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The definite article is used in the following cases:

a) Before concrete nouns either in the singular or plural that mention a particular person or thing, because it is already known, or talked about: / have a daughter and a son, the daughter is ten, the son is three years younger. This is a book; the book is on the table. Please take the letters to the post office. (It is understood that you know which letters and which post office. Compare: You can pay your phone bills at a post office. (=any post office))

b) Before concrete nouns denoting objects unique in a given situation or at large: The sun is shining. The sky is blue.

c) In the generic sense before concrete nouns in the singular: My favourite flower is the lilac. The ostrich is the largest living bird. The computer has totally changed office work.

d) In the meaning «one's» before concrete nouns: How is the leg today? (your leg) The car broke down again today, (my car)

e) Before concrete nouns denoting materials in a certain amount or a particular context: The water is cold today. Where is the salt? Pass me the pepper, please.

f) Before nouns denoting human activities, especially musical, but not including sports: She is studying the law. He plays the violin. (Compare: She plays tennis.}

g) Before nouns denoting directions, such as north, south, west, east: A strange light appeared in the south. They moved to the north of the country.

h) Before adjectives as part of their substantivized forms: The rich must help the poor. The library offers a special service for the blind. The following is the summary of the article.

i) Before nouns or the substitutional one, attributed by adjectives in the superlative degree: This is the most interesting film I ever saw. The Louvre is the most famous French museum of art.

j) Before abstract nouns denoting particular notions: The life of a writer is difficult. We study the history of the English language.

2.5.2. Definite article before proper nouns

The definite article is used to determine proper nouns in the following cases:

a) Before persons' surnames in the plural to refer to the whole family: The Browns were sitting at the table and having tea.

b) Before a person's name or surname with the limiting attribute: She was again the Marv he had met years ago.

c) As part of substantivized adjectives and before ordinals in the names of kings: Peter I (pronounced «the first»), Louise XIY (pronounced «the fourteenth»}, Alexander the Great.

d) As part of substantivized adjectives denoting na­tionalities: The British are famous for their conservatism.

e) Before names of countries and states including words like republic, union, commonwealth, kingdom, sta­tes: the German Federal Republic, the Soviet Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America.

f) Before names denoting groups of islands: the Bri­tish Isles, the Bahamas, the Canary Islands.

g) Before names of mountain ranges in the plural: the Rocky Mountains/the Rockies, the Alps/the Swiss Alps.

h) Before names of rivers, channels, canals, seas, oceans: the Nile, the Thames, the English Channel, the Suez Canal, the Baltic Sea, the Pacific (Ocean).

i) Before names of regions: the Far East, the Middle East.

j) Before a limited number of names of cities and streets: the Hague (a city in the Netherlands), the Strand, the Mall (streets in London).

k) Before names of cities, countries, etc., with the limited attribute: the London of the 1980s., the England of the 19'' century.

1) Before names of hotels, restaurants or pubs, theat­res, cinemas, museums or art galleries: the Hilton (Hotel),

the Peking (Restaurant), the National Theatre, the Covent Garden, the British Museum, the Tate Gallery.

m) Before names of places or buildings, especially with the limiting of- attribute: The Empire State Building, The Bank of Scotland, the Houses of Parliament, the Museum of Fine Arts.

n) Before names of newspapers, magazines, journals, etc.: «The Times», «The Economist», «The Observer».

2.5.3. Definite article in collocations and set expressions

a) The definite article may be used before nouns of any class defined by the limiting attribute or a subordinate clause: He kicked the snow from his shoes and then came up to the armchair opposite mine. She walked along the street that led to his house. She is the lady who lives next door to me.

b) The definite article is used before nouns attributed by ordinals, by the adjectives same, very in the meaning «actual», following, next in the meaning «closest in space, order, or degree; immediately following in time», last in the meaning «after the others; final; the least suitable»: He was the first person to arrive. My father sits in the same chair every evening. She died at the very height of her fame. This was the very thing he looked for. He felt sick hut on the following day he seemed quite well again. The next house to ours is a mile away. Where will you be during the next few weeks?

c) The definite article is used after the words one of, some of, many of, each of: Can I have one of the books?

Some of the articles are easy to translate. Each of the boys got excellent marks.

Besides, the definite article is part of numerous a) preposition + noun set phrases used in a sentence as , adverbial modifiers or predicatives and b) verb + noun set phrases functioning as one verb.

a) Preposition + noun/substentivized adjective set phrases: at the top, at the bottom, in the beginning, in the middle, in the centre, in the end, in the rain, in the cold, in the heat, in the main, in the market, in the original, in the slightest, on the whole, on the one handEon the other hand, on the alert, on the look-out, on the market; out of the question, to the life.

b) Verb +noun set phrases: be on the safe side, break the heart, break the ice, break the news, keep the bed, play the game, take the trouble to do, tell the truth.

2.6. Zero article: usage

The zero article (no article) whose function is that of generalization may be used to determine nouns of any lexical class both in the singular and plural.

2.6.1. Zero article before common nouns

No article is used in the following cases: a) Before concrete class nouns (countables) in the plural denoting persons or things which are not already mentioned or known about, either with or without a descriptive attribute: Charles Dickens and William Thac­keray are writers. They are famous writers. I have slight stomach pains. A bookcase contains shelves to hold books. (See}

Note that plural nouns of the category are often determined by the indefinite pronouns some, any: Have you got any books on English art? Yes, I have some (books).

b) After the words such, quite, most, what before co-untables in the plural: I've never met such beautiful girls. They are quite young men. These are most interesting films. What nice days we have spent there.

c) Before concrete nouns of materials the amounts of which are not defined: Life is impossible without water. The vegetables need more salt. Pepper and nutmeg are spices.

d) Before abstract uncountable nouns, etc.: No news is good news. Jealousy is worse than envy.

e) Before nouns denoting fields of knowledge: I don't like mathematics. He is fond of history. She studies linguistics.

f) Before nouns denoting periods of time, attributed by the words next and last, as well as before nouns attributed by cardinals in postposition: Last winter we traveled in the Swiss Alps. Next summer we are going to Italy. Next week we 11 have 3 English classes.

g) Before singular or plural nouns denoting persons addressed by someone: Come quickly, doctor.

h) After kind of and sort of before either singular or plural nouns: What sort of music do you like best? I don't like that sort of book. That kind/sort of question is very difficult. There were all sorts of colour.

i) Before nouns used in newspaper titles, announ­cements, advertisements, etc.: «Former Judge Sentenced Over Driving Offences», «Night Intruder», «Driver».

2.6.2. Zero article before proper nouns

No article is usually used in the following cases.

a) Before names of cities, towns, villages, streets, etc.: London is the capital of Great Britain. (For excep­tions see 2.5.2.)

b) Before names of shops, restaurants, banks, etc., ending in -5 or -'s, which are named after people who started them: Selfridges, Harrods (shops), Maxim's, Macdonalds (restaurants), Barclay Bank, Lloyd Bank.

c) Before words like Mother, Father, Uncle, Aunt, etc. used by members of a family: Has Father come back yet? Mother wants to speak to you.

d) Before nouns denoting persons' ranks and attri­buting proper names: The monograph is written by Professor White. Doctor Smith is to take the flow.

2.6.3. Zero article in collocations and set expressions

No article is used before nouns determined by pos­sessive, demonstrative, interrogative, indefinite and nega­tive pronouns. (See Chapter IY)

A great number of set expressions contain nouns without article:

a) preposition + noun/substentivized adjective set phrases: at present, at first sight, at dawn, at sunrise, at sunset, at night, at peace, at sea, at work, at last, at least, at once, at hand, at best, at worst; by day, by chance, by mistake, by land, by air, by sea, by train, by metro, by post, by air mail, by name, by moonlight; for hours, for ages, for miles; from day to day, from morning till night, from head to foot, from beginning to end, from birth to grave, from spring to autumn, from east to west, from

grief, from joy, from fear, from shame, from memory; in bed, in debt, in revenge, in question, in silk, in red, in time for; on duty, on fire, on foot, on holiday, on horseback, on leave, on principle, on sale, on time; under consideration.

b) verb + noun set phrases: bear/have in mind, break cover, break ground, cast doubt on, catch cold, catch fire, come to grief, come/bring to life, come to light, come to pass, give/ask (for) permission, give birth, give rise, give way, have breakfast/lunch, dinner, go to bed, keep house, keep in mind, lose heart, make haste, make sense, make use of, set to work, take advantage of, take into account, take to heart, take offence, take part, take place, take revenge.

2.7. Article determination of certain noun groups

Some English nouns present special difficulties in the use of articles. Here are 5 groups of them.

a) Morning, day, afternoon, evening, night. With regard to meaning and syntactic position the nouns can be determined by the zero (no article), definite and indefinite article.

No article is used before the above nouns when the idea of day, afternoon, night, morning, evening is meant. Day, afternoon and morning are used in the meaning «light» while evening and night — in the meaning «dark­ness». Hence the set expressions by day, at night, from morning till night, etc. The nouns may be attributed by the adjectives early, late. For example: It was early mor­ning. Day broke and we set out for work. The sun set and night came. It was late evening. Day is for work, night for sleep.

The indefinite article is used when the nouns are modified by the descriptive attribute, and thus performs its classifying function: It was a foggy, frosty afternoon. (Not a clear, warm afternoon.) / spent a sleepless night. (Not a night full of sweet dreams.)

The definite article is used to denote a concrete morning, day, afternoon, evening and night. The nouns may be modified by the limiting attribute. For example: We spent the night in the mountains. (A particular night.) / will never forget the day I met her.

The definite article is always used with the nouns as part of adverbial phrases with the preposition in to denote a concrete, usually tomorrow, morning, day, afternoon, . etc.: / haven't got what you want now, but I can get it for you in the morning. I'll work in the evening. I'll have a sleep in the late afternoon. (Today)

b) Spring, summer, autumn, winter. These nouns can be determined by the 3 types of the article.

No article is used when the nouns denote the idea of the season. They may be attributed by the adjectives early and late. For example: It was spring. Winter is the season between autumn and spring. It was late autumn. I like summer.

No article is used before the nouns attributed by next and last, last autumn, next winter.

The indefinite article is used with the nouns modified by a descriptive attribute: It was a wet spring. It was a hot summer. It was a rainy autumn. It was a snowy winter.

The definite article is used to point to a concrete season of a year. The nouns may be modified by the limiting attribute. For example: It was the spring of 1987.

The summer was cold and rainy. It happened in the sum­mer of 1990.

c) Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, supper. These nouns can have various article determination.

No article is used before the nouns when they arc not described by any attribute: We usually have breakfast at eight in the morning. What time do you have dinner? Mother is cooking dinner. It happened during lunch. She made a cake for tea. We had fish for supper.

The indefinite article is used with the nouns attri­buted by adjectives: We had a substantial breakfast. They had a nice dinner at a restaurant.

The definite article is used with the nouns when a concrete meal is meant. They may as well be modified by the limiting attribute. For example: The breakfast we had today was substantial. The dinner was a success.

d) School, college, university, hospital, church, pri­son. These nouns can also be determined by various articles.

No article is used before the above nouns when they denote the idea of those places. Most often they collocate with the verbs be and go: For example: She went to school at the age of six. (As a pupil) She started college last year. Did you go to university? (As a student) He had to go to hospital. He is still in hospital. (As a patient) They go to church every Sunday. I saw them at church. (As parishio­ners) The thief was sent to prison for a year. (For punish­ment)

The indefinite article is used when these nouns refer to a building, with or without an attribute. For example:

There is a school near my house. (Not a college, a church, or prison) A new hospital is being built in this street. While travelling in the country we passed through a small village with an old church.

The definite article is used with the nouns to denote a particular school, college, university, church, etc.: The parents went to the school to meet their daughter's tea­cher. (To a concrete school, not as pupils) Where is the university? (A concrete university) The workmen went to the church to repair the roof. (Not as parishioners) She went to the hospital to visit her brother. (To a concrete hospital, as a visitor)

e) Bed, town. These nouns differ in terms of article determination and therefore should be described one after another.

Bed can be determined by the 3 types of the article.

The indefinite article before bed is used to denote a piece of furniture to sleep on, usually after there is, with or without an attribute: There is a comfortable bed in his room. There is a bed, a table, and a cupboard in the room.

The definite article before the noun is used to denote a concrete bed: The bed has never been slept in. The bed is not comfortable.

No article before the noun usually renders the idea of sleep or illness: It's time to go to bed. Is she still in bed? She likes reading in bed. (Before falling asleep) You look ill, you 'd better stay in bed.

Town can be specified by the 3 types of the article.

The indefinite article before town is used to refer to something which is larger than a village but smaller than a city: Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town on the Thames.

The definite article before town is used to denote a concrete town, or life in towns and cities: / want to go to the town where I was born. The town is small but beautiful. I prefer the town to the country.

No article before town is used to denote the nearest town or the chief city of an area in England, usually London: We cannot go shopping to town tomorrow. I was in town on business last week.


1. Comment on the use of the italicized articles and nouns they determine in the extracts below:

a) The origin of the name «Mother Goose» and how it came to be attached to collections of traditional children's rhymes has been a subject of scholarly research and discussion. It is claimed by some that she was really Mistress Elizabeth Goose, who is said to have lived in Boston about a hundred years ago, and who crooned non­sense jingles to a large and happy family of grandchildren.

b) The good teacher will be aware of what each of his pupils knows in terms of vocabulary and mastery of structures and grammar points. He will know what ground in the syllabus he has covered, where more practice is needed and who needs the practice.

c) The various branches of the Germanic family of language derive from the migrations of the Germanic tribes who lived in northern Europe during the Г' millenium BC.

d) If you do not speak in the «right way», it could affect the impression you make at an interview or on the telephone, your credibility as a defendant in court, even the way your doctor treats you. There remains a con­spiracy of silence about all this, but in Britain, perhaps more than in any other country, people are still often assigned to a social and educational category, and even to a level of intelligence, partly because of their accent.

2. Compare and explain the use of the italicized articles and nouns they specify in the following groups of sentences:

a) 1. Cultural life in England takes so many forms that a brief summary can only attempt to suggest its variety. 2. A vigorous cultural life in Scotland has as its highlight the annual Edinburgh International Festival, one of the world's leading cultural events. 3. He was the life and soul of the party.

b) 1. A large part of the house was destroyed by the fire. 2. She has been offered a marvellous part in the new film. 3. The best part of my job is all the travel it involves. 4. She lived there for the better part of her life. 5. In the play he plays the part of the policeman. 6. Working irregular hours is part and parcel of being a journalist.

c) 1. It will take you a long time to learn French properly. 2. What's the time! 3. The universe exists in

time and space. 4. Time does fly, and we are not getting any younger.

d) 1. I couldn't find a parking space. 2. Please save a space for me in the queue. 3. He satellite has been in space for a year. 4. In the space of ten miles the road rises 1000 feet.

e) 1. There is a fish market near here. 2. He can't find a market for his skills. 3. They sell mainly to the home market. 4. They have put their house on the market.

f) 1. Silence in court! 2. The defendant told the court that he had never seen the woman before. 3. He is well-known at court. 4. Are the players on court yet?

g) 1. He has sailed round the world. 2. She is a well-known character in the business world. 3. There is a world of difference between thinking about it and doing it.

h) 1. The injured man was lying on the ground. 2. Moles seldom come above ground. 3. The soldiers marched on a parade ground. 4. The curtains have white flowers on a blue ground.

i) 1. They have a charming home in London. 2. She came from a poor home. 3. India is the home of elephants and tigers. 4. Is he home from work yet?

j) 1. He became king on the death of his father.

2. Once upon a time there was a rich king in Baghdad.

3. The Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the British Commonwealth. 4. Elizabeth became queen in 1952. 5. He was sitting on a Queen Anne chair.

3. Insert proper articles where necessary into the texts below:

a) It was raining heavily as I was walking towards ... Metro station. There were very few people in ... street. ... road was slippery. Just as I was crossing ... road near ... Metro station, ... car came round ... corner. It was travelling very fast, at ... speed of 80-90 miles. It was clear ... driver was having difficulty in controlling it. Suddenly it hit ... lamp-post and turned over. At once I ran to ... car. I tried to help ... driver. But I could do very little. ... man's eyes were closed, there's ... lot of ... blood on his face.

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