Zero Article - Omission of Articles
In this article, we will have a look at the various cases where we need not use an article, often referred to as Zero article.
Transitive verb + Object
We do not use any article in certain phrases consisting of a transitive verb followed by its object.
to catch fire, to take breath, to give battle, to cast anchor, to send word, to bring word, to give ear, to lay siege, to set sail, to lose heart, to set foot, to leave home, to strike root, to take offence.
Preposition + Prepositional Object
We do not use any article in certain phrases consisting of a preposition followed by its object.
at home, in hand, in debt, by day, by night, at daybreak, at sunrise, at noon, at sunset, at night, at anchor, at sight, on demand, at interest, on earth, by land, by water, by river, by train, by steamer, by name, on horseback, on foot, on deck, in jest, at dinner, at ease, under ground, above ground.
Noun + preposition + noun
If both the nouns in [Noun + preposition + noun] are the same word, then we do not use any article with them.
Village after village was plundered.
If the two nouns are different, then the first noun takes ‘the’.
The water of this glass.
However, the first noun will take ‘a/an’ or a number if we have to count it.
A friend of mine.
Two friends of mine.
‘what kind of’
We do not use any articles before the nouns, in sentences, starting with:
- ‘what kind of,
- ‘what sort of,
- ‘what type of and
- ‘what variety of.
What sort of a man he is! (incorrect)
What sort of man he is! (correct)