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Do you make these GRAMMAR mistakes?

By Anita Aikara
Last updated on: June 30, 2016 17:42 IST
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If you're not sure when to use 'the', fret not. These tips will help.


How often are you confused about using the article 'the'?

Do you say "I like reading books" or "I like reading the books"?

While talking to someone about your love for music, do you say "I love listening to R D Burman songs" or "I love listening to the R D Burman songs"? 

Still confused?

Let's simply it for you. Read on to find out seven instances when you don't need to use an article. 

Click here to take a quiz to test your knowledge on the use of articles. 

1. Do NOT use an article when you speak of things in general.

For example:

Children make a lot of noise when they play.
Houses in that area are very expensive.
I like reading books.

In these sentences, you are NOT referring to a single 'child', 'house' or 'book'.

You are speaking of these things in a general sense, so you avoid using an article.

2. Do NOT use articles when you refer to uncountable nouns.

For example:

I like eating chocolates.
Rishi has not yet had his dinner.
Wine is good for health.

Here 'chocolate', 'dinner' and 'wine' are all uncountable nouns, hence you should NOT use an article.

3. Holidays NEVER begin with an article.

For example:

Christmas falls on December 25.
Diwali is the festival of lights.
He gifted her a rose on Valentine's Day.

Here 'Christmas', 'Diwali' and 'Valentine's Day' are all proper nouns.

That's why an article does NOT precede them.

4. Countries and states do NOT need articles.

For example:

India is very rich in culture.
Sri Lanka is India's neighbour.
Russia will host the Olympic Games soon.

But remember, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

For example: When you speak of America, you will say 'the United States' or of Britain as 'the United Kingdom'. 
Similarly, 'the Philippines' and 'the Czech Republic'. 

5. Do NOT use an article when you speak of companies.

For example:

Google is one of the best companies to work in.
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.
Flipkart is a start-up launched by two Indians.

As 'Google', 'Facebook' and 'Flipkart' are all proper nouns, you DON"T need to use an article before the name of the companies.

6. The names of sports NEVER require articles.

For example:

I went swimming today.
Sachin Tendulkar is the 'god of cricket'.
No one can beat Sania Mirza in tennis.

If you have noticed, we did not use 'the' or 'a/an' before 'swimming', 'cricket' or even 'tennis'. That's because an article NEVER precedes the name of sports. 

7. When talking of languages, you don't start with an article.

For example:

English is a funny language.
French was the most difficult subject in junior college.
I am studying German.

The thumb rule is to not use an article when you speak of any language. 

Remember these seven golden rules of grammar and you'll never get confused when using articles. 

Lead image used for representational purpose only. 

Photograph: Maria Morri/Creative Commons 


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