The English language requires that SINGLE COUNT NOUNS cannot stand alone in a sentence.  Button

Apple is on table.  WRONG

They must be preceded by one of the following:

          1. AN ARTICLE

              ("the", "a", "an")  Button

An apple is on the table.

The professor gave us a test.


          2. A NUMBER or QUANTIFIER

              ("one", "another", "the  other", "each", "every", "either", "neither") Button

One man said he was in Glasgow. The other man said he was in Edinburgh. Neither man was with his wife. Another man tweeted that they were all together at the match.

[The another man tweeted...  WRONG]


          3. THIS, THAT, SOME  Button

THIS artist painted THAT portrait. (Specific subject)

SOME woman came to see you. ('Unidentified subject)



               ("my", "yours", "his", "hers", "its", "ours", "theirs" -  [NOTE: there are no apostrophes.]

Or use proper names of individuals, groups or organisations. [ NOTE: apostrophes have to be used])   Button


It is MY bicycle now. It used to be JOHN'S.

"Which dress is HERS?" "The little black one she bought in LIBERTY'S sale."

MY old Mercedes travelled to so many countries, it almost needed ITS own passport.

No one seemed to be worried about spending the GOVERNMENT'S money on the project. After all, it wasn't like it was THEIRS.


NOTE: Do not use articles  and possessives together -   Button

The Mary's bicycle was stolen. WRONG


PROPER NOUNS have their own ARTICLE usage.   Button


The Queen lives in BUCKINGHAM PALACE. It is in LONDON. [In this case the PROPER NOUN "Queen" is always preceded by the DEFINITE ARTICLE "The", which always has its initial letter capitalised, to show respect for her authority but neither "Buckingham Palace", nor "London" are.]  Button

TREVOR JONES worked in the shop next door to DOCTOR BHOWANI'S surgery.

[Once established that we are talking about the surgery run by DR BHOWANI, we can use "the" before "surgery" without specifying that it is the Doctor's.]   Button


NON-COUNT and PLURAL NOUNS can only be used without ARTICLES where they are being used to describe generalities:    Button


[Cats are the enemies of dogs would be wrong, unless "cats" were the only "enemies" of "dogs".]

WATER is essential for SURVIVAL.



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SCG LANGUAGE TUTORIALS for English grammar and vocabulary tutorials and analysis of UCAS applications and other documents, for students of English as a second language [ESL] and other British qualifications.