I would like to ask you if it is possible to learn and to understand the usage of a/an, the and no article once and for all.
Are there any comfortable tables with examples? Could please recommend some really good resources.
And my question.
Is it possible to say A MAIN PROBLEM IS or only THE MAIN PROBLEM Is?
If it is, what's the difference in meaning?
And what's the correct variant: to pay more than A minimum or to pay more than THE minimum?
In AN emergency or in emergency?
Thank you in advance.
Articles can be difficult but not impossible. Take a look at this link. Purdue OWL: How to Use Articles (a/an/the)
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. Moreover, there are always going to be exceptions. For example, a speaker of American English would write, 'Seventeen people were injured and taken to the hospital'. On the other hand, a speaker of British English would probably leave out the article. The meaning is the same.
I just read an article in my newspaper and the byline said "Tom Ridge, the first Director of Homeland Security, is the former Governor of Pennsylvania."
I would have said "a" former governor. There is only one "first" director, but there are numerous former governors.
So, even native speakers can differ.