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Thread: use of a/an

  1. Newbie
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    use of a/an


    I can't get my hear around this..i know that i should be looking whether a noun is countable or not and whether it is a singular or plural but there are some sentences that are correct and are not written according to these rules.

    For example: Joe goes everywhere by bike (not a bike) or i brush my teeth with toothbrush (not a toothbrush) but i need to say I use a toothbrush to brush my teeth.

    Can anyone explain to me please why we don't use a in those questions? thank you!

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Re: use of a/an

    I brush my teeth with a toothbrush. Always capitalise the personal pronoun "I".
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Re: use of a/an

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    The rule: "In some ... fixed expressions to do with ... movement, normally countable nouns are treated as uncountables, without articles."

    Thus: by car/bus/bicycle/plane/train/tube [subway]/ boat. *** on foot.

    Authority: Michael Swan, Practical English Usage (1995) edition.

    P.S. I am sure it was only a typo(graphical) error, but: "I can't get my head around this." (I cannot understand this.)


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