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Omission of the Article

We saw the importance of articles, and we studied the correct use of both types of articles. But. have you noticed that while when forming a sentence we don’t always use articles. Let us learn of the instances when we do not include articles in a sentence, i.e. omission of the article.

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Omission of the Article

Now there are certain nouns which we do not prefix with any article. This omission of the article is done before abstract nouns, certain uncountable nouns, and proper nouns in some cases. So with such cases, while the article is implied, it is not written. Hence we call such implication a ‘zero article’. Let us take a look at a few cases where omission of the article is done.

Omission of the Article

Before Abstract/Uncountable Nouns

If the sentence consists of an abstract noun or a noun which cannot be counted, we do not use an article. Let us see a few examples of this

  • We were full of wisdom in his older years. (Wisdom is an abstract noun here. Notice how we do not say ‘the wisdom’)
  • She does not add sugar to her coffee. (Sugar is an uncountable noun. So it will not be the/a sugar)

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Before Plural Nouns

In most cases, we will not use any noun before a plural noun. But if these nouns were talked in a particular sense, we will use “the” never “a/an”. But when talking about common plural nouns, the articles will be omitted. Some examples are as following

  • Some women are waiting for you by the door. (Women being plural, the articles are omitted)
  • One of the women has come to see you (Here we will use ‘the’, because a particular woman is being talked about)
  • Both his dogs are adorable. (Dogs is plural and so the omission of the article)

Before Proper Nouns

We omit the articles that come before names. It can be the names (proper nouns) of people, places, countries, things etc. The articles in such cases will be omitted. Let us look at some examples.

  • It was Alex whole ate the candy (Not ‘the Alex’)
  • It was his wish to visit London one time in his life. (Not the/a London)
  • India is the largest democracy in the world. (Not the India)
  • French is a tough language to master
  • Dinner will be served shortly
  • I was never very good at Maths

Before Nouns used in the Broadest Sense

When common nouns are used in a very broad sense then we can omit the articles before them. Some examples of this are as follows.

  • Man is a social animal. (Man is a common noun, but here it is used in the commonest sense)
  • Metal is very important for progress. (Metal is a common noun, but  the use of it does in the sentence merits omission of the article)

Solved Questions for You

Q: Choose the option that best corrects the sentence: “The aunt May went out shopping yesterday evening.”

  1. A aunt May went out shopping yesterday evening.
  2. An aunt May went out shopping yesterday evening.
  3. Aunt May went out shopping yesterday evening.
  4. No Change

Ans: Generally, an article is not required before names of relations, especially when the relation is mentioned along with a name, hence Option C is correct.

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