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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

English Definite and Zero Articles, Explanations


  1. Deserts: the Sahara, the Gobi
  2. Capes : the Cape of Good Hope
  3. Rivers: the Danube, the Nile, the Mississippi
  4. Seas: the Black Sea
  5. Oceans: the Atlantic Ocean
  6. Countries [ few]: the USA, the  Netherlands, theRepublic of Korea, the U.K., the Republic of China [ or, simply, China, with no article ]
  7. Cities [ few] : the Hague
  8. Ships: the Titanic, the Queen Victoria, the Mayflower
  9. Newspapers: the Guardian, the Times, the New York Times
  10. Institutions, organizations: libraries, theaters, cinemas, town halls: the Town Hall, the University of Virginia, the United Nations[ the U.N.], the F.B.I
  11. Groups of Islands: the Hebrides, the Philippines
  12. Mountain ranges : the Alps, the Carpathians, the Andes
  13. Canals : The Suez
  14. Gulfs : the San Francisco Gulf
  15. Hotels: the Marriott
  16. Restaurants: the Lido
  17. Museums: the Madame Tussauds
  18. Groups of lakes : the Great Lakes
  19. Plurals: the Kennedys
  20. Number ranges: the Sixties
  21. Zoos: the Brookfield Zoo
  22. Some buildings: the Empire State Building
  23. Languages [with “language”] : the Korean language
  24. Titles [no name] : the President, the Sun King
  25. Regions :the Midwest
  26. German mountains: the Matterhorn
                                ZERO ARTICLE

 1. The generic function: this function is specific to the zero article; it goes with mass nouns:

Dogs are friendly animals
Water is heavier than oil.
Blood is thicker than water.
Love is a noble feeling.
Music is the finest of arts.

Man is mortal.
Spring begins in March.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day.

  2. Before the vocatives:
         Listen, John! Good bye, Sir! Of course, boy!

    3.  Zero article can be a non – significant determiner in a variety of cases:
-        with proper nouns, names of countries, towns, continents,  people, months of the year, days of the week, languages, titles and ranks.

E.g. Europe, Romania, Africa, Rome, John, January, Monday,
-        With titles and ranks + surname or when we address a person by his / her title or rank, articles of any kind are dropped.
Professor Johnson is away.
Dr. Cook has not been here for ten years.
Captain Brown has come recently.
Can I talk to you, Doctor?
Colonel, someone is looking for you!

     4. Zero article is used before meals:

We are having dinner at eight.

   5.  Zero article after prepositions:

--the definite article is not used before the nouns listed below:
We go to /bed / sleep / church / hospital / school / college /university
--exceptions to the rule are: cathedral, cinema, theatre, office
John and Mary are at the cinema.
We go to the theater every week.

6. Zero article with nouns associated with numerals:
We say: Ex. 10, Lesson 5, Chapter 11, Volume 9, Book 1, Section 3

 7.  Zero article in set phrases:

From time to time
At dawn / night / midday / noon / midnight
From dawn to dusk
By sea / land / train
On sale
Last night
In front of

8. Sometimes the article is omitted in stage directions, titles, telegrams, poetry.
Mutilated body found in Yellow Lake![newspaper title] 
Boys coming Monday night! [telegram]

   9. Zero article is used with:

People: Queen Victoria
Large lakes: Lake Ontario
Single mountains : Mt. Fuji [ exceptions to the rule: the Matterhorn, the Jungfrau ]
“Name” – number : Chapter 6, Flight 167
Individual people: Maggie, G. Bush
Continents, countries, states, cities: AustraliaCanada,IllinoisChicago
Months, days : October, Monday
Languages: Korean
Streets, Avenues: Lincoln Ave.
Small lakes: Homer Lake
Single islands: Staten Island
Colleges / Universities : Harvard [University], but : theUniversity of Harvard
Parks : Hessel ParkHyde Park
Magazines: Life
Some buildings: Davenport Hall

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