Skip to main content
48 votes
Accepted

Why can I write "Please open window" without an article?

Signs and notices of this kind are often written in "headlinese," an abbreviated style that omits articles, forms of to be, and other unnecessary words. Similar examples include signs like &...
alphabet's user avatar
  • 3,964
31 votes

Is the rule of when to add the articles: (a, the, no article) before a noun, too flexible in English?

Because he is using pavement as an uncountable noun, denoting a substance. In my experience this is not a common use, but I suspect that that is my British English background: in British English, ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.9k
29 votes

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

Some words and phrases in English can be either countable or uncountable. The difference in meaning between the two is often subtle. Sometimes the difference can shift us from a general concept to a ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 67.3k
28 votes

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

The very brief answer is that "abandon ship" is an idiom, a stock phrase. There also seems to be a convention that orders of a military or quasi-military nature tend to be succinct, e.g., "Cease fire" ...
Jeff Morrow's user avatar
  • 32.1k
26 votes
Accepted

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

"Of all time" means, essentially, ever. "The best artists of all time" means the best artists of any time, across all time, ever. This gets rephrased as "all time best", or "all-time best", but that ...
SamBC's user avatar
  • 22.8k
25 votes

(The?) Lions in the zoo are very aggressive

Lions in the zoo are very aggressive Can be paraphrased: When lions are put in a zoo they become aggressive. You are stating a general fact about lions in zoos everywhere. "in the zoo" need not ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
25 votes
Accepted

A or no article? “He is_____ racist.”

Like so many other words in English (antique, chief, expert, orange, phony, suspect, etc.), "racist" works as both a noun and an adjective. He is racist. (adjective) He is a racist. (noun) ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
24 votes
Accepted

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

A Victorian 23 knots means "23 knots, which is a speed you would have expected in the Victorian era"—that is, during the reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1901.
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

Is Vietnamese a noun or an adjective?

The ODO says Vietnamese ADJECTIVE Relating to Vietnam, its people, or their language. ‘He liked Asian people, Vietnamese people in particular, and their culture, considerably more than he ...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 45.4k
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 ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
17 votes

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

I'm not going to tell you in absolute terms that #1 is never a valid sentence but I can still tell you that they are not going to mean the same thing. It is not the case that the first one is "more ...
shawnt00's user avatar
  • 763
17 votes

Why can I write "Please open window" without an article?

An older term for this kind of writing is “telegraphic style.” Telegrams charged by the letter, so people would send messages as short as possible to save money. Businesses, such as banks and ...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 8,491
16 votes

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

The other answers are baffling me. As a native speaker of American English, #1 sounds absolutely wrong. You don't speak "an English", so you can't speak "an impeccable English". You speak "English"...
BradC's user avatar
  • 2,764
16 votes

(The?) Lions in the zoo are very aggressive

Because you are talking about the lions in the NY zoo, you should use the article. (Otherwise, your sentence makes it sound like you are talking about all lions at all zoos.) As for the accounting ...
J.R.'s user avatar
  • 110k
14 votes

"... is called Minkowski space" or "is called the Minkowski space" and WHY?

There is a shade of meaning. Minkowski space is a mathematical entity that can be studied and applied to several different cases, but there is one specific case which stands out, as this entity ...
laugh salutes Monica C's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

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

In your context, the best relates to {something}, whereas best relates to a course of action. Plastic, wood, or metal container? What was the best choice for this purpose? Plastic, wood, or ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
13 votes

A or no article? “He is_____ racist.”

Both are grammatically correct, and the difference is just about what nuance the author wants the sentence to have. They do have slightly different meanings, however. A racist is a person who is ...
Nathan Young's user avatar
  • 1,363
13 votes

Articles with professions: "The job of teacher" vs "The job of a teacher"

“The job of teacher” has essentially the same meaning as “the occupation of teaching,” whereas “the job of a teacher” is (often anyway) the same as “the responsibility or role that is expected of ...
Paul Tanenbaum's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Is the begining of the sentence with the zero article correct?

No, you can't. If you're talking about video baby monitors in general, you can say: A video baby monitor is also great for prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or Video baby monitors ...
rjpond's user avatar
  • 23.1k
11 votes

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

Family as used in the title is an uncountable noun. We don't use articles (a/the) to introduce such nouns. Family can be countable or uncountable. We need to be careful when thinking about the ...
Jim Reynolds's user avatar
  • 9,997
11 votes
Accepted

My brother has turned writer VS. My brother has turned a writer

The only possible correct option is the blank: My brother has turned writer. It isn't particularly idiomatic, but the other options are just wrong. We do say that someone "turned [occupation]&...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 105k
10 votes

(The?) Lions in the zoo are very aggressive

There's some subtle difference. If we're excited to go, but you cautiously say: Lions in the zoo are very aggressive. This sounds more general. I would get the idea that something about being in ...
Dan Passaro's user avatar
10 votes

Are all article combinations valid patterns for "the" ɴᴏᴜɴ of "the" ɴᴏᴜɴ?

Examples 1 thru 3 at least are grammatically valid. I am dubious about 4 in this specific case. However, they do not all mean the same thing, nor will the answers be the same for all possible nouns. ...
David Siegel's user avatar
  • 41.2k
9 votes
Accepted

Is, "deliberately" dropping articles almost equal to the English grammar?

The article wasn't dropped - it is correctly non-present. The general concept at play here is sometimes called "zero article" or "zero marking." The sentence would sound very strange to me if it had ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 8,220
9 votes
Accepted

A question regarding using the definite article

You shouldn't eliminate them. Typically the articles before rain and drizzle are necessary, because it's a specific instance of rain/drizzle that is causing your decision in the rest of the sentence. ...
Katy's user avatar
  • 11k
9 votes

Articles with professions: "The job of teacher" vs "The job of a teacher"

The article in 'the job of a teacher, sailor, doctor, (or whatever) may be sometimes omitted. It is not compulsory, so whoever told you that 'with professions we always use the indefinite article' was ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
8 votes

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

She speaks an impeccable English. Concept A: Not all Englishes are the same, even within a particular dialect. We have our own idiolects. Her English (the English she speaks) is impeccable. ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
8 votes
Accepted

'The' after 'due to' is compulsory?

It depends on the context, and you've provided too little of it for a definitive answer. Grammatically, there's no reason an article must be included after the phrase due to. For example: We can'...
J.R.'s user avatar
  • 110k
8 votes
Accepted

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

As @Fumblefingers notes, "abandon ship" is akin to a "phrasal verb". While it seems to be a slightly different form of fowl, it's apparently non-standard construction 'makes sense' in the same way ...
Russell McMahon's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Article. The word "Respect"

This is one case where usage has changed a bit over time, but with or without the article are both fine... It's obviously ridiculous to suppose that what people mean by the article/no article choice ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible