3 Types of Sentence Errors Resulting from Missing Articles

By Mark Nichol

In each of the following sentences, lack of an article (a, and, or the) results in a grammatically flawed sentence. Discussion after each example, followed by a revision, identifies the problem.

1. In 2006, The Simpsons television show paid tribute to the 1974 Oakland A’s in an episode.

The first instance of the article the, as an element of a composition title, cannot do double duty as an article that performs a grammatical function in the sentence, and the statement must be revised so that it includes such an article: “In 2006, an episode of the television show The Simpsons paid tribute to the 1974 Oakland A’s.” (However, if “television show” were omitted from the original sentence, no further revision would be necessary.)

2. During our discussion, we’ll hear insights from a chief financial officer, investment banker, and others.

“Chief financial officer” requires the article that precedes it, while the plural pronoun others does not need one. But “investment banker” is left in the lurch; it cannot share the article that precedes the first item in the list: “During our discussion, we’ll hear insights from a chief financial officer, an investment banker, and others.” (Even if a specific designation were to replace others, an article would have to precede each item: “During our discussion, we’ll hear insights from a chief financial officer, investment banker, and chief risk officer” implies that one person with three roles, rather than three people who each have one role, is being identified.)

3. Live Nation bought a majority stake in Austin City Limits Music Festival, Bonnaroo, BottleRock, Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, and Electric Daisy Carnival.

Here, some of the listed event names do not require an article, but those that end with a word describing a type of event do: “Live Nation bought a majority stake in the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Bonnaroo, BottleRock, Lollapalooza, the Governors Ball, and the Electric Daisy Carnival.”

Recommended for you: « »



3 Responses to “3 Types of Sentence Errors Resulting from Missing Articles”

  • D.A.W.

    Kansas City has never had an NHL ice hockey team, nor the opportunity to support one. Let’s reconsider: Kansas City has already had the Monarchs, Chiefs, Royals, and Kings, so where would a fitting name for the NHL team come from?
    The Princes, the Queens, the Presidents, the Imperials, the Emirs, the Head Honchos…
    By the way, there have already been pro teams, here and there, named the Barons, Colonels, Dukes, Generals, and Senators (two different kinds: American and Canadian).

  • D.A.W.

    Long ago, Kansas City had a baseball team in the Negro Leagues called the Kansas City Monarchs.
    In about 1962, a football team moved to Kansas City and it was renamed the Kansas City Chiefs.
    Then in 1969, an integrated baseball team was established there called the Kansas City Royals.
    Meanwhile, there was a long-established basketball team in Cincinnati named the Royals, but its owners decided to move the Royals to Kansas City. To cut down on confusion, the owners decided to change the name of the basketball team to the Kansas City Kings. Hence at times, Kansas City had the Monarchs, the Chiefs, the Royals, and the Kings.

    Next, the new owners of the Kings decided to move to Sacramento, but they kept the name “Kings”. Well, Los Angeles already had an ice hockey team named the Los Angeles Kings. They decided to live with that. Complicating things more, the owners of the Sacramento Kings considered moving to Anaheim, California, very close to Los Angeles.

    Maybe it is unfortunate that there has not been a well-known pro team named the Queens. Where would they go? To New York City, of course.
    Then New York City would have three NBA teams in the Knickerbockers, the Nets, and the Queens, as well as three NHL teams in the Rangers, the Islanders, and the Devils.
    At one time, New York City had three baseball teams in the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers, as well as the NFL Giants, and a little later on, the AFL Titans, which were then renamed the Jets.

  • D.A.W.

    Try again on #1, reducing its wordiness:
    In 2006, the TV show, “The Simpsons”, paid tribute to the 1974 Oakland A’s in an episode.
    Many writers today seem to have been inoculated against appositives, or they are afraid of them, or they are ignorant of them.
    Also, “Oakland As” does not take an apostrophe because it is not a possessive.
    Better yet: the 1974 Oakland Athletics, rather then slang expression.
    Worse yet, plenty of people, especially in California, say “As” when it is completely unclear whether they are speaking of the Athletics or the Angels, both of which have their homes in the same state.

Leave a comment: