§ 21.Nouns may have different functions in the sentence. They may serve as:
e.g. Lifeconsists in accepting one's duty.
2) an object(direct, indirect and prepositional),
e.g. You did such splendid work.
General Drake handed theman his medal. He won't listen to any advice.
3) a predicative(non-prepositional and prepositional),
e.g. The town has always been a quiet and dignified little place. The place was in disorder.
An objective predicative,
e.g. They elected him presidentof the club.
5) a subjective predicative,
e.g. He was appointed squadron commander.
6) various adverbial modifiers(usually as part of prepositional phrases),
e.g. I lived near Victoria station in thoseyears. He spoke in a different tone.
7) an attribute(in the genitive case, in the common case and as part of prepositional phrases),
e.g. His officer'suniform gave slimness to his already heavy fig- ure.
For some time he read all the travelbooks he could lay his hands on.
He set off on a tour of inspection.
e.g. He told us about his father, a teacher,who died inthe war.
The following classification seems to be suitable for the purpose:
§ 1. The article is a structural word specifying the noun. The absence of the article, which may be called the zero article,also specifies the noun and has significance. J
There are two articles in English which are called thedefinite and theindefinite article.
The use of articles, as well as their absence, has grammatical meaning and follows certain rules. There are cases, however, in which the use of articles cannot be accounted for grammatically as it has become a matter of tradition. This is found in numerous set phrases, as in: at night — in the night, in the distance — at a distance, as aresult of — under the influence of, to take the trou ble — to take care of, to be in danger — to be in a rage, etc.
The traditional use of articles is also found in other cases. For example, names of countries are generally used without any article but the names of certain countries or regions, owing to a well-es- tablished tradition, are associated with the definite article (e.g. the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Congo, the Sudan, the Tyrol, the Ruhr and some others).
Thus, in dealing with the use of articles it will be necessary to divide all the cases into two groups which may be called the gram- matical use of articlesand the traditional use of articles.
The grammatical use of articles is dependent on the character of the noun.
In order to describe the use of articles we need some classi- fication of nouns upon which our description will be based.
1 The absence of the article is not to be confused with the deliberate omission of the article for stylistic reasons as seen in newspaper headings, stage directions, tele- grams, etc.
e.g. Newspaper headlines: Biggest Brain Drain Source in Britain
Fight over Market
Stage remarks: Catherine enters from kitchen, crosses down to window, looks out.
Note. Nouns denoting unique objects (e.g. the sun, the moon) or unique notions (e.g. the past, the plural) are neither countable nor uncountable.
As is seen from the above table, proper names form a special category and the use of articles with them should be treated sepa- rately. With common nouns, the use of articles is dependent on whether a noun is countable or uncountable.