3 Types of Sentence Errors Resulting from Missing Articles
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.”