simple English is !!
There is only one
definite article, and that is "the";
the only difficulty is knowing when to use it, and when it is not
of the definite article depends
on the nature or type of noun that is being used.
As in other
languages, nouns in English can be
divided into two distinct categories, called: count
QUESTION concerns plural nouns:
are nouns referring to items that can be counted, for
car, two pencils, three people,
four guitarists, five hotels etc.
These nouns can be used in the singular or the plural
In the singular,
The dog is happy.
dog is happy, etc: but not:
is happy )
I'm reading the book you gave me.
In the plural,
require a determiner,
depending on context.
are nouns referring to abstractions, substances or
health, money, heat, astronomy
In the singular,
They can NOT usually be used in
Generalisation or not?
is not easy to decide if a plural
noun is being used as a generalization, or in a restrictive context :
the speaker or writer can choose. Look at these two sentences:
London buses are red
(a), the writer is clearly implying
a generalisation on the noun group
The London buses are red.
London buses are
(b), he is referring to a restricted
or defined category of the noun:
London buses are red, but other buses
may be of other colours.
like these, one therefore has a choice;
but the choice is not always completely free, as it often depends on context.
Is it more important or more logical to imply a generalization, or a
whether it is best to use an article
in such cases is a skill that has to be mastered!
English has two
indefinite articles, a
a is used before nouns starting
with a consonant
or a semivowel
an is used before nouns
with a phonetic
dog, a cat, an apple, an orange, an uncle,
university (because the word university
with phonetic [ju], which is not a vowel).
Indefinite articles can only be used with count nouns. They are used
when a count noun in the singular refers
to a non-specified or non defined entity.
There's a train (= unspecified)
coming in 5 minutes. It's the train (= specified)
b) Look! I can see an elephant over there ! (=
a non-identified elephant)
There is no
indefinite article in the plural. The word "some"
is occasionally said to be a plural indefinite article, but really it
is a quantifier (like
By definition, plural nouns refering to non-specified entities are generalisations,
therefore need no article.
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