Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 40
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Countable singular noun without an article

    Hello,

    A countable singular noun can appear without any article in some contexts. For example, in newspaper headlines.

    Can it appear without an article when referring to it in a general sense?
    For instance, something like:

    "Lion is one of the strongest animals."

    I know that in that example, the definite article is normally used. However, is omitting the article possible (and natural)?

    What other examples in full natural sentences would you find where a singular countable noun appears without an article?

    Thank you.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 17,569
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    Hi echelon,

    No, in your example, you need an article.

    Only in headlines or bulleted list or other examples of a terse writing style (does anyone send telegrams any more?) will it sound okay to omit the article.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 40
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    Thank you!


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 40
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    By the way, is the following sentence natural when referring to lions in a general sense?

    "A lion is one of the strongest animals."

  2. xpert's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Saudi Arabia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 736
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    What other examples in full natural sentences would you find where a singular countable noun appears without an article?
    Means of transportation:(plane/ship/car/bike)
    I travel by car.

    Notice we say: Alan goes to school on foot

    Seasons: In winter, we will travel to Australia

    Meals: I had two eggs for breakfast

    Institutions: school/mosque/church/jail/prison
    I don't go to school on Friday

    Diseases: He has cancer

    Time of day: We traveled mostly by night


    SOURCE: Click here

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 17,569
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    Thank you.

    Those are excellent examples, and a much better response than mine.

    Even so, there are always exceptions: He has cancer. She has a cold. He has the flu. She has pneumonia. He suffered a stroke. Or Usually I go to school by bus, but today I came home in a taxi. In short: Articles are REALLY hard to get right!

    The "lion" example still needs an article. You can use "A lion" if you need to introduce us to the idea of a lion, but you would use "The lion" to give us facts that relation to the animal known as the lion (and we both already know what a lion is).
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 40
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    The "lion" example still needs an article. You can use "A lion" if you need to introduce us to the idea of a lion, but you would use "The lion" to give us facts that relation to the animal known as the lion (and we both already know what a lion is).
    That is extremely helpful! Thank you very much!

  4. xpert's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Saudi Arabia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 736
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    In short: Articles are REALLY hard to get right!
    That's right.

    A related question: I was asked the following question a few weeks ago.
    My answer was: (A) and (B) are possible answers. What do you think?

    He used ___ in eating.

    A- a fork and a spoon
    B- a fork and spoon
    C- fork and a spoon
    D- fork and spoon

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 17,569
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #9

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    I agree.

    He used a fork and spoon to eat or He used a fork and a spoon to eat both sound okay to my ear. (However, note I'd say "to eat" and not "for eating."

    (Also, I just noted a typo in my prior post - it should be "that relate to" not "that relation to." I hope that error did not cause any confusion.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran

    • Join Date: May 2010
    • Posts: 1,320
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #10

    Re: Countable singular noun without an article

    Hi there

    Can we use a singular countable noun without an article, when it refers to general idea of something? for example when we use gerunds.

    eg. Unemployment is the result of bad management.

    Thanks,

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Singular or Plural Noun
    By iamwkk in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-Aug-2008, 18:45
  2. Countable vs Uncountable
    By gorikaz in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 25-Mar-2008, 12:58
  3. A, An or The?
    By mko0004 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 27-Feb-2008, 08:03
  4. issue with plural or singular use of noun
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-May-2007, 22:31
  5. countable noun / uncountable noun
    By emily wong in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 30-Mar-2006, 06:38

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •