Articles: special rules and exceptions
Articles are often dropped in double expressions, particularly with prepositions. Examples are:
With knife and fork (NOT With a knife and a fork) (NOT With a knife and fork)
Husband and wife (NOT a husband and a wife)
From top to bottom (NOT From the top to the bottom)
Inch by inch
On land and sea
You cant get there without a car. (NOT You cant get there without car.)
Both and all
The definite article the is often dropped after both.
Both children are good at singing.
OR Both the children are good at singing.
You can take all the three shirts.
OR You can take all three shirts.
The article a/an is usually dropped after kind of, sort of, type of and similar expressions.
What kind of person is she? (NOT What kind of a person is she?)
What sort of bird is that?
What a pretty girl! (NOT What pretty girl!)
What a sweet song!
Note that a/an cannot be used with uncountable nouns.
What nonsense! (NOT What a nonsense!)
Articles are used with the names of:
Seas (the Pacific, the Atlantic)
Mountains (the Alps, the Himalayas)
Island groups (the West Indies)
Rivers (the Nile, the Amazon, the Thames)
Deserts (the Sahara, the Atacama)
We usually use no article with the names of continents, countries, states, departments etc. Examples are: Asia, India, France, Texas, Beijing etc.Exceptions
We say: the Peoples Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, the Hague
Sections in this article