In Grammar By Victoria

Location of the article in English

If you need to translate into English a single word or phrase, the question of where to put the English article does not arise. And what if we present a few words that define the noun? Whether they influence the location of the article in English (position of article)? Influence, though not very strong and only a certain group of words. Let’s talk about where it is necessary to place the article in general and in different situations.

Typically, the article immediately precedes the noun which it determines. Moreover, if there are before a noun definition, it is put in front of them:

I’m reading a book. I’m reading an interesting book. I’m reading a very interesting book. — I am reading a book. I read an interesting book. I read a very interesting book.

However, the following words — all, both, half, double, twice, many, quite, rather, such, what — can be used both to articles, and after it. In this case, the location of the article in English, significantly affects the meaning of the sentence, even changing it.

Half + a (an) or half the + denotes a half of a number or numbers:

  • half a month — half a month
  • half a minute — half a minute
  • half a mile — half a mile
  • half the battle — half the battle
  • half the distance — half the distance
  • half the population — half of the population

But the combination of A + half (The + half) already defines quality:

  • a half-brother — half-brother
  • a half truth — the truth is incomplete
  • a half-culture community — polukulturnoe society
  • the half bottle we drank — a small bottle we drank
  • a half-wild — semi-wild

Double (twice) + the value has «twice»:

  • double the number — twice as many
  • double the work — double work
  • twice the price — twice the price
  • twice the amount of — twice

The word twice in conjunction with the indefinite article in the English language expresses the frequency of an action:

  • twice a day — twice a day
  • twice a year — twice a year

If the location of the article in the English language change, and he put the article before the word double — A (the) + double, will be able to specify:

  1. Quality:
    • a double-breasted — breasted (jacket)
    • a double cream — thick cream
    • a double-face — deceiver
  2. Dual measure anything:
    • a double yolked egg — an egg with two yolks
    • a double shift — work in two shifts
    • a double whisky — double whiskey

Word of all, both are always in front of the definite article (optionally with zero article):

All (the) students of our group attended the meeting. — All the students of our group attended the meeting.

All the way — in full growth.

Both the wolves have eaten much and the sheep have not been touched! — And the wolves are fed and the sheep are safe.

These words define the adjective in English: quite, rather, such, what, so, as, too, however. Location indefinite article about these words and adjectives may be different. Article can be placed in the first, second and even third place:

It’s a quite good idea! What a good idea! It’s so good an idea! — What a great idea!

The indefinite article usually use immediately after the words quite, rather:

  • to be quite a success — to have considerable success
  • for quite a distance — a good distance
  • rather a grim business — a very unpleasant business
  • rather a surprising result — quite an unexpected result

But the rearrangement of these words and the article also has a right to exist:

  • a quite exceptional case — from oddity
  • to a quite good approximation — in a very good approximation
  • a rather big farmhold — quite a large firm

Location of the article in the English language with respect to such words and what those — the indefinite article is after them:

It’s such an interesting novel! — This is an interesting novel!

He has such a fine haul of prizes. — He received many prizes.

What a bally nuisance! — What a mess!

What a frost! — What a disappointment!

But if we find the adjective before the word so, as, too, how, however, the indefinite article is placed after an adjective:

It’s not so simple a problem as it seems. — It’s not a simple problem as it seems.

Too high a price — too high a price.

The book-style English may be encountered with such a design many + a (an) + noun in the singular:

Many a true word is spoken. — Every joke has a bit of truth.

Many a testament of his friendship. — A lot of evidence of his friendship.

Many a book. — A lot of books. (many books, not one book)

Many a time. — Many times.

Remember that after the expression kind of, sort of, type of the indefinite article is not normally used (exceptions are very rare, for example, He is a kind of (sort of) a hero — looking at him as a hero)

He is a different kind of man. — It is a completely different person.

A positive sort of man. — Self-confident people.

Type of car. — Car brand.

This topic is closely related to the other as described in the articles that need to pay attention:

  • «Zero article in the English language»
  • «The indefinite article in the English language»
  • «The definite article in English»
  • «Articles of nouns as a function of the application»

After reading them, we recommend to pass the following test: «Test # 1 on the use of articles in the English language.»



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