Zero Articles : English Glossary
Several kinds of nouns never use articles. We do not use articles with the names of languages.
He was learning Chinese.
But when the word Chinese refers to the people, the definite article might come into play.
The Chinese are hoping to get the next Olympics.
She plays badminton and basketball.
She's taking economics and math.
Her major is Religious Studies.
When they are generic, non-count nouns and sometimes plural count-nouns are used without articles.
We like wine with our dinner.
We adore Baroque music.
We use roses for many purposes.
But if an "of phrase" comes after the noun, we use an article:
We adore the music of the Baroque.
Also, when a generic noun is used without an article and then referred to in a subsequent reference, it will have become specific and will require a definite article:
The Data Center installed computers in the Learning Center this summer. The computers, unfortunately, don't work.
Common count nouns are used without articles in certain special situations:
using be and go
|We'll go by train. (as opposed to "We'll take the train.)|
He must be in school.
|with seasons||In spring, we like to clean the house.|
|with institutions||He's in church/college/jail/class.|
|with meals||Breakfast was delicious.|
He's preparing dinner by himself.
|with diseases||He's dying of pneumonia.|
Appendicitis nearly killed him.
She has cancer
(You will sometimes hear "the measles," "the mumps," but these, too, can go without articles.)
|with time of day||We traveled mostly by night.|
We'll be there around midnight.
That is SOME car you've got there!
I don't want to hear ANY excuse!
Notice that there is a difference between a "stressed" some or any and an "unstressed" some or any. Consider the words in ALL CAPS as shouted words and you will hear the difference between these two:
As opposed to. . .
We have some cars left in the lot.
Isn't there any furniture in the living room?
In terms of the words they usually modify, the unstressed some and any do not modify singular count nouns.
Related Links :
Principles of Choosing Article and Predeterminer