Omission of the Article

Which are the cases in which Articles are not to be used is of consideration in this particular chapter.

a.  Uncountable Nouns

1. Articles are not used before uncountable and abstract Nouns, used in general sense.

e.g.: Honey is sweet. (Not the honey)

Sugar is bad for health. (Not the sugar)

Virtue is its own reward. (Not the virtue)

2. However, articles are used before Uncountable Nouns, used in a particular sense, especially when qualified by an adjective or adjective phrase or clause.

e.g.:Would you mind passing the dish? (Particular dish)

I cannot forget the kindness with which Ii was greeted. (Noun followed by an adjective phrase)

b.  Countable Nouns

1. Articles are also not used before Plural Countable Nouns, used in a general sense.

e.g.: Children love to play. (Not the Children)

Computers are very useful. (Not the computers)

2. However, articles are to be used if plural countable Nouns are used to convey a particular sense.

e.g.: Where are the children? (Our children/ children of a particular class/section)

c. We do not use Articles before names of most Countries, people, Continents, cities, rivers and lakes.

e.g.: India is a democratic Country. (Not the India)

Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan. (Not the Kabul)

d. Articles are not used before names of meals.

For e.g.: I am having lunch. (Not the lunch)

We are meeting for dinner. (Not the dinner)

However, ‘a’/ ‘an’ is used when the meal time is preceded by the use of an adjective and ‘the’ when we speak of a specified meal.

e.g.: I had an early breakfast today. (Mealtime preceded by the use of an adjective)

The dinner we has last night at Taj was scrumptious. (Particular dinner)


e. Articles are not used before Languages/ Subjects, unless and until the languages are used to refer to people’s nationality.

For e.g.: Do you speak English? (Not the English)

The English are known for their impeccable diction. (The Population originating from England)


f. Articles are not used before school, colleges, university, hospital, prison, unless and until referring to a particular building.

E.g.: My brother is in school, right now. (Not the School)

He is studying in college. (Not the college)

I went to the hospital to visit my dad. (Particular hospital)


g. Before common Nouns, used in the commonest sense.

e.g.: MAN is mortal. (Not the mortal)

Iron is very useful. (Not the Iron)

h. In certain phrases made up of Preposition and Nouns.

e.g.: He is in debt. (Not the debt)

He is at school. (Not the School)


i. Certain phrases consisting of a Transitive Verb and its object.

e.g.: He took offence at my words. (Not the offence)

He paused to take breath. (Not the breath)


j. Before plural Nouns to denote a class.

e.g.: Apples are red. (Not the apples)

Warm clothes are must in winters. (Not the Warm Clothes)


k. Before Nouns, following the query ‘what kind of?

e.g.: What kind of flowers are they? (Not the flowers)


l. Before common Nouns, in pairs.

e.g.: Both husband and wife are in danger. (Not the husband and wife)

English Grammar and Composition

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