geoff anderson
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Learning Article : The Mistake No One Notices: Using The Zero Article In English

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Articles are awesome since this one from italki talks about articles! Confused? Don’t worry, after you read this you won’t be tricked by this subtle wordplay.

Apr 4, 2017 12:00 AM
Comments · 13

Hello Nad'a,


It's fine to say "<font style="background-color: yellow;">I have a class every Tuesday...".</font> It's meaning would be very similar to "<font style="background-color: yellow;">I have class every Tuesday</font>" in general.

I would say that in most situations I can think of and conversations I've had, "<font style="background-color: yellow;">I have class</font>" is a bit more common than "<font style="background-color: yellow;">I have </font><font style="background-color: yellow;">a</font><font style="background-color: yellow;"> class</font>", especially in spoken English, but that could just be because of the regions I've lived in in the U.S.

Now, if you are describing the class in detail, it would probably be more common to use an  indefinite article.


Example: I am taking a class on Mexican literature.

Example: I have a class that just changed its start time.

Example: I have a class whose professor is great.


These are all sentences where the "class" is being described (and becoming more specific), so an article would be used.


Hope this helps,

-geoff

April 8, 2017

Hi Anna,

Thanks for your kind words.

"I don't watch tv shows" is great!

Generally, for negative sentences, you'll use "any"  -- "I have never seen any tv shows" is much more standard.

For the moment, I can't think of a specific verb or construction where it wouldn't be possible to use a zero article. Keep in mind that when you wish to speak about a noun in general, this is probably the most common way to do so. Sorry I can't be more helpful with this specific question.


Thanks for your time,

-geoff



February 2, 2019
Thank you very much for a useful article! Zero article should really be paid more attention in English classes.
I was wondering about negative sentences.
Is it okay to say:
I don't watch TV shows.
I have never seen TV shows.

I feel  "any" should be used in the second one. Are there any constructions or verbs that can't be used with zero article?

Your help will be really appreciated!
February 2, 2019
Thanks for your article. It fills a gap for me!. Being a  Spanish Speaker, it is a bit difficult to use property zero articles, considering we rarely use it.  I wanted  to know how it  worked  in English so that I make it properly. I clear see that  your article has shed light on the issue !.
August 21, 2017
Thank you ,Geoff. I think I need more practice with my writing.
April 14, 2017
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