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Article - Common Errors / Mistakes

Updated: May 22


Rules:

1. Common Noun in the Singular Number

As a general rule, a common noun in the singular number should have an article, either definite or indefinite, placed before it.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. I saw dog coming towards me.

  2. He shot large tiger today.

  3. He ordered servant to leave room.

  4. Dead man tells no tales.

  5. Live ass is better than dead lion.

  6. India is large peninsula.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. I saw a dog or the dog coming towards me.

  2. He shot a large tiger today.

  3. He ordered the servant to leave the room.

  4. A dead man tells no tales.

  5. A live ass is better than a dead lion.

  6. India is a large peninsula.

2. Common Noun in the Plural Number

When a common noun is in the plural number, the definite article should not be placed before it unless the speaker or writer desires to particularize the object named.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. The storks gobble up frogs.

  2. The men are rational beings.

  3. We cannot easily live without the houses.

  4. Oil is produced from the olives.

  5. Language consists of the words.

  6. All the men are mortal.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. Storks gobble up frogs.

  2. Men are rational beings.

  3. We cannot easily live without houses.

  4. Oil is produced from olives.

  5. Language consists of words.

  6. All men are mortal.

3. Material Noun

No article, either definite or indefinite, is placed before a material noun.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. You should use a seasoned timber for making a door.

  2. Most men are fond of the bread.

  3. The honey is made by bees.

  4. You can stick this down with a gum.

  5. The charcoal throws out much heat.

  6. Some men never eat a flesh.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. You should use seasoned timber for making a door.

  2. Most men are fond of bread.

  3. Honey is made by bees.

  4. You can stick this down with gum.

  5. Charcoal throws out much heat.

  6. Some men never eat flesh.

4. Material Noun Used as a Common Noun

When a material noun is used as a common noun in the singular number, it must have an article placed before it.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. I am fond of strolling in wood.

  2. Slate is used for writing on.

  3. Hand me potato.

  4. Fire broke out in our village.

  5. Do not lose precious stone.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. I am fond of strolling in the wood.

  2. A slate is used for writing on.

  3. Hand me a potato.

  4. A fire broke out in our village.

  5. Do not lose the precious stone.

5. Abstract Noun in a General Sense

An article is not placed before an abstract noun when the noun is used in a perfectly general sense.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. The envy is an evil passion.

  2. I am fond of a walking in the fields.

  3. He is not fond of the mathematics.

  4. He always practiced the justice.

  5. The speech is one of our best faculties.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. Envy is an evil passion.

  2. I am fond of walking in the fields.

  3. He is not fond of mathematics.

  4. He always practiced justice.

  5. Speech is one of our best faculties.

6. Abstract Noun Particularized

The definite article is placed before an abstract noun when it is necessary to particularize the quality, state, or action denoted.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. Envy of malicious persons is cruel.

  2. He is not fond of mathematics taught in that book.

  3. Justice of that man is well known.

  4. He understands grammar taught in that book.

  5. Sleep of a wearied man is sound.

  6. Height of a man is seldom more than six feet.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. The envy of malicious persons is cruel.

  2. He is not fond of the mathematics taught in that book.

  3. The justice of that man is well known.

  4. He understands the grammar taught in that book.

  5. The sleep of a wearied man is sound.

  6. The height of a man is seldom more than six feet.

7. Abstract Noun Used as a Common Noun

When an abstract noun is used as a common noun in the singular number, it must have an article, either definite or indefinite, placed before it.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. He gave very wise judgments.

  2. He made very good speech.

  3. You are not justice of the High Court.

  4. My son, I fear, is not genius.

  5. Your daughter is quite beauty.

  6. Your conduct will be blamed by authorities.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. He gave a very wise judgment.

  2. He made a very good speech.

  3. You are not a justice of the High Court.

  4. My son, I fear, is not a genius.

  5. Your daughter is quite a beauty.

  6. Your conduct will be blamed by the authorities.

8. Proper Noun Used as a Common Noun

When a proper noun is used as a common noun in the singular number, it must have an article placed before it.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. He was Kalidas of his country.

  2. Czar of Russia ruled a great empire.

  3. He is Daniel in wisdom.

  4. You are almost Newton in your knowledge of astronomy.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. He was the Kalidas of his country.

  2. The Czar of Russia ruled a great empire.

  3. He is a Daniel in wisdom.

  4. You are almost a Newton in your knowledge of astronomy.

9. Proper Noun Preceded by the Definite Article

A proper noun is preceded by the definite article when it is the name of a river, a group of islands, a range of mountains, a strait, a gulf, a bay, a sea, or an ocean.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. Ganges has overflowed its bank.

  2. Andamans are a group of islands.

  3. Vindhyas are a range of mountains.

  4. Palk Straits separate India from Ceylon.

  5. Gulf of Cambay is on the west coast of India.

  6. Bay of Bengal separates India from Burma.

  7. Arabian Sea separates India from Africa.

  8. Indian Ocean separates Australia from Africa.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. The Ganges has overflowed its bank.

  2. The Andamans are a group of islands.

  3. The Vindhyas are a range of mountains.

  4. The Palk Straits separate India from Ceylon.

  5. The Gulf of Cambay is on the west coast of India.

  6. The Bay of Bengal separates India from Burma.

  7. The Arabian Sea separates India from Africa.

  8. The Indian Ocean separates Australia from Africa.

10. Proper Noun Not Preceded by the Definite Article

A proper noun is not preceded by the definite article when it is the name of a single island or a single mountain.

Erroneous Sentences:

  1. The Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world.

  2. The Mount Abu is in Rajputana.

  3. The Ceylon is a beautiful island.

  4. Scotland is in the northern part of the Great Britain.

Corrected Sentences:

  1. Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world.

  2. Mount Abu is in Rajputana.

  3. Ceylon is a beautiful island.

  4. Scotland is in the northern part of Great Britain.


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