Omission of Articles 

Omission of Articles :

As a general rule a Common Noun in the Singular Number should have some Article placed before it.

But the following exceptions should be noted…

(a) Names of titles or professions when they precede a Proper Noun

1. Queen Victoria
2. King George
3. Saint Paul
4. Elizabeth
4. Queen of England

In certain well-established phrases, consisting of a Transitive Verb followed by its Object, the Common Noun which follows the Verb is used without any distinction of Article or Number.

1. The trees struck root (not the roots) into the ground.
2. The boys leave school (not the school) at four o'clock.
3. Students must give ear (not the ears) to what the teacher tells them.
4. He sent word that he would come soon.
5. You cannot set foot in this house.
6. He shook hands with his old friends.
7. The king resolved to give battle to his enemies.
8. The sailors cast anchor for the night, and set sail again next day.
9. The pile of logs has caught fire.
10. He took breath when he rose up out of the water.
10. To follow suit…To do penance…

In phrases consisting of a Preposition followed by its Object, the Article is omitted before the Common Noun when such phrases are intended to be used for all persons and on all occasions alike.

1. Some came by land and some by water.
1. He is out at sea on board ship.

To go to the church, the school, the hospital and the prison - when the reference is to the building.

To go to church, to school, to hospital and to prison - when the reference is to the purpose for which the building or the institution exists.

1. Men who are in jail are sometimes made to work out of doors.
2. He fell ill at school and is now in bed.
3. Those who work hard by day must not work by night also.
4. He is head over ears in debt or in trouble.
5. He begins work at daybreak and leaves off at sunset.
6. Such food is not fit for man or beast.
7. Speak the truth in court whether you have been at fault or not.
8. This will be paid at sight or on demand.
9. I met your old friend at dinner today.
10. He lends out money at interest, for he has plenty of cash in hand.
10. There is nothing on earth so pure as sea-air.

But AT THE DINNER if the reference is to a particular dinner, thought of as a social function.

The Article is also omitted.

(a) Before a Noun used in its widest sense

1. Man is mortal.
1. What kind of fruit is it?

(b) Before a Material Noun

1. Iron is a very useful metal.
1. Gold is a precious metal.

(c) Before a Proper Noun

1. Delhi is the capital of India.
1. He left for Britain on Tuesday.

(d) Before an Abstract Noun

1. Work is worship. Time is money.
2. Honesty is the best policy.
2. Virtue is its own reward.

But we can say…

The wisdom of Ali is superior to that of Afzal.

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