The Zero “Ø” article

The Zero “Ø” article

written by Lilian Ndongmo. ESL Teacher

Our last post explained how to use the articles A, An and The. Today, we will look at the zero article.

The zero article just means that there is no article before the noun. In other words, you cannot use A, An or The.

Usage: Don’t use a, an or the, but the zero article with:

1. Names of places (e.g cities, countries, streets etc)

Ex. The Montreal is a fun place to live.  (wrong)

Montreal is a fun place to live (right)

Exception to this rule: Names of some counties, oceans, islands, etc

Example: The United States of America, The People’s Republic of China, The Republic of Cameroon, the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas (a country made of more than 3000 islands)

2. Uncountable nouns (these are nouns that you cannot count)

Example: Water is good for the body.

The injured man went to the hospital to get help.

3. Plural nous used in a generalized sense (not specific)

Example: I love books. (Books in general; all books)

Eggs contain a lot of protein. (All eggs; eggs in general)

Important note: Many learners get frustrated when learning articles. They are usually confused by all the rules and exceptions, and don’t quite understand how and why one usage can be right in one sentence and wrong for the other. As a learner, you have to understand that for most English grammar rules, there are exceptions. For most of these exceptions, a logical reason or explanation cannot be given. It’s just the correct way the word or sentence or phrase is used.

Pay attention to the rules and the exceptions. They are important in helping you understand and use grammar correctly. If you have any questions, please write them in the comments section below.

Have a great day.