Using Articles (A, An, The) In Academic Writing

Using Articles (A, An, The) In Academic Writing

the articles a and and the are constantly used in both everyday speaking and writing as well as academic writing they function as limiting adjectives that help readers understand which person place thing or concept is being discussed native usage of these articles develops as a result of extensive reading writing observation and speaking in natural context however academic writing can be somewhat idiosyncratic and therefore difficult even for native speakers to master a whopping 62 percent of all grammar mistakes were advice edited in 2016 were related to determiner misuse therefore article use is a major grammar concerned research writers need to be made aware of but there are a few basic rules to determine which articles to use in a given sentence three articles we will discuss today are a and in the applying first the indefinite articles a and n there are two basic rules we can consider when applying these articles first use a or n when you mention someone or something for the first time researchers conducted a survey of heart disease patients last year I consulted an orthodontist this morning secondly use a or n to show that someone or something is one of a group Fiji is an island in the Pacific Ocean this means one among all islands lupus is a disease that affects the immune system one among many diseases for the definite article the there are three basic rules we can use first use the after you have already mentioned someone or something or if the context makes it obvious which person object or concept you are referencing the heart disease patients were 50 to 60 years old here we are assuming that the heart disease patients are the ones whom researchers conducted a survey as we mentioned in our first example the orthodontists explained my x-ray result to me we can elide this information in the parentheses as we have already mentioned it earlier in the text ii used the when there is only one of someone or something for example the Prime Minister of Canada is visiting Asia there is only one Prime Minister of Canada the Statue of Liberty is located in New York Harbor as there is only one Statue of Liberty the definite article is used last use the with superlative adjectives Everest is the highest mountain on earth these results comprise the strongest evidence for this theory the misuse of articles a and n the also frequently arises from a failure to recognize when a noun is countable or uncountable a noun is countable if the noun can be counted examples include apples chairs patients years and people among many others a noun is uncountable if it cannot be counted often these are abstract items like thoughts or substances and liquids that can take on any shape or form a couple examples include water heat and temperature so let’s first look at the uncountable nouns since the rules about articles is simplest for these types of nouns when it comes to uncountable nouns the articles a and n cannot be used since the words mean one and we can’t count uncountable things therefore the only choices you have are using the or no article at all so when do you use the and when do you not use any article if you are referencing a specific example of an uncountable noun then you use the however if you mean any of the samples of an uncountable noun then you use no article as you can see in these examples so let’s take a look at some examples you might encounter when writing a research paper people often make decisions out of anger and not using reason these are uncountable nouns the samples showed that the liquid was actually fluoride although liquid is an uncountable noun we use the word the’ because it references a specific term that is used in the paper sand was important long ago in making bricks the water in that Lake is contaminated we use the definite article the in this case because water is referenced specifically in this paper now let’s take a look at countable nouns we must decide whether we are talking generally about the countable noun or about a specific example of the countable noun first if the noun in question refers to one member of that countable noun you should use a or n with that noun for example I want a car or a virus could have infected this specimen we don’t need to point at any specific term that’s in the paper but any one of the group that this term represents if the noun in question refers to all members of that countable noun you should use no article but rather use the plural form of the noun for example colors can affect our emotions or scientists have been researching this issue for decades we are not referencing any specific color in this text nor are we referencing any specific scientist so we use the plural if the noun in question refers to a whole group you should use the definite article or the plural for example the elephant is a large mammal or the harp is a difficult instrument to learn now let’s take a look at some countable nouns in sentences you might encounter in research papers patients with this disorder should go to a special hospital researchers and doctors are interested in progress well we’re not referring to any specific researchers and doctors but researchers and doctors in general a copy of the study was just completed here we use an indefinite article with copy because it does not matter which copy specifically were referencing and we use the definite article the with study because there is only one study in question the penguin is an interesting animal to observe remember we use the definite article the with countable nouns when we want to reference all items in a group using the rules we’ve learned regarding article use let’s take a quiz to see if you can decide which if any article should be used we analyzed a variety of tissue samples experts identified the lake surrounding the compound as the source of the infections in question colors affect our perception of reality the cheetah is the quickest of the land animals those interested in donating a kidney should notify the hospital’s donation committee becoming an expert takes a lot of experience using articles appropriately in your research writing and other essays is essential to creating solid and trustworthy academic work for more information and tips on manuscript writing and journal submissions visit the resources page at word vice.com

  • Prev Post
  • Next Post