General Writing and Grammar Help/Articles


QUESTION: Correct?
The door of a room
A door of a room
A door of them room
I don't know how I should contect words with "of" to show positions. Is it always necessary to use "the"before and after "of"?clear it up using some examples.

ANSWER: A. The door of a room
B. A door of a room
C. A door of them room

(I've inserted the leading letters to save me a bit of time.)

C is wrong, because them cannot be used as an adjective.

A is correct if and only if the room has just one door. The definite article is required when the noun represents exactly one of the indicated category.

B is correct if and only if there is more then one door, or no doors.

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I'm afraid I don't follow your remaining question. Ask me a question with the examples, and I'll do my best to answer.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Which one is correct?
1.You can do it with the use of a staple.
2.You can do it with use of staple.
3.You can do it with use of the staple.

(This is a correction of my previous answer.)

A. You can do it with the use of a staple.
B. You can do it with use of staple.
C. You can do it with use of the staple.

Dan, It will save me a bit of time in the future if you'll follow my example and distinguish your selections by capital letters instead of numbers.

Your question goes to the use of the definite article (the) and the indefinite article (a or an ).

A is correct.

B is incorrect, because a noun representing a single material object must be preceded by an article.

C is incorrect. As you're talking about any staple--not a particular staple--you must use the indefinite article. With use of is not incorrect but here is not idiomatic; precede use with the.  

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Richard Johnson


I specialize in grammar. I can however answer any question except homework questions--usually the same day--concerning English grammar, usage, or (non-fiction) writing style, on the basis of the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely largely on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style supplemented, where appropriate, by Long, The New College Grammar.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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