“More clear” vs “Clearer”: when to use “more” instead of “-er”?

“More clear” vs “Clearer”: when to use “more” instead of “-er”?

The basic rules of forming comparatives:
One syllable words take -er:
clear -> clearer
sweet -> sweeter
Multisyllable words take "more":
incredible -> more incredible (not "incredibler")
horrible -> more horrible (not "horribler")
Two-syllable words ending in consonant + y take "ier":
happy -> happier
pretty -> prettier
Both "more clear" and "clearer" are acceptable:
Your answer is more clear than mine.
Your answer is clearer than mine.
I would have thought that "clearer" was more common, but I find "more clear than" is actually much more common on Google than "clearer than".

a lot better or much better?

a lot better or much better? 

which one right?

Just Googled for a while. It seems that 'much' can be a modifier while 'a lot' cannot.

For the quiz, 
He speaks ____ better than Mary . 
A.a lot      B.much

You have to choose A, rather than B. 

However, when there is no 'then', it seems that 'a lot better' is common.



Mary sings much better than Helen.
Her handwriting is much better than mine.

a lot better: 

I feel a lot better, thanks for asking.
"We can use a lot better science," he said."
I could have done a lot better.

If I am wrong, please leave a message and correct me. Thanks. 

About the date

Writing date
About date, there are there different writing ways. Except British English and American English, another one is written entirely in figures. The examples are as follows.
2 July 2006 (BrE)-----2.7.06
July 2, 2006(AmE)-----7.2.06

Speaking date
20 April 1981=" April the twentieth, nineteen eighty-one"( AmE also" April twentieth…")or "the twentieth of April, nineteen eighty-one"
1300=" thirteen hundred"
1508="fifteen  hundred and eight" or "fifteen O eight"
1678="sixteen(hundred and) seventy-eight"
1810="eighteen (hundred and) ten"
2000="two thousand"
2008="two thousand and eight"

BC and AD
BC= Before Christ, AD=Anno Domini-Latin for "in the year of the Lord". BC follows the date; AD can come before or after it.
   55BC, or AD 55/ 55AD

as…as and as much/many as

as…as is used to say things are equal in some way. It also has another variant structures.
1. negative structure. After not, we can use so…as instead of as…as.
   She's not as/so kind as he is.
2. as…as+ adj/adv
   You are as beautiful as ever. Please come back as soon as possible.
3. as much/many…as  to talk about quantity.
  We need as much food as possible.
  I ate as much as I could.(without following nouns)
4. as much as 80kg means the large amount/quantity, or as little as 80kg means the small amount/quantity.
  Some of these pigs can weight as much as 300kg.
5. half/twice/three times+as…as
  It took twice as long as I expected.
6. (not) nearly, almost, just, nothing like, every bit,exactly, not quite +as …as
  He's not quite as tired as I was yesterday.

Also some tips we need to pay attention.
1. pronouns after as.
   She doesn't speak English as well as me.(informal style: we can use object pronouns)
   She doesn't speak English as well as I do.(formal style: we prefer subject +verb)
2. when is used with two infinitives, the second is often without to.
    It's as easy to do it right as (to) do it wrong.
3. In as…as-clauses, a present tense is often used to refer to the future, and a past tense can have a conditional meaning.
   I'll get there as soon as you do.

most common comparison structure

We can use various words and structures for comparing. Usually there are three types, 1) similarity and identity, 2) equality, 3) inequality.
1) similarity and identity. If we want to say things are similar, we can use as, like, so/neither do I, or too, also and as well. To say things that are identical, we can use the same (as).
  Tom likes swimming, and so do I.
  His books are just the same pages as mine.
2) equality. as(much/many)…as: things are equal in a particular way.
  He has as much money as his brother.
3) inequality. We can use comparative adjectives and adverbs, more /less+adj/adv, or superlative. In some informal usage, we more often use not so …as or not as…as.
 The baby's less ugly than you.
 The baby's not so ugly as you.

"used to do" and "be used to doing"

 1."used to do" talks about habits in past time which are now finished. However, "be used to doing" shows the feeling of familiar with the thing you are talking about; he or she has experienced it so much that it is no longer strange or new, and the tense is depended on "be". For example,
I didn't use to take care of dogs.(=Once I didn't take care of dogs, but now I do)
I  wasn't used to taking care of dogs.(=Taking care of dogs was a new and difficult experience-I hadn't done it before)

2. "used to do" only has past tense, and no present, perfect forms. To talk about present habits and states, ususlly just use the simple present tense.
He drives a big car.( Not He uses to drive a big car.)

3. Questions and negatives. Usually people use did…used instead of did …use.
What did you use(d) to do in the weekend?
I didn't use(d) to live in a house. or I usedn't to live in a house.
But the most common negative is never used
I never used to live in a house. 
I used to not live in a house.
You used not to like her, did you?(Not …used you?) 

4. Get and become can be used before "be used to doing".
I will get used to living in a house.
Little by little, she became used to her new job.    

Seven Matters Will Unconsciously Make You Old

Seven Matters Will Unconsciously Make You Old

Obviously, getting enough sleep is always a good thing. But that pillowcase of yours is a different story. Experts say it can take moisture away from your body which, in turn, can age skin. What's worse, your pillowcase also can leave wrinkles and fine lines on your face. To fight the problem, you should buy a silk pillow cover. Silk contains amino acids that are very similar to those found in your moisturizers. As such, they actually don't draw moisture from your face the way other pillowcases can.
2. Smiling
You may look nice with a smile on your face, but that grin -- as well as other facial expressions such as squinting -- actually can create more wrinkles and fine lines. Skin loses flexibility as it ages and doesn't have the capacity to spring back into place like it did when you were younger.
3. Central Air And Heating
Low-humidity environments such as those created by central heating and air conditioning can lead to dry skin. And dry skin makes wrinkles more pronounced -- even though it doesn't actually cause wrinkles. Best to warm or cool your body by putting on or taking off layers of clothing rather than turning up the heat or air conditioner.
4. Drinking from bottles and through straws
It may be hard to believe but, yes, the puckering process of drinking from a bottle or through a straw -- just like any repeated muscle motion -- can lead to fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Face cream can help. But dermatologists tell those who are prone to fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth to avoid straws altogether.
5. Watching TV
After the age of 25, every hour of TV you want shortens your life by 21.8 minutes. Really, truly. Or so says a 2011 study by researchers in Australia. Indeed, those who watch six or more hours a day of TV apparently live 4.8 years less than those who don't watch TV. In the end, watching TV may be on par with other risk factors such as obesity.
6. Sugar
No doubt sugar is bad for your waistline but eating sugary foods also can harm the collagen and elastin needed to keep your skin smooth and youthful. Experts say you should replace foods high in sugar with low-glycemic carbs like whole grains. Why? Because the body processes them more slowly, which limits the loss of collagen and elastin.
7. Holding Things In
Mad at your bank's customer service representative? Keeping that anger inside isn't a good thing. Or so say studies that show clamming up makes you four times more likely to die earlier than those who don't bottle things up.

IELTS essay materials: Push Yourself

Push Yourself

Although the following essay is a general articles about achieving your potential, there are good points of view that are good IELTS, TOFEL essay writings. That's why I shall it with you guys.

How strong are you?
That is a tough question to answer, whether you are a man or a woman.
But, really, I want to ask… how do you define your strength?
How do you know your limits? How do you know just how much you’ve got?
When push comes to shove, we often discover that we are much stronger than we think.
What is Strength?
Strength is not always about pure physical strength. Rather, it is about willpower. Discipline. Drive. It is about the capacity to get things done.
I know some people who are intellectually strong, but they get very little done in their jobs. And I know others who find work extremely challenging, but are able to move mountains by their sheer drive and hard work.
They possess inner strength.
More interesting, is that these productive hard-workers often don’t even notice the load. Bystanders are not only amazed, but often ask, “How do you do it?”
The answer usually comes back, “I just work harder than the others.”
So, why are some people able to do more? What gives them added drive? What gives them extra strength?
Could it be, they have simply given themselves permission to do more?
Self-Imposed Limits
What I have observed is that most people impose their own limits. They limit their output based on self-framed constraints of their capabilities and strengths. Sometimes these boundaries are based on past experiences. Sometimes they are based on perceived capacities. Sometimes these limits are based on nothing.
I can’t do that. (Why?)
That is too much for me. (How do you know?)
I can’t put in that much effort. (What would happen if you did?)
I am not smart enough to solve that. (Can you be sure if you haven’t tried?)
So, how do we break through these limits? How do we get stronger?
Pushing It…
Many people are going through the motions, but are nowhere near their limits.
If you want to be stronger, you have to push your boundaries.
Pushing it is what it takes to increase your limits. In the gym, bodybuilders discovered this long ago. But, the same principle is true when it comes to inner strength. Discipline and drive.
Want to test your limits? Push yourself. Test your self-perceived constraints to see how accurate they are. Make sure your goals are slightly beyond what you think can be achieved.
You Are Stronger Than You Think
Most people underestimate their strength.
As you go through your day, challenge your capacity. Test your limits.
Push yourself, to find your true boundaries and define your strength.
When you discover how much you’ve really got, you may surprise even yourself.
What are your self-imposed limits? Which do you need to push? When have you found that you were much stronger than you thought?

about and on

4 about and on    Compare: 
    - a book for children about Africa and its peoples 
      a textbook on African history 
    - a conversation about money 
      a lecture on economics 
   We use about to talk about ordinary, more general kinds of  communication. 
   On suggests that a book, talk etc is more serious, suitable for specialists. 

about to

5 about to 
    About+ infinitive (with to) means 'going to very soon'; 'just going to'. 
      Don't go out now - we're about to have lunch. 
      I was about to go to bed when the telephone rang. 
    Not about to can mean 'unwilling to'. 
        I'm not about to pay 100 dollars for that dress. 

above and over

1 'higher than': above or over     Above and over can both mean 'higher than'. Above is more common with this 
        The water came up above/over our knees. 
        Can you see the helicopter above/over the palace? 
2 'not directly over': above     We use above when one thing is not directly over another. 
        We've got a little house above the lake. (NOT ••• B
 the ltllee.) 
3 'covering': over     We prefer over when one thing covers and/or touches another. 
        There is cloud over the South of England. 
        He put on a coat over his pyjamas. 
    We use over or across (see 9) when one thing crosses another. 
       The plane was flying over/across Denmark. 
       Electricity cables stretch over/across the fields. 

active verb forms

10    active verb forms    1     future, present and past; simple, progressive and perfect           English verbs can refer to future, present or past time. 
              future: She wUl see you tomorrow. 
              present: I'm watching you. 
              past: Who said that? 
          For each kind of time, there are three possibilities with most verbs: simple, 
          progressive (be+ -ing) and perfect (have+ past participle). 
              simple present: I start 
              present p'rogressive: I am starting 
              present perfect: I have started 
   2    verb forms ('tenses') and time          There is not a direct relationship between verb forms and time. For example, a 
         past verb like went is not only used to talk about past events (e.g. We went to 
         Morocco last January), but also about unreal or uncertain present or future 
         events (e.g. It would be better if we went home now). And present verbs can be 
         used to talk about the future (e.g. I'm seeing Peter tomorrow). Also, progressive 
         and perfect forms express ideas that are not simply concerned with time - for 
         example continuation, completion, present importance.       

IELTS Writing Task 1: bar chart essay

IELTS Writing Task 1: bar chart essay
Here's a full band 9 essay:

The bar chart compares consumer spending on six different items in Germany, Italy, France and Britain.

It is clear that British people spent significantly more money than people in the other three countries on all six goods. Of the six items, consumers spent the most money on photographic film.

People in Britain spent just over £170,000 on photographic film, which is the highest figure shown on the chart. By contrast, Germans were the lowest overall spenders, with roughly the same figures (just under £150,000) for each of the six products.

The figures for spending on toys were the same in both France and Italy, at nearly £160,000. However, while French people spent more than Italians on photographic film and CDs, Italians paid out more for personal stereos, tennis racquets and perfumes. The amount spent by French people on tennis racquets, around £145,000, is the lowest figure shown on the chart.

- I tried to keep the essay short (154 words) by selecting carefully.
- It's difficult to change
 spend, but I used spending, spenders and paid out.

interesting street artist in down town Toronto

How to counter fatigue ?

Are you tired all the time? It’s a symptom so common it even has a handy acronym – TATT – used by doctors on medical notes.

One in five Britons say they are, according to NHS figures, with one in ten suffering long-term problems. Yet just a third of these will have anything physically wrong with them, making it a tricky problem to tackle. 

Here, experts reveal their favourite methods, from cutting out a nightly tipple to limiting time spent on your laptop.


DO drink six to eight glasses of water a day

Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George’s Hospital, South London, says: ‘Without adequate fluid intake, blood pressure drops, slowing delivery of oxygen to the brain, which can leave you feeling tired.’

The amount of fluid needed depends on the individual, but you should aim to pass urine at least three times a day. Between six and eight glasses of water-based drinks – including tea and coffee – a day are recommended.

‘Coffee is often vilified but the caffeic acid it contains is a great way to instantly increase alertness and blood pressure,’ says Collins.

DON’T have a nightly glass of wine

‘Alcohol has a dehydrating effect,’ says Collins. ‘Added to that, the chemicals in alcohol disrupt your sleep cycle, preventing you from entering deep sleep.’


DO take a magnesium supplement

‘Magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining blood glucose levels, muscle health,’ says nutritional therapist Dr Elisabeth Philipps. ‘A deficiency can leave you feeling lethargic.’ Magnesium is found in leafy vegetables and nuts, but a supplement can help. Take between 200mg and 400mg a day.

DON’T become deficient in B vitamins

A supply of all eight B vitamins is essential for feeling energised. ‘Vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6 are crucial for the conversion of food into energy,’ says Dr Philipps. B vitamins can be found in chicken, nuts, eggs, cheese and Marmite.


A nap can take the edge off an afternoon slump, but the duration of a siesta is crucial. ‘It has been clinically proven that taking a nap for up to 30 minutes is revitalising,’ says Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre.

DON’T throw yourself back into action immediately

Allow 15 minutes to wake up after a nap. ‘Everyone suffers with what we call sleep inertia after a nap – sometimes a person can seem drunk,’ says Dr Idzikowski. ‘You need to give your brain time to recover and regain composure.’

It isn’t fully understood why napping is beneficial, but it is thought that it gives the brain a chance to pause and rest.


DO eat low-GI foods

Choosing unprocessed foods with a low glycaemic index (GI) will maintain steady energy levels, says Dr Philipps: ‘Choose slow-burning whole grains, brown rice and whole meal bread in your diet but don’t overfill your plate. Digestion uses up a lot of energy so the more packed the plate, the more tired you will feel. This is particularly the case with carbohydrates because glucose triggers the production of the hormone serotonin, which can make you sleepy.’

DON’T forget to include protein

Ensuring you get adequate levels of protein – about 50g per day – will fight fatigue. ‘Protein slows the speed at which carbohydrates are absorbed, so there will be a steady drip-feed of glucose into your bloodstream,’ says Dr Philipps. Protein helps produce mood and energy-boosting hormones, too.


DO get enough daylight

If we don’t get enough, our bodies produce too much melatonin, the hormone responsible for making us feel sleepy. Even at dawn, daylight is up to 100 times stronger than the lighting at home and in the workplace.

‘Take a 30-minute stroll each day or move your desk near a window to increase light exposure and keep your inner clock in check,’ says Prof Foster.

DON’T get too much blue light

Studies have shown that those who sit at laptops and in front of the TV late at night find it harder to drop off because the blue light emitted suppresses melatonin production. In the evening, dim your laptop light setting and try to stop watching TV one or two hours before bed.


DO breathing exercises 

Believe it or not, most people don’t breathe correctly and this can contribute to a feeling of lethargy, says respiratory physiotherapist Alex Hough. The following exercise helps reset your breathing pattern. By using the diaphragm – the muscle that inflates and deflates the lungs – you inhale and exhale more efficiently. Consciously relax your jaw, throat, shoulders and upper chest.

Breathe in through the nose. Allow the air to glide down your windpipe as if it’s filling your abdomen. Your tummy – not your chest – should rise gently like a balloon filling with air. It might help to place a hand on your abdomen to monitor movement. As you exhale, let your abdomen sink gently like a balloon deflating.

You should be breathing 12 to 14 times a minute. If you breathe more frequently than this, gently slow your inhalations and exhalations.

Try this exercise twice a day for a few minutes at a time. You should find yourself feeling more energised and less stressed.


If you suffer from mid-afternoon inertia but don’t want to glug a double espresso to get you through the rest of the day, there are alternative pick-me-ups that have been proven to work.

Nibble on dark chocolate

Chocolate contains the stimulant theobromine. ‘The chemical is almost identical to caffeine but has a more measured effect on the central nervous system,’ says Dr Philipps.

A quick stretch can perk you up, says Steve Hunter, of Sport and Exercise Science at London Southbank University. ‘If we sit still at a desk all day, our bodies start to slow down. Stretching limbs stimulates neurons inside our muscles, which send signals to the brain to wake us.’

Plural Endings (-S/-ES) - English Pronunciation

In English, we mostly form the plural of a noun by adding ‘s’. In some cases we add ‘es’:
  • 1 dog, 2 dogs
  • 1 class, 2 classes
At the end of a word, ’s’ has two possible pronunciations: /s/ or /z/.
1. After the following sounds we pronounce ‘s’ as /s/:
  • after a /p/ sound:
    2 shops /s/
  • after a /t/ sound:
    2 hats /s/
  • after a /k/ sound:
    2 books /s/
  • after a /θ/ sound:
    2 cloths /s/
  • after a /f/sound:
    2 giraffes /s/.
2. In all other cases we pronounce ‘s’ as /z/:
  • 3 trees /z/
  • 2 dogs /z/
  • flowers /z/.
  • managers /z/.
When the plural form has the ‘es’ ending, the pronunciation is always /iz/:
  • 2 foxes /iz/
  • 2 boxes /iz/.

Watch the following video for more details. 

IELTS Writing Task 1: selecting

IELTS Writing Task 1: selecting

The following bar chart has a total of 24 bars. It's impossible to describe 24 pieces of information in only 20 minutes, so you need to select.

Britain: highest spending on all 6 products, give the figure for photographic film.

France: second highest for 3 products, but lowest for the other 3.

Italy: Italians spent more money on toys than on any other product.

Germany: lowest spending overall, similar figures for all 6 products.

IELTS Writing Task 1: bar chart introduction

IELTS Writing Task 1: bar chart introduction

Task 1 introductions should be fast and easy. Just paraphrase the question statement (rewrite it in your own words). If you practise this technique, you will be able to start the writing test with confidence.
Look at this question statement from Cambridge IELTS book 2, page 95:
The table below shows the figures for imprisonment in five countries between 1930 and 1980.
I'll change 3 elements of this sentence:
1. table shows = bar chart compares
2. figures for imprisonment = number of people in prison
3. between... and... = over a period of
So, here's my paraphrased introduction:
The bar chart compares the number of people in prison in five different countries over a period of 50 years.

FOUR beautiful thoughts of life

FOUR beautiful thoughts of life

  • Look back & get Experience! 
  • Look Forward & See Hope! 
  • Look Around & Find Reality!
  • Look within & Find Your self

Method, Approach, Model, Algorithm: The difference

I was sometimes confused by the words: method, approach, algorithm and model. What are the differences? 

Let's see the definitions of these words in the Google Dictionary

  • Method: A particular form of procedure for accomplishing or approaching something, esp. a systematic or established one. 
  • Approach: A way of dealing with something.
  • Algorithm: A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, esp. by a computer.
  • Model: A simplified description, esp. a mathematical one, of a system or process, to assist calculations and predictions

As we can see, a method/approach is a more general concept than algorithm and can be more or less anything, e.g. writing data to a file. Just about anything that should happen due to an event or to some logical expression. Also, the meaning of the words "method" and "algorithm" can vary depending on in what context they are used. They might be used to describe the same thing.

In general programming speak, algorithms are the steps by which a task is accomplished. According to Wikipedia,
an algorithm is a finite sequence of instructions, an explicit, step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, often used for calculation and data processing. It is formally a type of effective method in which a list of well-defined instructions for completing a task, will when given an initial state, proceed through a well-defined series of successive states, eventually terminating in an end-state. The transition from one state to the next is not necessarily deterministic; some algorithms, known as probabilistic algorithms, incorporate randomness. <
In computer science, a method or function is part of the Object-Oriented philosophy to programming where programs are made out of classes that contains methods/functions to perform specific tasks. Once again, quoting Wikipedia
In object-oriented programming, a method is a subroutine that is exclusively associated either with a class (called class methods or static methods) or with an object (called instance methods). Like a procedure in procedural programming languages, a method usually consists of a sequence of statements to perform an action, a set of input parameters to customize those actions, and possibly an output value (called the return value) of some kind. Methods can provide a mechanism for accessing (for both reading and writing) the encapsulated data stored in an object or a class. <
In short, the algorithm are the steps by which we do something such as turning a light bulb on:
1) Walk to switch 2) Flip Switch 3) Electrons Flow 4) Light generated
Methods are where we actually code actions inside a class.

Algorithm is just like a formula to solve any particular problem step by step,with no ambiguity to any step, and must have some ending point. methodology is more general form of any solution. it provided a way how to solve any problem but in algorithm the way is more precisely formulated towards solution.

A procedure can go on forever. Where as an Algorithm, will eventually terminate and will have each step precisely defined.

algorithm (n.) Look up algorithm at Dictionary.com
1690s, from French algorithme, refashioned (under mistaken connection with Greek arithmos "number") from Old French algorisme "the Arabic numeral system" (13c.), from Medieval Latin algorismus, a mangled transliteration of Arabic al-Khwarizmi "native of Khwarazm," surname of the mathematician whose works introduced sophisticated mathematics to the West (see algebra). The earlier form in Middle English wasalgorism (early 13c.), from Old French.

method (n.) Look up method at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "regular, systematic treatment of disease," from Latin methodus "way of teaching or going," from Greek methodos "scientific inquiry, method of inquiry, investigation," originally "pursuit, a following after," from meta- "after" (see meta-) + hodos "a traveling, way" (see cede). Meaning "way of doing anything" is from 1580s; that of "orderliness, regularity" is from 1610s. In reference to a theory of acting associated with Russian director Konstantin Stanislavsky, it is attested from 1923.

70 articles (1 0): special rules and exceptions

1. common expressions without articles

In some common fixed expressions to do with place, time and movement, normally countable nouns are treated as uncountables, without articles.
Examples are:
to/ at/ in/from school/ university! college
to/atlinlinto/from church
to/in/into/out of bed/prison
to/at/from work
to/inlintolollt of hospital (BrE)
to/at sea
to/in/from town
at/from home
leave home
leave/start/enter school/university/college
at night
by day
by carlbuslbicyclelplaneltrain!tubelboat
on foot
by radio/phone/letter/mail
With place nouns, expressions with or without articles may have different
meanings. Compare:
- I met her at college. (when we were students)
J'll meet you at the college. (The college is just a meeting place.)
- lane's in hospital. (as a patient)
I left my coat in the hospital when I was visiting ]ane.
- Who smokes in class?(= ... in the classroom?)
Who in the class smokes? (= Who is a smoker ...?)
In American English, university and hospital are not used without articles.
She was unhappy at the university.
Say that again and I'll put you in the hospital.

2. double expressions

Articles are often dropped in double expressions, particularly with
with knife and fork
on land and sea
day after day
with hat and coat
arm in arm
husband and wife
inch by inch
from top to bottom
For cases like the bread and (the) butter, see 178.

3. possessive's

Nouns lose their articles after possessive 's.
the coat that belongs to John= John's coat (NOT }tJhn's ti'te eoot OR ti'te}tJhn's
the economic problems ofAmerica= America's economic problems (NOT the
;4met'iett's ee6ntmtie p1'6blem:s)
But the possessive noun itself may have an article.
the wife of the boss =the boss's wife
page 62articles (10): special rules and exceptions 70

4. noun modifiers

When a noun modifies another noun, the first noun's article is dropped.
lessons in how to play the guitar = guitar lessons
a spot on the sun =a sunspot

5. both and all

We often leave out the after both.
Both (the) children are good at maths.
And we often leave out the between all and a number.
All (the) three brothers were arrested.
We usually leave out the after all in all day, all night, all week, all year,
all winter and all summer.
He's been away all week.
I haven't seen her all day.

6. kind ofetc

We usually leave out a/an after kind of, sort of, type of and similar expressions
(see 551).
What kind of (a) person is she?
Have you got a cheaper sort of radio?
They've developed a new variety of sheep.

7. amount and number

The is dropped after the amount/number of.
I was surprised at the amount of money collected.
The number of unemployed is rising steadily.

8. (NOT ••• tlj.rthe mottey)

man and woman
Unlike other singular countable nouns, man and woman can be used in a
general sense without articles.
Man and woman were created equal.
But we more often use a woman and a man, or men and women.
A woman without a man is lilce a .fish without a bicycle. (old feminist joke)
Men and women have similar abilities and needs.
Man is also commonly used to mean 'the human race', though many people
regard this usage as sexist and prefer to avoid it (see 222.6).
How did Man first discover fire?

9. days, months and seasons

We drop the when we mean 'the day/month before or after this one'.
Where were you last Saturday? See you on Thursday.
We're moving next September.
I was away in April.
To talk about the seasons in general, we can say spring or the spring, summer
or the summer, etc. There is little difference.
I lilce (the) winter best.
Rome is lovely in (the) spring.
When we are talking about particular springs, summers etc, we are more likely
to use the.
I worlced very hard in the summer that year.
page 63articles (10): special rules and exceptions 70

10. musical instruments

We often use the + singular when we talk about musical instruments in
general, or about playing musical instruments.
The violin is really difficult.
Who's that on the piano?
But the is often dropped when talking about jazz or pop, and sometimes when
talking about classical music.
This recording was made with Miles Davis on trumpet.
She studied oboe and saxophone at the Royal Academy of Music.

11. (the) radio. (the) cinema. (the) theatre and television

When we talk about our use of these forms of entertainment, we generally say
the radio, the cinema, the theatre, but television or 1V.
I always listen to the radio while I'm driving.
It was a great treat to go to the cinema or the theatre when I was a child.
What's on 1V?
The is often dropped in all four cases when we talk about these institutions as
art forms or professions.
Cinema is different from theatre in several ways.
He's worked in radio and television all his life.

12. jobs and positions

The is not used in titles like Queen Elizabeth, President Lincoln. Compare:
Queen Elizabeth had dinner with President Kennedy.
The Queen had dinner with the President.
And the is not usually used in the complement of a sentence, when we say that
somebody has or gains a unique position (the only one in the organisation).
- They appointed him Head Librarian. - He was elected President in 1879.
Where's the librarian?
1 want to see the President.

13. exclamations

We use at an with singular countable nouns in exclamations after What.
What a lovely dress! (NOT Ylhat ltwely tit'essn
Note that a/an cannot be used in exclamations with uncountable nouns.
What nonsense! (NOT Ynittt a ntJrtstmse.~
What luck!

14. illnesses

The names of illnesses and pains are usually uncountable, with no article, in
standard British English (for more details, see 148.7).
Have you had appendicitis? I've got toothache again.
AI an is used in a few cases such as a cold, a headache.
I've got a horrible cold.
Have you got a headache?
The can be used informally with a few common illnesses.
I think I've got (the) flu.
She's never had (the) measles.
American usage is different in some cases.
I've got a toothache I an earache I a hac/cache I a stomachache. (BrE I've got
toothache/earache etc)
page 64articles (10): special rules and exceptions 70

15. parts of the body etc

When talking about parts of someone's body, or about their possessions, we
usually use possessives, not the.
Katy broke her arm climbing. (NOT Kal}' bfflke n'ie ai"m elimbing.)
He stood in the doorway, his coat over his arm. (NOT ••• the eaat atJer the
But the is common after prepositions, especially when we are talking about
blows, pains and other things that often happen to parts of people's bodies.
She hit him in the stomach.
He was shot in the leg.
Can't you look me in the eye?

16. measurements

Note the use of the in measuring expressions beginning with by.
Do you sell eggs by the kilo or by the dozen?
He sits watching 7V by the hour.
Can I pay by the month?
A/an is used to relate one measuring unit to another.
sixty pence a kilo
thirty miles an hour
twice a week

17. place names

We use the with these kinds of place names:
• seas (the Atlantic)
• mountain groups (the Himalayas)
• island groups (the West Jndies)
• rivers (the Rhine)
• deserts (the Sahara)
• most hotels (the Grand Hotel)
• most cinemas and theatres (the Odeon; the Playhouse)
• most museums and art galleries (the British Museum; the Frick)
We usually use no article with:
• continents, countries, states, counties, departments etc (Africa, Brazil,
Texas, Berkshire, Westphalia)
• towns (OxfordJ
• streets (New Street, Willow RoadJ
• lakes (Lake Michigan)
Exceptions: places whose name is (or contains) a common noun like republic,
state, union (e.g. the People's Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the
United States).
Note also the Netherlands, and its seat of government The Hague.
The is unusual in the titles of the principal public buildings and organisations
of a town, when the title begins with the town name.
Oxford University (NOT me Oxfortl: llnitJersil}')
Hull Station (NoT the Httll Sttltiatt)
Salisbury Cathedral
Manchester City Council
Birmingham Airport
Cheltenham Football Club
With the names of less important institutions, usage varies.
(The) East Oxford Community Centre.
(The) Newbury School of English.
Names of single mountains vary. Most have no article.
Table Mountain
But definite articles are usually translated in the English versions of European

mountain names, except those beginning Le Mont.
page 65as and though: special word order 71
The Meije (= La Meije)
Mont Blanc
The Matterhorn
Das Matterhorn)
the .'AtJnt Blane)
newspapers and magazines
The names of newspapers usually have the.
The Times
The Washington Post
The names of magazines do not always have the.
New Scientist

19. abbreviated styles

We usually leave out articles in abbreviated styles (see 1).
newspaper headlines
picture captions
notices, posters etc
numbering and
dictionary entries