a letter of the alphabet, alone or starting an abbreviation or initialism, depends on the pronunciation of the letter. 'An' before a vowel sound, 'a' before a ...
4 votes
Accepted

"A/The most confusing definition"?

This is an interesting and rather subtle distinction. When used with "the," the adverb most is in fact a superlative. "The most confusing definition" means the definition which is ...
  • 20.8k
4 votes

Why does "in the theatre" have a definite article?

"The" can refer to particular instances of things, such as a particular theater, as in "the theater at the corner of 43rd Ave and Main Street". But it can also be used to refer to ...
  • 154
4 votes
Accepted

Should I change the article for a noun starting with a vowel sound if it is preceeded but an adjective starting with a consonant sound and vice versa?

You should definitely do it. It's not about parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc). It's about words. Here's a simpler example: It's a city. (c is a consonant sound) It's an old city. (o is a ...
  • 1,110
4 votes
Accepted

How to count bath: Roman baths

The line you seem to refer to is: Explore beautiful Bath with a walking tour and visit the famous Roman Baths and Pump Rooms. In this line, "Bath" is the name of a city. The "Roman ...
  • 158k
4 votes

Articles with colors

This question is about how to follow the rules of countability with colour words. The word "colour" here is a countable noun, so we have to use "a". With actual colour words like &...
  • 21.8k

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