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Names of Parts of the Day

§ 45.To this group of nouns belong: day, night, morning,
evening, noon, afternoon, midnight, dawn, twilight, dusk, sun
rise, sunset, daytime, nightfall
and the like.

1) When the speaker uses these nouns he often means a par-
ticular day, night, etc. and then naturally the definite article is
used. The limitation is very often clear from the situation or the
context but it may also be expressed with the help of a limiting

e.g. The nightwas warm and beautifully still.

He decided to spend the afternoonwith his friends.
The weather was very cold on the dayof his arrival.

Sometimes we find a descriptive attribute with nouns denoting
parts of the day, but the definite article will still be used if the
above mentioned limitation holds good.

e.g. I could see a few faint stars in the clear night.

Iwas not in a hurry, and walked along, basking in thewarm

The definite article is also found with nouns denoting parts of
the day used generically.

e.g. He used to spend the morning lying about the beach.

I often sat up the nightwith him and read to him to ease his

2) When nouns indicating parts of the day have a descriptive
attribute and are the centre of communication in the sentence
. they are used with the indefinite article (in its aspective func-
tion). This use of the indefinite article is mainly found in the fol-
lowing sentence patterns:

e.g. It had been awet day;the pavements were glistening, though
now the rain had stopped.

It was a fine, warmnight and Charles and I decided to walk

On a hotSeptember evening he strolled idly to the embankment.
We were having tea in my room on a cold January after-

3) Nouns denoting parts of the day have no article when they
are used as predicatives.

e.g. It was evening when he decided to lay his books aside and
take a walk.

It was nearly midnightand neither of us had eaten for a long


It was dusk but I could see Henry walking across the field.
However, if these nouns are used predicatively with a de-
scriptive attribute, the indefinite article is used (see point 2

But the article is not used with nouns denoting parts of the
day if they are modified by one of the following adjectives:
e.g.It was early morning.

Itwas broad day.

Itwas high noon.

Itwas late evening.

The adjectives early, late, broad and high do not describe any
part of the day here, but just indicate the time of the day with
more precision. (Morning refers to a longer period of the day
than early morning or late morning.)

4) In many cases the use of articles with nouns denoting parts
of the day has become traditional.

a) In some prepositional phrases either the definite article or
no article is found. They are to be treated as set phrases. The def-
inite article is used in: in the afternoon, in the daytime, in the
evening, in the morning, in the night.
No article is used after the
prepositions at, by, about, past, before, after, towards, till, until,
e.g. at night, at dawn, by day ('днем'), by night ('ночью'), by
('к полудню'), by midnight ('к полуночи'), past noon, about
midnight, before dawn, after sunset,

e.g. I would take pills at nightto make me sleep quickly, but I
never found any pills that would keep me asleep till day-

Rain was now falling in sheets as it so often did before dawn.

After midnight Iwalked to the beach with him, sad to see him
leave so soon.

b) There is no article with the nouns morning, day and dawn
when they are used as subject to the verbs to break, to be at hand;
the same is true of the nouns evening, night, dusk when they are
followed by the verbs to fall, to gather, to set in, to be at hand, to

e.g. Day was breaking when we set out.

The sky was overcast and duskfell early.

Dawnwas breaking among the olives, silvering their still

c) There is no article with nouns denoting parts of the day
when they are modified by the names of the days of the week and
the words tomorrow and yesterday.

e.g. I went to Aunt Milly's house on Friday evening.

Hespoke to Lin on the telephone on Thursday afternoon.
shall see him tomorrow morning.
She was here yesterday afternoon.

Note. Compare: We met on Saturday night ('Мы встретились в прошлую суб-
боту вечером') and We met on a Saturday night ('Мы встретились однажды суб-
ботним вечером').

d) There is no article in the following phrases: all day {long)
and all night (through) (but we say: all through thenight and all
theday), day after day, night after night, day in day

out, from morning till night, (to work) day and night, in the dead
of night, late at night
(but early in the morning).

e) There is a tendency to use the nouns denoting parts of the
day without any article in attributive of-phrases. Yet, the definite
article is used when a particular day, night, etc. is meant.

e.g. He always woke up with the first sounds of morning.

After the bombardment he couldn't recognize the street that
had been so familiar to him at the beginning ofthe day.

Names ofSeasons

§ 46. To this group of nouns belong: winter, spring, summer
and autumn (AmE: fall). The use of articles with these nouns pre-
sents great difficulty because we find a good deal of fluctuation

1) The definite article is used with these nouns when reference is
made to a particular winter, spring, summer or autumn present,
past or future, or to a season of a particular year. As a general
rule, this limitation is clear from the situation or context, but it
may also be expressed by a limiting attribute. The nouns usually
have the function of subject in this case.

e.g. The summerwas exceptionally trying in the town.

The winterwas very fine that year and we were very happy.
The summer wore on. He was still working hard.
The autumnof 1914was very warm.

But when these nouns are used as the subject to such com-
monly used verbs as to approach, to be over, to come, to come to
an end, to pass, to set in
and some others, either the definite arti-
cle or no article is found. In this case reference may be made to a
particular season or to the kind of season in general.

e.g. (The) winter came early and unexpectedly with a heavy fall

of snow.

(The) summerwas over but we had not heard from him yet.
In those parts (the) springusually sets in early.

The same fluctuation is observed when names of seasons are
used in general statements as a subject to a nominal predicate.

e.g. (The) winter is very long here.

(The) summer is a rainy season on the island.

2) The definite article is generally found when names of sea-
sons serve as an object in the sentence. This is usually found after
the verbs to hate, to like, to love, to spend, to talk about, to wait
and some others. In this case reference may be made to a par-
ticular season or to the kind of season in general,
e.g. He looks like somebody who spent the summer at the sea.

Dave loves the winter.

I liked the summer there, on account of the bathing, I think.

Sole. Although the use of the definite article is the norm in this case, occa-
sionally no article is found.

3) When names of seasons have a descriptive attribute and are
the centre of communication they are used with the indefinite ar-
ticle (in its aspective function).

e.g. We had a short summer.

He had passed a sluggish winter and a lazy summer.

4) When names of seasons are used as predicatives they have
no article.

e.g. It was summer and the place broke up in red flowers.

However, when these nouns in their predicative function are
modified by a descriptive attribute, the indefinite article is used
(see also point 3 above),
e.g. "It has been a terrible summer," he said.

"It was a remarkably fine autumn," she added.

But the article is not used with names of seasons if they are
modified by the adjectives early and late which do not describe
the season but serve to indicate the time of the year with more
precision. {Early summer means the first month of summer; late
means the last month of autumn.)

e.g. It was early summer.
It was late autumn.

5) There is a great deal of fluctuation in the use of articles
with names of seasons when they are used as adverbial modifiers in
prepositional phrases. After the prepositions in, till, until, before

and after names of seasons may be used either with the definite
article or without any article. Reference again may be made to a
particular season or to the kind of season in general.

e.g. The sun in (the) summer warms the skin, but in (the) winter
when it appears it warms the heart.
In (the) autumn young Ben was to go to a preparatory school.
"Can't you wait until (the) winter?" Sam asked.
I don't think they'll be able to get through with the work be-
fore (the) winter.
But after the prepositions through, for and during the definite
article is to be used.
. Through the autumn, a busy time for me, I was often uneasy.
"Are you going to stay here for the winter?" Jack asked af-
ter a while.
He stayed in Paris during the summer and worked without a
break till autumn was well advanced.
6) In attributive of-phrases names of seasons usually have no
article, as in: the warmth of spring, the dust of summer, three
months of winter, the colours of autumn.

Note. Note the following set phrases used adverbially: (to work) winter and
summer, early (late) in the autumn (summer, etc.), all the winter (spring, etc.).

Names of Meals

§ 47. The group includes the nouns: breakfast, lunch, dinner,
and tea.

1) In the overwhelming majority of cases names of meals are
used without any article. In this case neither the function of the
noun nor its being part of a set phrase is essential.

e.g. Lunch is ready and we can go in.
Dinner was at an end.
I was having tea with her.
He came in when we were eating breakfast.
John came to lunch at the appointed time.
They met for dinner.
"Stay to tea," said Mrs Watson.
His eyes still bored me as they had done at tea.

2) The definite article is infrequent with names of meals. It is
used in a clear case of back reference or if there is a limiting at-

e.g. The supper was very different from the one of the evening be-
The dinner was excellent, but Isabel noticed that John ate

very little.
He was greedily eating the lunch his mother had given him.

3) The indefinite article is used when names of meals are mod-
ified by descriptive attributes. The indefinite article has its aspec-
tive function.

e.g. I'll try to give you a decent lunch.
Walter wanted a very special dinner.

You can get a good supper here.

As soon as he was dressed, he went into the library and sat
down to a light French breakfast.

4) Occasionally, owing to a change of meaning, names of meals
become countable nouns. This occurs in the following cases:

a) when they denote dinner party, tea party, etc. Both the defi-
nite and the indefinite articles may be found here.

e.g. Fleur said: "We had a dinner last night."

I was having a wash and a brush-up before starting out to go

to the luncheon Elliot had invited me to.

Each Friday night Mr March used to give a dinner to the en
tire family.

b) when they denote a portion. In this case the noun is used
with the indefinite article denoting one.

e.g. I have not enough money to buy a dinner at such an ex-
pensive restaurant.
He wheedled a few francs out of me for a dinner and a bed.

Names of Diseases

§ 48. This group includes a considerable number of uncoun
table nouns, e.g. pneumonia, influenza (flu in colloquial English).

scarlet fever, cholera, diabetes, lumbago, cancer, diphtheria, tu-
berculosis (consumption), mumps
and measles (the last two are
used with a singular verb), etc.

1) Names of diseases are generally found without any article,
as in most cases they are used just to name the kind of disease.

e.g. The doctor said he had pneumonia and told him to keep warm.
The boy Roger arrived home with measles.
He had a bad attack of lumbago.
He had almost died of cholera.
She was suffering from diabetes.
The boy had been ill for two days and his mother thought it

was scarlet fever.
She fell ill with flu.

2) The definite article may be used with names of diseases in a
clear case of back reference or if there is a limiting attribute.

e.g. The family were sitting around watching TV, recovering from

the flu.
After the diphtheria Jane felt very weak and depressed.

Note. Certain nouns which are not special medical terms are used to name dis-
eases. They may be countable or uncountable.

e.g.He had a (bad, splitting) headache.
had a toothache.
had a sore throat.
had heart trouble.

I have a boilon my hand.
She had a bruise onher leg.

The Noun sea

§ 49. The noun sea is regularly found with the definite article.
This may be accounted for by different reasons. In some cases it
may be understood as a generic singular.

e.g. The sea covers nearly three fourths of the world's surface.
He always spends his holiday by the sea.

In other cases it is used with the individualizing definite article,
e.g. A cold wind was blowing from the sea.
Let's go for a swim in the sea.

Certain Countable Nouns in Their PhraseologicalUse

§ 50.There are a number of countable nouns in English, which
are often used without any article, as they undergo a change of
meaning and become uncountable.

§51. The nouns school, college, hospital, prison, jail, camp,
church, court, bed, table
and occasionally market are used without
any article when, as part of set phrases, they lose their concrete
meaning and express the purpose which the objects denoted by these
nouns serve. Thus hospital comes to denote treatment, prison
punishment, school — studies, bed — sleep, etc. Compare the fol-
lowing examples:

e.g. After lunch Dr Reily went off to thehospital.

"How long were you in hospitalwith that wound?" she asked.
They had ahospital in the town during the war.

Madame Duclerk sat at the tabledarning socks.

I asked her to tell me who all the people at tablewere.

In the cafe we had a tableto ourselves, but those around us

were soon filled.

The road to the prisonwas blocked by policemen.
He would be sent to prisonif he were caught.
Perhaps he was in a Germanprison.

I softly drew the chair to the bedand sat down.

He went to bedearly, but lay awake for a long time.

I found a bedmade up for me, and placed the candles on the

old-fashioned chest of drawers.

It should be noted that the use of a descriptive or limiting at-
tribute destroys the idiomatic meaning of the phrases in question.
See the examples above and also compare the following sentences:

e.g. He was sent to school.

Hewas sent to a secondary (good, public) school.

He was sent tothe best schoolin the town.

§ 52. The noun town in some prepositional phrases may be used
without any article when it means the centre or business part of a
town, the town one lives in, or the nearest town to a country place-

e.g. She drove into townand drew up at the curb beside the drugstore.
I called up and asked her if she wouldn't prefer to lunch in

thought that he would be out of townnext week.

§ 53. A considerable number of different nouns when used in
adverbial prepositional phrases have no article, e.g. by train, by
plane, by boat, by coach, by bus, by tram, by taxi, by air, by car, by
sea, by post, by mail, by phone, by radio, by accident, by mistake,
by hand, by chance, by letter, by land, by sight, at hand, off hand,
[ in detail, in person, on board, on deck, on foot, on tiptoe, at sea, to
sea, on hand, on leave, on business, on holiday,

e.g. It was nearly eight o'clock, and I had to go home by taxi.

Ihad already told her by telephoneabout my talk with

You needn't tell me about it in detail.

§ 54.There is no article in a number of combinations con-
sisting of a preposition + a noun + a preposition. Such setphras-
es are to be treated as compound prepositions, e.g. in addition to,
in charge of, in contrast with, in regard to, in support of, in reply
to, in connection with, on account of, in comparison with, in con-
formity with, in honour of, in memory of, in pursuit of, in favour
of, in combination with, in answer to, in defiance of, with regard
to, in recognition of, in return for, in place of, in relation to, in search of, by reason of, by way of,

e.g. I rushed through the passage in searchof my mother.
My father found himself in chargeof a factory.
However, in some other set phrases built up on the same pat-
tern the definite article is used, e.g. under the influence of, in the
centre of, on the invitation of, by the side of, in the middle of, on
the initiative of, under the pretence of,

§ 55. There is no article in some combinations consisting of a
preposition 4- a noun + a conjunction which are on the way of beco-
ming compound conjunctions, e.g. for fear that, on condition that.

However, in some cases the definite article is found, as in: on
the ground that, for the reason that.

§ 56. The definite article is used in the following set phrases: to
the forest, in (to, across) the fields, to (at) the cinema, to (at) the
theatre, to the pictures, to (in) the country, on the spot, in the
slums, in the trenches.
(Note, however, that the nouns museum,
picture gallery, concert, exhibition
do not form such set phrases.)

e.g. I took Marian aside and asked her to come for a walk. We

went to the fields.

We had an early dinner and went to the theatre.
"Oh," he said, "Sarah*s come in. She's been to the pictures."
I knew that Aunt Lin would not ring up because it was her

afternoon at the cinema.

But if these nouns indicate a particular object, the articles are
used with them in accordance with the general rules. But this
case is not common.

e.g. We found that the film was on at a cinema across the river.
Charles suggested that we should have a meal and go to a the-

§ 57. The definite article is also used in the following set
phrases: to play the piano, to play the violin and the like. But no
article is found in the combinations: to play volleyball., to play
hockey, to play golf, to play cards
and the like.

The Use of Articles with Nouns Denoting

§ 58. There are a number of nouns in English denoting either
concrete objects or abstract notions which are considered to be
unique. These nouns are neither countable nor uncountable as, on
the one hand, they express oneness but, on the other hand, the
idea of more-than-oneness, is inconceivable in connection with
them 1. Such nouns are used with the definite article as reference
is always made to the same object or notion. They include:

1 Occasionally some of these nouns are used in the plural for stylistic purposes.
e.g. The morning skieswere heavy with autumn mists.

1) names of unique objects, such as the sun, the moon, the
earth, the world, the globe, the universe, the Milky Way, the
ground, the cosmos, the atmosphere.

e.g. The sun was falling flat across the field and the grass was

pale with it.

We had been there all day, the whole party of us; the ground
was littered with our picnic.

Even when these nouns have descriptive attributes they may
be used with the definite article in accordance with the rule stat-
ed above.

e.g. Only the yellow light of the low autumn moon ruffled the water.
The stars were quivering in the frosty sky.

However, the indefinite article in its aspective function may
also be used in this case. Then attention is focused on the noun
and it becomes the centre of communication, which is as usual
marked by strong stress.

e.g. There was a splendid tropical moon and a soft breeze last

It was a glorious night, with a great full moon gleaming in a

purple sky.
My first reply was: "Of course, I want to see a better world."

It should be noted that the above use is typical of literary style.

2) names of unique notions, such as the present, the past, the
future, the singular, the plural, the South, the North, the East, the
West, the equator, the horizon, the post, the press, the telegraph,
the telephone, the radio.
But: TV, {the) television.

e.g. The film star had a particular smile for the press.

presently the sun rose over the horizon.
I knew that the future was going to be full of pain for me.
"The telephone in this town," Hallam said, "is as private as
the radio."
Note. The above rule does not concern the nouns radio and telephone indicating
concrete objects,
Somewhere a radiosoftly played.

The use of articles with these nouns modified by descriptive
attributes is the same as that with nouns denoting unique objects.

Compare: Even the distant futurelooked quite gloomy to him.

Everyone believed that he had a brilliant futurebefore

Note. Note the following set phrases: at present ('в настоящее время'), in the
past (
'в прошлом'), in the future ('в будущем'), in future ('отныне', 'впредь').

The Use of Articles with Proper Names

§ 59.The use of articles with proper names seems to be based
mainly on tradition.

It is true that some cases might be accounted for historically.
Thus we can say that the use of articles with names of certain
countries is due to foreign usage: the Senegal, the Tyrol. In other
cases the article may be due to the ellipsis of a common noun
which was formerly added: the Sahara (desert), the Crimea (pen
insula), the Pacific (ocean), the Baltic (sea), the Bedford (hotel),
the Lancet (magazine).
In the Urals the use of the definite article
may be explained by the fact that the noun originates from the
name of a mountain range; the Congo may have the article be-
cause the name originally denotes the river. Names of rivers are
used with the definite article because formerly the noun river of-
ten preceded the proper name: the river Thames.

Although historical explanations of that kind may be con-
vincing, they are not of great help from the viewpoint of present-
day English. In modern English the use of articles with proper
names lacks regularity and so does not always seem consistent.

Proper names fall into various groups, such as names of per-
sons, geographic names, names of newspapers and magazines,
boats, hotels, public buildings, etc. Moreover, geographic names
may be divided into subgroups, such as names of countries, con-
tinents, cities and towns, rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, islands,
peninsulas, etc. The use of articles with each of the above men-
tioned groups and subgroups has peculiarities of its own. Within
each group there are typical cases and individual cases. Hence,
it is necessary to describe the use of articles with each group


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