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When to Use No Article “the”: Speaking Generally (Part 4) | English Grammar Lesson

This lesson is part of the series on Articles “the”, “a” and “an” in English Grammar.

 

Intro

Articles can be a difficult part of English to understand and include in your speech. One common rule that you can master is when to use no article–specifically, when you speak generally.

 

Rule

When describing general facts or rules about life, native English speakers do two things in their sentences:

  1. use the plural–and not the singular–version of the object noun; and
  2. do not use an article.

Example

We do NOT say:

  • “Athletes have the strong body

but, we:

  1. make the noun object plural: “body” –> “bodies”
  2. we do NOT use the article “the.”

Therefore, the correct way to say this sentence is:

  • “Athletes have strong bodies.”

 

Sample Sentences

  • Incorrect: “The best professors teach the student with enthusiasm.”
  • Correct: “The best professors teach students with enthusiasm.”
  • Incorrect: “I prefer salty food over the sweet dessert.”
  • Correct: “I prefer salty food over sweet desserts.”
  • Incorrect: “These laws were made to prevent violence against the woman.”
  • Correct: “These laws were made to prevent violence against women.”
  • Incorrect: “She wants to learn how to cook with the low-carb food.”
  • Correct: “She wants to learn how to cook with low carb foods.”
  • Incorrect: “I want to volunteer at the shelter, so that I can help the homeless dog.”
  • Correct: “I want to volunteer at the shelter, so that I can help homeless dogs.”

Post your article questions and sample sentences below! 
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4 comments

  1. Can we use the article a before the word holiday

  2. Can we use the article a before the word holiday

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