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THE GENERAL

versus

THE PARTICULAR

The article is the tool that language and logic use in order to distinguish between generality and a specific instance.
The DEFINITION, or a GENERAL STATEMENT, concerns a class of beings/ things/ phenomena, i.e. of Countable Nouns,
or a concept in the case of Uncountable Nouns.
1. COUNTABLE NOUNS
a(n) + noun in the Singular
e.g.: What is a rose?/ A rose is but a name.
More prosaically a rose is a flower.
A symbol is something used for or regarded
as representing something else.
An object is something that is visible or
tangible and is stable in form.
A hut, a tent, an igloo are all shelters.
A team is more than a group or a party.
An experiment is a procedure adopted for testing
a hypothesis.

0 article + noun in the Plural


e.g.: Roses have thorns.
Names are symbols, i.e. words by which
individual persons, animals, places, etc. are
spoken of or to.
Emblems, tokens, signs are symbols, i.e. material
objects representing something immaterial.
Birds build nests, people build houses.
Effective teams are not so difficult to build.
Hypotheses are suppositions. Experiments are
tests.

The only exception is the noun man, used with the 0 article for rendering the class of human beings, versus
a/ the man meaning a male individual,
e.g.: Man is a living being capable of abstract reasoning and articulated speech

2.
DEFECTIVE NOUNS (that are not ABSTRACT ),
a) NOUNS DEFECTIVE OF PLURAL
e.g.: Money is a medium of exchange.
Furniture consists of the movable articles required for use or ornament in a house.
Luggage is a travellers baggage; it consists of trunks, suits, portmanteaus, boxes, etc.
b)

NOUNS DEFECTIVE OF SINGULAR


e.g.: Scissors are instruments for cutting paper, cloth, etc.
Trousers, or pants, are articles of clothing.

3. UNIQUE NOUNS
a) The Sun is a star, the Earth is a planet.
The world is the entire system of created things, i.e. the macrocosm.
The enviroument is the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions and influences.
The sky is the vault of heaven.
The redeemer is Christ.
b)

God is the superhuman being worshipped as leaving power over nature and human fortunes.
Mankind designates the human race, or the human beings collectively.
Nature is the physical power causing phenomena as a whole.
Society is a highly structured system of human organization for large scale community living
that normally furnished protection, continuity, security and a national identity for it members.
the definition of parents will be given using these nouns as countables,e.g.: A mother is the female parent.

4. UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
a) ABSTRACT
e.g.: Unless man has pity, he is inhuman and not truly a man.
What is the status of ethics in management?
In social sciences there is no such objective standard of accuracy as in physics.
Exponential growth is a dynamic phenomenon.
Education consists in systematic instruction.
Inflation starts when the volume of goods and of services no longer corresponds to the increase of money supply.
Although deflation means declining prices, it is no more attractive, as it also means large scale unemployment as a
consequence of falling business.
The current state of knowledge about casual relationships in a system generally falls in the middle ground of certainty.
In nature everything is in a perpetual state of transformation, motion and change. (see also UNIQUE NOUNS).
Economic forecasting is reliable provided that sufficient data are available.
Learning is a permanent process.
b) NOUNS OF MATERIAL
e.g.: Glass is a transparent material; it is made of melted sand.
Water turns into ice when it freezes, and into steam when it boils.
Iron is a metal; unlike wood, it does not float.
Bread is staple in most countries. It is made from flour, which, in turn, is made from wheat.
There are boots made of India rubber.
Coal and oil are raw materials.

A statement may be more specific, referring to a PARTICULAR aspect of a class of persons/ objects/ phenomena (Countable
Nouns), or of a concept (Uncountable Nouns). The definite article the and a pre- or post- modifier indicates the restriction of
the domain of reference.
COUNTABLE NOUNS
e.g.: The migratory birds fly thousands of kms per year.
I almost dont know the people upstairs.
The fruits of the potatoes are toxic.
Macroeconomics involves the analysis of the aggregate markets for goods and services, for label, and for corporate
bonds.
In order to understand how these markets operate one must first understand the behavior of the economic units that
make up these markets.
The leaders (of society) should be both responsible and responsive to the changing mentality of the people (who
elected them).

The modifier may be dropped (particularly in conversation) if the context has made it clear what category
you are refferring to.

UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
1) ABSTRACT NOUNS
e.g.: The world economy is a global system.
Were studying the history of the Middle Ages this year.
What I dont like is the music she is playing.

The modern industrial society offers all modern conveniences.


The science of economics is a human science.
The life of an ephemerid lasts no more than a day.
The success he achieved so easily made him lose his head.
2) NOUNS OF MATERIAL
e.g.: Have a look at the meat in the oven; it smells as if its been burnt.
The coffee she makes is seldom good.
The iron they import from South America is very expensive because of the transport cost.
The cotton obtained from the first harvest is the best.
The leather your shoes are made of is called patent leather in English.

The omission of modifiers would arouse confusion with Uncountable Nouns.

A statement may refer to a CERTAIN, PARTICULAR Countable Noun, which may be INDEFINITE (first introduced in
conversation/ in the text) or DEFINITE (it has already been mentioned/ it is accompanied by a pre-/ post-modifier). The difference
between the two categories is made by means of the article and sometimes also rendered by the Aspect of the Verb ( if in the Present
Tense: the Simple Present for the Indefinite, the Present Continuous for the Definite).
THE INDEFINITE

a(n) + noun in the Sg.

THE DEFINITE

the + noun in the Sg./ Pl.

e.g.: There is a new car in front of the house.


e.g.: Is the car ready? Im afraid the car is out of order.
Is it a car thats making such a noise ?
No, its the last train thats just leaving the station.
There is a train which leaves at seven.
Well have to catch the train.
They made a plane that flies with 11000kms per hour.
The plane (they made) will be tested next week.
There is a man standing in front of the door.
Who is the man that left his umbrella here?
A manager has to be a catalyst.
The manager will decide upon the change
in the firm policy.
The cars made by Mercedes are by far better
than the others.
The buildings in this town are all alike.
Why do you let the children play in the street?

UNCOUNTABLE

NOUNS

are always used with the 0 article in order to express GENERALITY ( a


notion in its most general sense),
e.g.: Science is a living organism.
Concrete is a building material.

ABSTRACT NOUNS
NOUNS OF MATERIAL

the article restricts the sphere of a notion (Abstract Nouns, Nouns of Material),
e.g.: Logic is the science of reasoning.
The concrete is still wet.
the article turns a notion into an object (Nouns of Material),
e.g.: Youve bought a new iron.(= a household ustensil, not a metal)
Id like a tin of fish. (= an object, not a a metal).
- ing nouns, because of their abstract quality are never used with an
article however, a quantitative adjective is sometimes used in order
to render the PARTICULAR,
e.g.:
Reading us not his favourite pastime.
however
Ill do some washing today.

COUNTABLE NOUNS

preceded by the Indefinite Article express GENERALITY, i.e. the class of the respective
beings/ objects/ phenomena,
e.g.: A tortoise lives 300 years.
in the SINGULAR
preceded by the Indefinite Article refer to an INDEFINITE noun,
e.g.: We have a new teacher of English.

preceded by the Definite Article refer to a PARTICULAR group in the class of


beings/ objects/ phenomena,
e.g.: The students in the fourth year are already looking for a job.
in the PLURAL
preceded by the Definite Article refer to a DEFINITE noun,
e.g.: The building across the street is a hotel.

THE ARTICLE

a) ABSTRACT NOUNS
UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

refer to the NOTION coresponding to each,


e.g.: a) Statistics is a science.
b) Iron is a metal.

b) NOUNS OF MATERIAL
THE 0 ARTICLE
associated with
COUNTABLE NOUNS ( in the Plural )

COUNTABLE NOUNS ( in the Singular)


THE INDEFINITE
ARTICLE a(n)
associated with

refers to the CLASS (of the corresponding noun),


e.g.: Computers are useful.

e.g.: A house is a shelter.

COUNTABLE NOUNS in the Singular


AN INDEFINITE OBJECT
NOUNS OF MATERIAL

ABSTRACT NOUNS
UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

refers to a RESTRICTED SPHERE


of the NOTION;
e.g.: the science of computers
the bread youve bought

NOUNS OF MATERIAL
THE DEFINITE
ARTICLE the
associated with
COUNTABLE NOUNS ( in the Plural ) - refers to RESTRICTED GROUP within the CLASS
e.g.: the people in your country

in the Singular - refers to a DEFINITE being/ object/ phenomenon


COUNTABLE NOUNS
in the Plural

- refers to a DEFINITE group of beings/ objects/ phenomena