Common mistakes in English – Unnecessary words (Part 2)

            Unnecessary articles

301. Wrong use of the with proper nouns

Don’t say: The Sarah will go to the England.

√ Say: Sarah will go to England.

Don’t use the definite article with proper nouns.

Note: Generally place the before the names of rivers, seas, oceans, bays, gulfs, mountain ranges, groups of islands, and countries or provinces consisting of an adjective and a noun. We say: the Nile, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Bay of Biscay, the Persian Gulf, the Alps, the Dodecanese, the United States, the Central Provinces of India.

302. Wrong use of the with proper nouns in the possessive

Don’t say: The Euripides’ tragedies are famous.

√  Say: Euripides’ tragedies are famous.

Don’t use the definite article with proper nouns in the possessive case.

Note: If the name ends in an “s” or “x” is difficult to pronounce with the extra syllable ‘s we omit the final s –> Marta Calls’ voice is divine.

303. Wrong use of the with abstract nouns

Don’t say: The bravery is a great virtue.

√  Say: Bravery is a great virtue.

Abstract nouns, if used in a general sense can’t take the article.

Note: Abstract nouns, used in a particular sense, use the article. The bravery of the Spartans was renowned.

304. Wrong use of the with material nouns

Don’t say: The gold is a precious metal.

√  Say: Gold is a precious metal.

Don’t me any article with material nouns, if used in a general sense

Note: Material nouns used in a particular sense, require the definite article –> The coal from the Midlands is exported to many countries.

305. Wrong use of the with plural nouns used in a general sense

Don’t say: The dogs are faithful animals.

√  Say: Dogs are faithful animals.

Omit the definite article before common nouns in the plural if used in a general sense

306. Wrong use of the with names of languages

Don’t use: Tim speaks the English very well.

√  Say: Tim speaks English very well.

Never use the definite article before the names of languages.

Note: We can say –> He speaks the English language very well.

307. Wrong use of the with names of meals

Don’t say: We’ll start after the breakfast.

√ Say: We’ll start after breakfast.

Don’t use the definite article before the names of meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or supper unless you are referring to a particular meal –> The lunch they provided was excellent.

308. Wrong use of the with names of games

Don’t say: My favorite game is the football.

√ Say: My favorite game is football.

Don’t use an article before the names of games like football, hockey, tennis, cricket, volley ball, basket-ball

309. Wrong use of the with names of diseases

Don’t say: The cholera is a dreadful disease.

√ Say: Cholera is a dreadful disease.

As a rule, don’t use the definite article before the names of diseases

Note: The indefinite article is needed with common names of illnesses –> I was suffering from a cold, a fever, a cough, a headache.

310. Wrong use of the with names of colors

Don’t say: The green is a beautiful color.

√ Say: Green is a beautiful color.

Don’t use the definite article before the names of colours when used as nouns.

311. Wrong use of the with the names of the senses

Don’t say: The sight is one of the five senses.

√ Say: Sight is one of the five senses.

Don’t use an article before the names of the five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.

312. Wrong use of the with names of days and months

Don’t say: The Sunday can be a day of prayer.

                   The December is the last month.

√ Say: Sunday can be a day of prayer.

            December is the last month.

Don’t use the definite article before the names of days and months

Note: We say the Sunday before last, the December of 1940. etc

313. Wrong use of the with man denoting the human race

Don’t say: The man is born a sinner.

√ Say: Man is born a sinner.

Use man denoting the human race, without the definite article. Also, mankind requires no article –> Disease is the enemy of mankind.

314. Wrong use of the with school

Don’t say: My sister goes to the school.

√ Say: My sister goes to school.

To go to school means to be a student while to go to the school means to visit the school

Note: Similarly, to leave school means to stop being a student and to leave the school means to go away from the school premises.

315. Wrong use of the with church

Don’t say: On Sunday I go to the church.

√ Say: On Sunday I go to church.

To go to church means to go and pray, while to go to the church means to go and visit the church.

Note: Similarly, distinguish between go to bed and go to the bed, go to prison and go to the prison, go to market and go to the market, go to hospital and go to the hospital, sit at table and sit at the table.

316. Wrong use of the with nature

Don’t say: The nature is beautiful in spring.

√ Say: Nature is beautiful in spring.

Note: Use the detinue article if nature is used in other meanings –> It is in the nature of a dog to be faithful.

317. Wrong use of the with society

Don’t say: A thief is a danger to the society.

✓ Say: A thief is a danger to society.

Note: Use the definite article if society is used (1) in a particular sense –> The society of the Greeks was based on freedom, (2) in the sense of companionship –> I enjoy the society of my friends.

318. Wrong use of the in the phrase in future (= from now on)

Don’t say: You must be careful in the future.

√ Say: You must be careful in future.

Note: In the future means in the time to come –> Nobody knows what will happen in the future.

319. Wrong use of the after whose

Don’t say: The boy whose the father is ill has left.

√ Say: The boy whose father is ill has left.

Don’t use the article after the relative determiner whose, because it takes the place of the article.

320. Wrong use of the indefinite article before work, etc.

Don’t say: Gillian has found a work at the bank.

√ Say: Gillian has found work at the bank.

Don’t use the indefinite article before such words as work, fun, health, permission

Definite article

As a rule, nouns in English take no article when used in a general sense, but if they’re used in a particular sense the article is needed. Note the difference in the use or omission of the article:

1. With plural nouns

Horses are strong animals.

The horses in the field belong to the farmer.

2. With abstract nouns

Wisdom is a great virtue.

The wisdom of Solomon was famous.

3. With material nouns:

Water is necessary to life.

The water in the kitchen is hot.

4. With days, months, and seasons

Summer is a hot season

The summer of 99 was very hot.

5. With names of languages:

English is spoken all over the world.

The English she speaks is not correct.

6. With names of meals:

Breakfast is at eight o’clock.

The breakfast I had this morning was delicious.

7. With names of colors:

Blue is my favorite color.

The blue in that picture has faded.

Common mistakes in English – Unnecessary words (Part 2)
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