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    #1

    use of articles in English

    My native language does not use articles and I always face difficulty on the correct use of them in English.

    For instance, yesterday I saw a note on a door in my office saying "please close door". Why doesn't it say "please close the door"? As door is a count noun and it is known which door we are talking about, why the definite article, the, is not used in that sentence?

    I think I will keep asking real life questions until I get it right.

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    #2

    Re: use of articles in English

    'Please close the door' is grammatically correct.

    The reason why it doesn't say that may be because the writer doesn't understand the correct use of articles or may have wanted to save space on the notice.

    Notices, like newspaper headlines, commonly omit articles for the sake of brevity, especially when the meaning is clear without them.


    `
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 12-Dec-2014 at 09:52.

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    #3

    Re: use of articles in English

    Thank you. Does that mean when the meaning is clear, omitting articles is acceptable?
    Also, I was talking to someone last week, they (native speaker) said thay take bus to come to work. Whay not "take a bus".

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: use of articles in English

    No, omitting articles is only OK with certain types of writing, such as newspaper headlines. It should be take a/the bus.

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    #5

    Re: use of articles in English

    Thanks. Could you please tell me if the following is correct,

    Going to London by the train is easier (not talking about one particular train but the transport system)
    Going to London by the bus is easier (not talking about one particular train but the transport system)
    Going to London by the car is easier (not talking about one particular train but the transport system)

    Thanks.

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    #6

    Re: use of articles in English

    In all the above sentences, leave out 'the'.

    However, confusingly for students, we say

    'Taking the train/bus/car to London is more convenient'.

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    #7

    Re: use of articles in English

    Thanks again. Why would you use the definite article in your sentence but not in mine? Also why then the article "a" should not be replaced by "the" in my sentences.

    Sorry for asking so many questions but please explain the rule that is applied to sentences like the one which you have mentioned, just so that I can make right choice of articles while communicating in day to day life.

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    #8

    Re: use of articles in English

    Quote Originally Posted by explorelang View Post
    Thanks again. Why would you use the definite article in your sentence but not in mine? Also why then the article "a" should not be replaced by "the" in my sentences.

    Sorry for asking so many questions but please explain the rule that is applied to sentences like the one which you have mentioned, just so that I can make right choice of articles while communicating in day to day life.
    As an ESL learner myself, I find mastering English articles is mission impossible, but here is my take on your questions.

    In "by bus/train/plane," the "bus/train/plane" refers to a form of transportation, more like an abstract concept rather than a physical vehicle.

    In "taking the bus/train/plane," the "bus/train/plane" refers to a transportation tool that can have dimensions, weight, color, and other physical properties.

    That's why the former usage requires no article, but the latter does.

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    #9

    Re: use of articles in English

    Thanks for the reply. That is useful, I will keep practicing.

    Do you know any online resources where usage of articles is explained well please?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: use of articles in English


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