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Hi there,

The usage of article is always confusing for me and it also involves to think it should be sigular or plural.

For example like the sentence above,
[The/(nothing)] usage of [the/an/(nothing)] [article/articles] is always confusing for me.
I guess the correct way to say is, "The usage of article is always confusing for me." But I'm not sure.

Another example,
Are you shopping for a health club to join so you can get in shape? Shop wisely! You could end up choosing [a/the] wrong club and losing more money than pounds. There might be [a/the] good one always. There might be [a/the] wrong one always.
If the second sentence is "the wrong club," then is it ok to say "there might be the wrong one always." But it doesn't sound right to me. "There might be a wrong one always," sounds better to me. Then I don't quite get why it is said "You could end up choosing the wrong club...." I hope you get what I'm confused about.

Any clear explanation would be appreciated.
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AnonymousYou see how this drives me crazy.
Yes, I do! It's a completely new way of thinking for you, isn't it? Some nouns are only countable; some are only uncountable; many can be used as countable or uncountable. And sometimes both a/an and the are correct, with only very slightly different meanings.

But, as you see below, of all the possibilities, most of them are correct. You might take some comfort in that!

The usage of the article is always confusing for me.
The usage of the articles is always...
The usage of an article is always...
The usage of article is always... 1
The usage of articles is always...
The usages of the article are always confusing for me.
The usages of the articles are always...
The usages of an article are always...
The usages of article are always... 1
The usages of articles are always..
A usage of the article is always confusing for me. 2
A usage of the articles is always... 2
A usage of an article is always... 2
A usage of articles is always... 2
A usage of article is always... 1, 2
Usages of the article are always confusing for me.
Usages of the articles are always...
Usages of an article are always...
Usages of articles are always...
Usages of article are always... 1
Usage of the article is..
Usage of the articles is..
Usage of an article is..
Usage of articles is..
Usage of article is .. 1


1 A singular countable requires a, an, or the.

2 If only one usage is always confusing, we say "A certain usage of articles is ..." or "There is [one / a certain] usage of articles that is always confusing for me".

____________________

This is the sort of thing that has you tearing your hair out.

A. In this particlar case, it's the combination ... of the (non)contable noun and the article. (Which combination? We know which one. It's the noun-article combination.) There are 25 possibilities and it is required to eliminate ... the incorrect ones. (Which ones? We know which ones. The incorrect ones.)

B. In this particlar case, it's a combination ... of the (non)contable noun and the article. (One combination from the set of all combinations.) There are 25 possibilities and it is required to eliminate ... [] incorrect ones. (No article. Any incorrect ones, no matter which.)

Both combination and incorrect ones can take either a/an or the. You can mix and match as you wish. In the case of incorrect ones, however, it seems quite clear that you are talking about those incorrect ones within this specific list of 25, so I definitely prefer the.

____________________

At least I have to spend 25 times than ... a native speakers' thinking process. I have to spend 25 times more [time/effort/energy] thinking than a native speaker (any native speaker, it doesn't matter which) does. So currently I put (a) higher priority (no particular priority among several; or treat priority as an abstract uncountable and omit the article) in learning English to master the use of count/noncount noun
_____________________

If you believe you have enough information in your sentence to specify exactly which entity you are referring to, use the.

Put the eggs in the refrigerator. [The listener can see exactly which eggs you want in the refrigerator and exactly which refrigerator you want him to put them in. For example, the eggs may be together in a single carton on the table right in front of the listener, and there is only one refrigerator in the room. So you know which eggs and which refrigerator, and the listener also knows which eggs and which refrigerator.]
_______

If you are referring to an example of a certain entity, but not a specific one, use a/an.
If you are referring to any example, and it doesn't matter which one, use a/an.
(No article for plurals in this case.)

Just to be safe, you should always put [] eggs in a refrigerator. [This is a general rule. It doesn't matter which eggs; it doesn't matter which refrigerator. The statement isn't talking about a specific group of eggs, but about any eggs you might buy at any time. It's not about a specific refrigerator, but about any refrigerator, because any refrigerator will keep any eggs cold.]

_____________________

"Besides the use of prepositions is confusing for me too."

Even more confusion! You have a lot of work ahead of you! Emotion: smile

CJ
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goxuI might be getting at it.
A: She picked up an apple and it was a totally new fruit for her.
B: She picked up an apple and it was the totally new fruit for her.
So you don't say B, do you?
That's exactly right. We don't say B. You are getting it.
goxuRegarding the usage of the word "first,"
Assuming he is a project manager of a film production and has several jobs that have to get done, it does not matter which one to start from. He cannot make up his mind.
He is planning on a first project of his pohotoshoot.
He is planning on the first project of his photoshoot.
I guess the both are ok, aren't they?
No. first refers to a particular one in a possible series of photoshoots. We know which one. Whenever you know which one, it's the.

[first, second, third, ...] < different photoshoots

^ <<<We are talking about this one. the first.
________________

On the other hand, suppose that this photoshoot is the first that he has ever done. We can then describe it as a first in his life. He may have many firsts in his life.

[first photoshoot, first job, first kiss, first trip to London, ...] < different firsts in this person's life

The first photoshoot belongs to the set of firsts, so it is a first for him.

Note how the subject gets "the", and the complement gets "a":

The first photoshoot that he ever does in his life is a first for him.
The first trip to London that he takes in his life is a first for him.
...

the in the subject tells us which photoshoot or trip we are talking about. We select one of the firsts from the set of all firsts. By saying the we show that we are talking about a specific case from the larger set -- the case that we have chosen to talk about.

a in the complement tells us "belongs in this set of things". We don't select a particular element from the entire set. We use the set as a reference point to say that this selected thing (with the) belongs to that set. We specify the set from which we chose something.
_________________________

See if you can understand the use of the and a in the following sentences, which have the same grammatical pattern.

The number 5 is an integer.
The number 3.1416 is not an integer.

The gift that I gave him was a gold clock.
The thing that Larry wants is a blue raincoat.
The essay that he wrote was a criticism of modern music.
The woman he went to the concert with was an old friend.
___________

Note that a firstis not common. It is not very often that you will ever need to use that expression. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't make sense to you. There are many other expressions that are more important to learn. Emotion: smile

CJ
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Comments  
"The usage of articles is always confusing for me."
Use plurals when stating a general statement, like: I love apples. We do not say, I love apple.

The wrong club. - is correct. We use "the" because among the many clubs there is one wrong club for you. (or something like that)
I think the last two sentences should be: "There's always a good one. There's always a bad one." in this case, we use 'a' because we are not talking in the context of the customer who is looking for a club. There is a bad club out there and there is a good club, but we don't know which. Make sure you find the right one.
hmmmm, thanks maiagarri, for the reply and correcting my English. It seems your explanation is very clear. But I quite don't get and even I don't know why.
maiagarriWe use "the" because among the many clubs there is one wrong club for you.
What about this sentence,
There's always a bad one for me.
Here also, it is among the many clubs there is one wrong club for the person but the sentence uses a.

What about this case,
You can chose a wrong club and losing more maney than pounds.
It sounds right to me. Do you preffer using the here too?

Also I realized the possibilies to say,
Usages of articles are always confusing for me.
A usage of articles is always confusing for me.

Are these also ok to say?
The usage of articles is always confusing for me.
(Presumably you have trouble with all of them. Use the plural.)

You could end up choosing the wrong club and losing more money than pounds.
__________________

The following is not at all idiomatic English. What are you trying to say? Can you say it a different way or explain what you mean?

There might be [a/the] good one always. There might be [a/the] wrong one always.

You can always find a good club, but you might find a bad one. Is that what you mean?
__________________

Regarding "the wrong ...", see also A/the.

CJ
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Hi CalifJim, thanks for the reply.
CalifJimThe usage of articles is always confusing for me.
(Presumably you have trouble with all of them. Use the plural.)

You could end up choosing the wrong club and losing more money than pounds.
maiagarri has already corrected my sentences and we are moving on to further questions, just in case you did not notice
CalifJimThe following is not at all idiomatic English. What are you trying to say? Can you say it a different way or explain what you mean?

There might be [a/the] good one always. There might be [a/the] wrong one always.

You can always find a good club, but you might find a bad one. Is that what you mean?
Let me see, I meant something like the following.
He had a question and was looking for an answer. He remembered his teacher once taught him there is always a bad answer and a good answer.

So I kind of arranged it to,
There might be always a bad one.
Please forget it, if it does not make sense and let's move on to the next questions I posted on my second post.
Hello, I ran into another confusion.

The baby started to walk.
A: It was a totally new experience for her.
B: It was the totally new experience for her.
C: It was a first experiecnce for her.
D: It was the first experience for her.


I guess you don't say C (I'm not sure). If A is ok, then why C is not ok?
The baby started to walk.
A: It was a totally new experience for her. Good.
B: It was the totally new experience for her. Not good.
C: It was a first experiecnce for her. Possible. Requires more contextualization.
D: It was the first experience for her. Possible. Requires more contextualization.

More idiomatically,

C: It was a first for her. (It was one more thing that she did for the first time. There are also other firsts: the first time she says "Mama", the first time she falls, the first time she skips rope, ...)

D. is not likely as it stands. Babies have many more experiences than starting to walk. The real "first experience for her" was probably being born.

More idiomatically,

It was the first time she walked without help.
It was her first experience of walking.

CJ
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This is very interesting and also confusing.
CalifJimThe baby started to walk.
A: It was a totally new experience for her. Good.
B: It was the totally new experience for her. Not good.
C: It was a first experiecnce for her. Possible. Requires more contextualization.
D: It was the first experience for her. Possible. Requires more contextualization.
I expected D was the most likely and C was not acceptable since I learned in ESL classes that the word "first" always follows "the," similar to what you described in the link : "the wrong," "the same," and, "the right."

And I thought B doesn't have any problems at all. The relationship between the context is pretty much like,

He had an apple and put the fruit on the table.

Here, among other kinds of fruits, the word "the" specifies the apple he was holding. Similarly,

The baby started to walk and it was the new experience for her.

Among other kinds of experiences, doesn't the "the" specify it as walking?
goxuThis is very interesting and also confusing.
That's not surprising. English can be both interesting and confusing!
goxuI learned in ESL classes that the word "first" always follows "the"
It normally does. The situations that your ESL classes were talking about are those in which "first" is an adjective. This is a special case of using "first" as a countable noun.
goxuAnd I thought B doesn't have any problems at all. The relationship between the context is pretty much like,
He had an apple and put the fruit on the table.
Here, among other kinds of fruits, the word "the" specifies the apple he was holding. Similarly,
The baby started to walk and it was the new experience for her.
Among other kinds of experiences, doesn't the "the" specify it as walking?
This is somewhat difficult material, as you already know. Let's try to show it like this:

The baby started to walk. The experience (of walking) was a (totally)new experience for her.

new experiences: [ P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z] (W = the walking experience)

The experience of walking ^ (I say which experience: W.)
belongs to the set of new experiences,
so it is one of them; it is a new experience (among many possible experiences).

So: It (the experience of walking) was a totally new experience for her (one of many possible totally new experiences).

(The example with the apple is not a good analogy for this grammatical pattern.)

CJ
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