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									Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias butt

Jim Giles

Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of accuracy of
science entries, a study of nature.

UPDATE: see details of how the data were collected for additional
information in this article.

UPDATE 2 (March 28, 2006). The results of objection has been made on this
news and its interpretation by the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Nature has
responded to these objections.

One of the most extraordinary stories of the Internet age is the
Wikipedia, free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. This radical
and rapidly growing publication, which includes nearly 4 million entries,
is now a widely used resource.

What is an article? Typically, an article by an adjective. Like
adjectives, articles modify nouns.

English has two voices: one / one. It 'used to refer to specific names or
details, a / an is used to change names no specific or nonspecific. We
call it the definite article and a / an the indefinite article.

The = definite article

at a = indefinite article

For example, if I say, "Let's read the book," I mean a certain book. When
I say, read "Let's book," I mean, every book, rather than a particular

Here's another way to be explained: This is used referring to a specific
or a member of a particular group. For example, "I saw only the most
popular films of the year." There are many films, but only for a
particular film, the most popular. Therefore, use the.

"A / an" is used referring to a non-specific or particular member of the
group. For example: "I want to go to the movies." We are not talking
about a certain film. We hope to talk to each film. There are many movies
and I want to see any movie. I have no specific in mind.

We try all kinds of items a bit 'more closely.
Indefinite Articles: a and a

"A" and "signal" that the noun modified is indefinite, referring to any
member of a group. For example:

    * "My daughter really wants a dog for Christmas." This refers to any
dog. We do not know which dog because we did not find the dog.
    * "Someone call a cop!" This refers to any policeman. We do not need
some police officers, we need every police officer is available.
    * "When I was at the zoo, I saw an elephant!" Here we are talking
about a single, non-specific thing, in this case an elephant. There are
probably several elephants at the zoo, but there is only one we are

Remember, with one or is the sound that begins the next word. So ...

    * A + Singles begins with a consonant: a boy, a car, a bicycle, a
zoo, a dog
    * A + Singles begins with a vowel: an elephant, an egg, an apple, an
idiot, an orphan
    * A + Singles begins with a consonant sound: a user (sounds like
"yoo-destruction", ie starts with a consonant sound "y, so 'in' is used),
a university, a unicycle
    * In some cases, pronounced "h" as "historic" is used:

A historic event is worth recording.

In the publication "a historic event" is used more frequently.

Remember that this rule applies even if you use abbreviations:
Introductory Composition at Purdue (ICAP) handles writing of the first
year of university. Therefore, a note ICAP discusses general issues
concerning English 106 instructors.

Another case where this rule is if acronyms begin with consonants,
vowels, but:
A MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) was used to record data. A plan SPCC
(Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan) will help us prepare
for the worst.

If the noun modified by an adjective, the choice between one and depends
on the initial sound of the adjective that immediately follows this

    * A broken egg
    * An unusual problem
    * A European country (sounds like 'yer-o-pi-a ", ie the consonants
that begin with' y 'sound)

Remember also, that are used in English, the indefinite article to
indicate membership of a group:

    * I am a teacher. (I am a member of a group known as a great
    * Brian is an Irishman. (Brian is a member of the Irish people by
    * Seiko is a practicing Buddhist. (Seiko member of a group of people
known as Buddhists).

Definite article:
The definite article before nouns in the singular and plural noun used if
the specific or particular. The signals that the noun is defined, which
refers to a particular member of a group. For example:

"The dog that bit 'I ran away." Here we are talking about a certain dog,
the dog bit me.

"I was happy to watch the cop saved my cat!" Here we are talking about a
particular policeman. Even if you do not know the name of the policeman,
is still a police officer, especially because the cat is safe.

"I saw the elephant at the zoo." Here we are talking about a specific
name. There are probably only an elephant at the zoo.
Count nouns and Noncount

This can noncount with nouns, or the item may be used to dispense

    * "I love sailing on the water" (water), or "I like to surf on water
(without water).
    * "The milk spilled on the floor (the specific milk, perhaps the milk
you bought earlier in the day) or" He spilled milk on the ground
"(without milk).

"A / an" can only count nouns can be used.

    * "I need a bottle of water."
    * "I need another glass of milk."

Most times, we can not say, "you want a water," unless you mean by that,
for example, a bottle of water.
The current use of

There are some specific rules for the use of geographical available with

Do not use the following procedure:

    * The names of most of the countries / territories: Italy, Mexico,
Bolivia, but in the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, Philippines,
United States
    * The names of cities, towns, countries or states: Seoul, Manitoba,
    * The names of streets: Washington Blvd., Main St.
    * The names of lakes and bays: Lake Titicaca, Lake Erie, if not with
a group of lakes like the Great Lakes region
    * The names of mountains: Mount Everest, Mount Fuji except with
ranges like the Andes or the Rockies or unusual names like the Matterhorn
    * The names of continents (Asia, Europe)
    * The names of islands (Easter Island, Maui, Key West), except with
island chains like the Aleutians, the Hebrides, or the Canary Islands

Use the procedure:
    *   The names of rivers, seas and oceans: the Nile, the Pacific
    *   Points on the globe: the equator, North Pole
    *   Regions: The Middle East, West
    *   Deserts, forests, bays and peninsulas: the Sahara, the Persian
Gulf,   the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula

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