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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Zero article a/an or the    

Zero article a/an or the


Zero article a/an or the
Dear colleagues,

I need help with these sentences! Could you make some explanations, please?

1. There �s _ amazing scenery all around the hotel!

Scenery is an uncountable noun, we can �t use "an," but why "the" is impossible? I know this scenery, it is a certain scenery around the hotel.

2. Could you book _accommodation for a group of twenty coming to the Conference?

Accommodation is also uncountable noun. What about it?

3.I believe that the surviving of the planet is worth fighting for.

4. Building a road here will destroy an area of great natural beauty.

This is a certain road here, why "а"? There is a description of this area with a preposition of. I think it �s a certain place.

Thanks in advance for your answers! I �m waiting .....

17 Apr 2013      

United States

1.  We don �t use "the" after "There is/There are".
2.  I don �t know if BE is different, but in the US, we say "accomodations".
3.  It should be "the survival", not "the surviving".
4.  No, there isn �t a certain road here. There isn �t a road here at all, so the proposal is to build "a road".
I hope these answers help,

17 Apr 2013     


Hi Olchik,

1. "the" would be correct in a very specific situation, for example if you �d already mentioned the scenery and the person you were talking to hadn �t remembered it. But why are you going there? - Because there �s the amazing scenery, remember? But nearly all the time, Bruce �s rule holds.

2. In BE, "accommodation" is always singular. You can use "the" or leave the space blank - again, it depends on how specific the request is. "the" accommodation suggests it has already been discussed, whereas "__ accommodation" suggests that any accommodation will do. In some cases you might hear "some accommodation" too.

3. I agree with Bruce: I believe that the survival of the planet is worth fighting for. Everything else is fine.

4. As Bruce said, there is no road, so building "a road" (= any road) will destroy the beauty of the area. You could also say "the road" (= a specific road which is under discussion, e.g. a new motorway). An area of great natural beauty = the natural beauty belongs to the area. That �s why we have "of" in the sentence.

I hope that helps!

17 Apr 2013     

United States

I disagree with FrauSue on #1, but not too strongly. I might say "because there �s that amazing scenery" or "because there �s amazing scenery", but not "because there �s the amazing scenery". Now, if it were answering "Why do you like to go there?", I might answer "Because of the amazing scenery", but "because there �s" is different.
Thanks for enlightening me about "accomodation" in BE.

17 Apr 2013     


This post appears twice
I think this might be one of those situations that, without the full context,  we can�t really say.  Colloquially, but perhaps not grammatically correct,  But why are you going there? - Because there�s the/that amazing scenery, remember? sounds  ok to me, although I�d be more inclined to say because of the amazing scenery.  Even what Peter, my fellow country man, said, with an is ok too.  There�s an amazing scenery all around the hotel.  As Peter says, language is a living thing though I�m not sure if this livingness helps the poster.
Accomodation is definitely what we use too, never accomodations.  Must be a UK v US thing.  Accomodations sounds extremely weird to my ears.
Could you book (the) accommodation for a group of twenty coming to the Conference - both are ok
Agree on survival - definitely not surviving
Agree with a road

17 Apr 2013     

United States

I �m with jayho (see my answers on the first version of this post)

17 Apr 2013