Articles are not always necessary. A noun can be correctly used in a sentence without a definite article or indefinite article preceding it. In such a case, the term zero article is used.

 

Examples:

  • He travels to work by train.

    (Not: He travels to work by a/the train.)  

  • She loves taking photos of caterpillars.

    (Not: She loves taking photos of the caterpillars.) 

 

 

No article is used when making generalization with plural countable nouns and singular uncountable nouns.

Examples:

  • Cars are still expensive for lower-income people. (Countable noun)
  • Flying is far safer than driving. (Uncountable noun)
  • He loves drawing wild horses. (Countable noun)

    (Not: He loves drawing the wild horses.) 

  • If we go by train, we will save time on our journey. (Uncountable noun)

    (Not: If we go by train, we will save the time on our journey.) 

 

  

Zero article:

Examples:

for general statements:

  • Pigs are farm animals.

    (Not: The pigs are farm animals.)

  • Bats are nocturnal creatures.
  • Ice floats on water.

before plural countable nouns:

  • He bought red plastic roses for her.

    (Not: He bought the red plastic roses for her.)

  • We travelled through different countries, working in restaurants.
  • She is inviting only female friends for her birthday dinner.

No article is required before uncountable nouns.

  • We drink alcohol-free beer for dinner.

    (Not: We drink the alcohol-free beer for dinner.)

  • Those statues are carved in white marble.
  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide which animals breathe out.

before abstract nouns used in a general sense:

  • It is said that money cannot buy happiness.

    (NotMoney cannot buy the happiness.)

     

  • We always expect total honesty from our employees.

    (Not: We always expect the total honesty from our employees.)

before proper nouns: 

  • He is a fan of Michael Jackson.

    (NotHe is a fan of the Michael Jackson.)

     

  • She gave birth to twins in June.

    (Not: She gave birth to twins in the June.) 

before illness:

  • She came down with measles and had to stay in bed.
  • Not: She came down with the measles and had to stay in bed.
  • Our family doctor suffers from asthma.
  • Not: Our family doctor suffers from the asthma. 

before illness:  

  • She came down with measles and had to stay in bed.

    (Not: She came down with the measles and had to stay in bed.)

     

  • Our family doctor suffers from asthma.

    (Not: Our family doctor suffers from the asthma.) 

before name of materials: 

  • Gold is found in Australia.

    (NotThe gold is found in Australia.

     

  • They are mining for tin.

    (NotThey are mining for the tin.) 

before the name of cities, states, countries, islands, or mountains: 

  • India achieved independence in 1947.

    (Not: The India achieved independence in 1947.)

     

  • Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain.

    (Not: The Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain.)