Friday, January 08, 2021

Book Review: Three Little Words

This is my review for the book "Three Little Words: A, An, The" by Alan S. Brender [1]. Judging if a word needs an article and what is the appropriate article for that word is troublesome work. This book consists of 52 steps to identify if a word or a phrase needs an article: a, an, or the.

To summary these 52 steps, I made the following chart. Feel free to download the pdf version here.

Notice the color. Blue fonts are for "The" article, greens are for "a" or "an", and reds are for omitting articles. Teal for "yes" line, magenta for "no" line. Feel free to comment if there is any mistake.

To simplify the steps, I skip the first to the third steps. These steps are:
Step #1: Identify whether a word is a noun or a phrase is a noun phrase
Step #2: Determine whether the nouns are common or proper nouns. A proper noun is the name of something.
Step #3: Decide whether the nouns are singular or plural.

Then, we can follow the step #4 to #52 in the above chart.

As a comparison, we can also find a suitable article for a particular noun/noun phrase from the writer's point of view as below [2].

[1] Alan S. Brender, "Three little words: A, An, The", 1989.

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