English grammar Zero article
In today’s English lesson you will learn how we use the zero article in English.
Basically, the zero article is when we omit the definite article ‘the’.
It is very difficult for many users to know when to use ‘the’ and when not to use it. The lesson explains it very clearly.
What are the basic rules?
Let’s look at the use of the article ‘the’ in five sentences with five nouns; bed, prison, hospital, school and church.
Here are some example sentences with those words and the definite article.
- I store my old clothes under the bed.
- I went to the hospital to visit a friend of mine.
- The postman dropped off a package at the prison.
- I went to the school to speak to my son’s teacher.
- She to the church to take some photos.
Now look at these sentences.
- I like to spend my Sunday mornings in bed.
- My mother is in hospital recovering from an operation.
- The burglar will have to spend two years in prison.
- My son goes to school from Monday to Friday.
- She goes to church every Sunday morning.
As you can see the first group of sentences have ‘the’ and the second group do not. Why is this?
Well, the reason is that in the first group of sentences the words bed, hospital, prison, school and church are not being used for their real use.
For example, my son goes to school to study, which is the purpose of the school. I didn’t go to the school for that purpose. I went for another reason – to speak to his teacher.
Likewise, the lady didn’t go to church to pray, she went there to take photos.
The postman didn’t go to prison because of a crime. He went to the prison for another reason.
So as you can see the rule is not a difficult one to remember.
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