Natives do not make mistakes when using articles. The problem they might have is in articulating why they use the articles the way they do. Quote you gave a link to by fivejedjon:
The problem is in interpretation of the text and then in coming up with a "why" and explaining it to a learner. Not with using the article intuitively.I like to think I am moderately proficient in the language, and know something about its grammar, but in my final teaching year I did a lot of work with (very) advanced learners. Part of our time was spent on correcting manuals and reports they had written and on discussing their translation work.
Trying to work out whether 'the' could be left out or not - and why - had me nearly tearing my hair out sometimes.
No. Fivejedjon saidThe problem is in interpretation of the text and then in coming up with a "why" and explaining it to a learner. Not with using the article intuitively.
Trying to work out whether 'the' could be left out or not [...] had me nearly tearing my hair out sometimes.
I omitted "and why" to stress the fact that "whether" is there too. You also haven't commented on Barb's
I sometimes struggle with whether to use the zero article or "the."
No whys here. Just a whether.
Birdeen's call, I think freezeframe didn't really mean 'they don't have problems with them at all' being literally read. The thing he wanted to tell me is that native speakers do not reflect on articles as we, learners, do. They use them intuitively.
Sometimes they happen not to know why they used this/ that article -- they just know it's right to say that way. In this sense natives truly don't have problems with atricles, again, in comparison with learners. But if you ask them according to what rules they use articles not everyone can give you an answer. Such situations are known to every native speaker of any language. I think you perfectly understand that .