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Sentence: "I didn't get you sms, usually people inform the/a mail receiver about the/an urgent mail through sms - that is the other reason why I don't check my mails frequently"

My question: This is where use of articles confuses me. Mail receiver could be many, to my knowladge I'm alone in this case, so should not the article "a" come before the word mail? But my intuition says article "the" should come there! I'm not sure why, so have come here again to seek help from you. Please explain to me (with telling difference) which article should come there and why?

Same is the case with the article before the word "urgent". Urgent mails can be counted so shouldn't the article "an" be used there? But why my instict says article "the"is a right choice! I'm confuse as always! Please help Emotion: sad

Regards and thanks Emotion: sad
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Comments  
"mail receiver" does not seem terribly natural. It doesn't affect your question, but I'll assume "recipient" instead.

You can use "a" or "the" before "recipient", though I prefer "the". There is effectively little difference in meaning. "a" means "any recipient", while "the" means "the specific recipient that I am using as an illustrative example, who has received the urgent mail I mention later".

Before "urgent mail" you need "an", not "the". This is because you are talking about any urgent mail, not a specific item.

You have a typo, "you" for "your", and your sentence also suffers from a comma splice.
Mr Wordy "mail receiver" does not seem terribly natural. It doesn't affect your question, but I'll assume "recipient" instead.
Thanks for pointing it out. I agree with you. I'll change it to recipient.
Mr WordyYou can use "a" or "the" before "recipient", though I prefer "the". There is effectively little difference in meaning. "a" means "any recipient", while "the" means "the specific recipient that I am using as an illustrative example, who has received the urgent mail I mention later".
Yup. Got the logic; both know what they are taking about so the article "the" should come there.
Mr WordyBefore "urgent mail" you need "an", not "the". This is because you are talking about any urgent mail, not a specific item.
Ok.
Mr WordyYou have a typo, "you" for "your", and your sentence also suffers from a comma splice.
Thanks for infoming me about it. Comma and article grammar are nasty things! lol.Emotion: smile

**Besides this I'd like to ask few more questions on article. Answer it according to your convenience. Articles and some grammars generate lots of questions, curiosity and doubts in me. Emotion: smile

Question 1: There are some nouns which don't ake any articles. How can we identify those nouns which don't take any articles? Is there any trick, specific way to identify them?

Question 2: Just noticed that I have not put any article after the word "through" in my initial sentence. Is there need of one? Or, will it not anyone?
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Hi,

I think you may not realize this.

The noun 'mail' is uncountable.

You can speak of

mail

some mail

the mail

but not

a mail.

You have to say eg

a piece of mail

three pieces of mail

a letter

three letters.

On the other hand, the newer noun 'email' can be both uncountable and countable, depending on how you use it.

You can say

Email is very useful

I sent an email

I sent three emails.

Clive
Clive Hi,

I think you may not realize this.

The noun 'mail' is uncountable.
You can speak of
mail
some mail
the mail
but not
a mail.
You have to say eg
a piece of mail
three pieces of mail
a letter
three letters.

Goodness meEmotion: surprise. Thanks a zillion ton I certainly didn't realise it's uncountable. Thanks for informing me about it. These countable nouns, uncountable nouns and where-not-to-use-article are damn confusing. Will kill my will to learn English, seems!
CliveOn the other hand, the newer noun 'email' can be both uncountable and countable, depending on how you use it.
You can say
Email is very useful
I sent an email
I sent three emails.

Clive

But you didn't tell how did you you identify it's both a countable noun an uncountable noun? It's very important for me to know that to understand it. And if nouns are both countable and uncountable then no article is need before it, correct?

RazerThere are some nouns which don't ake any articles. How can we identify those nouns which don't take any articles? Is there any trick, specific way to identify them?
Do you mean never take articles, or do not take an article in a specific context? I can't think of any nouns that can never take an article. Even proper nouns are amenable to constructions like "This is not the England that I know" or "We aimed to build a new England". Aside from proper nouns, the most obvious categories of noun that may not need articles are plurals ("There are people everywhere") and uncountable nouns ("Water is necessary for life"). But of course these can take the definite article ("The people are leaving"; "The water here tastes foul"). Even when required, articles can, of course, also be replaced by a variety of other determiners ("my", "this", "another", etc. etc.).

Beyond a few simple guidelines, the use of articles is so complicated and idiomatic that one could write a whole book about the subject (in fact, someone probably has). I'm not sure there are many easy "tricks" that make life a whole lot easier.
RazerJust noticed that I have not put any article after the word "through" in my initial sentence. Is there need of one? Or, will it not anyone?
Since SMS is a service, you can say "through SMS" without an article. If referring to the message, you would have to say "an/the SMS message". I would write "SMS". I don't know how accepted "sms" is.
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CliveThe noun 'mail' is uncountable.
Not when it means "email", which I believe is the OP's intention.
Mr Wordy Do you mean never take articles, or do not take an article in a specific context? I can't think of any nouns that can never take an article. Even proper nouns are amenable to constructions like "This is not the England that I know" or "We aimed to build a new England". Aside from proper nouns, the most obvious categories of noun that may not need articles are plurals ("There are people everywhere") and uncountable nouns ("Water is necessary for life"). But of course these can take the definite article ("The people are leaving"; "The water here tastes foul"). Even when required, articles can, of course, also be replaced by a variety of other determiners ("my", "this", "another", etc. etc.).
I meant both, never take articles and specific context. Please have a look at some starting lines of this website and then jump to the part where they have mentioned that no articles are needed before certain things like sports, languages, nations etc. http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/articlestext.htm .

I've learn no article comes before certain things from these English grammar websites and also I get confuse when I see people not using article before a certain noun. I couldn't gather any example right now but I've seen instances where no article has been used before a noun by authors.Take your example you have used definite article before the word England but the English grammar websites say "you don't use article before countries name". So should we use an article before the word England only when we are starting the sentence with it? These are things which confuse me. I've seen article before the sport tennis etc whereas websites suggest otherwise.
Mr WordySince SMS is a service, you can say "through SMS" without an article. If referring to the message, you would have to say "an/the SMS message". I would write "SMS". I don't know how accepted "sms" is.
Thanks for this.
RazerI meant both, never take articles and specific context. Please have a look at some starting lines of this website and then jump to the part where they have mentioned that no articles are needed before certain things like sports, languages, nations etc. http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/articlestext.htm .
These guidelines work most of the time. However, there are exceptions:

"I forgot all the French that I learned at school."

"The football they play in America is different from the football we play here."

I wouldn't abandon the guidelines, but just keep in the back of your mind that certain special and less common patterns may serve as counterexamples.
RazerTake your example you have used definite article before the word England but the English grammar websites say "you don't use article before countries name". So should we not use an article before the word English only when we are starting the sentence with it?
It's nothing to do with starting a sentence. Nearly all the time we don't use articles before the names of countries wherever they appear in the sentence (except for certain countries that by traidtion have an article, such as the ones they mention). However, there are some exceptional cases, such as the examples I gave with "England".
Razer
Mr WordySince SMS is a service, you can say "through SMS" without an article. If referring to the message, you would have to say "an/the SMS message". I would write "SMS". I don't know how accepted "sms" is.
Thanks for this.
Actually, though I think "through SMS" is OK, I don't think my explanation of why stands up to scrutiny. After all, the Internet is a service, and yet you can't say "through Internet". It's another one of those cases where the logic (if there is any) seems hard to explain...
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