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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Could you refresh my memory?    

Could you refresh my memory?


Could you refresh my memory?
When we list things in a sentence like There is a piano, a table, a chair and a sofa in the living room, do we use an indefinite article before each noun or is it used only before the first one in the list and then omitted? 
I īd appreciate your reply (I know it īs Sunday... it īs just a favour I need for a friend. Somehow this rule slips my mind now)

20 Feb 2011      


No rule at hand, but, yes, I would use the article.


20 Feb 2011     


I agree with Regina.

20 Feb 2011     


I think that you can use the indefinite article before each singular word. As you wrote:
There is a piano, a table, a chair and a sofa in the living room.
The sentence you wrote is entirely correct.

20 Feb 2011     


I īm quite positive that you have to use the article. Hope it helps!

20 Feb 2011     

United States

I īd use the article unless there were more than one table.

There is a piano, two tables, a chair and a sofa in the living room - no article in plural unless you use a couple of tables.

20 Feb 2011     

Bruna Dutra

Actually, I believe the rule is that any countable singular noun must have an article or pronoun.
There are few exceptions, such as newspaper headlines, but in common writing, it would sound weird not to define the noun somehow (e.g. this table, a table, my table, etc.).

20 Feb 2011     


Thanks to all of you, dear friends, for taking a minute and answering my post.
The thing is that the friend of mine who is a teacher as well, was pointed out by yet another teacher that there īs a grammar rule which actually allows to use the indefinite article before the first noun on the list and then omit it with the rest. So I īve been searching the net but to no avail. Knowing that there could be a difference between BrE and AmE (I speak mainly AmE) I was hoping that someone could point out some grammar reference for me to consult. So, if you know of one, could you, please, mention it to me?

20 Feb 2011     

alien boy

Hi Sophia,
sorry it īs taken so long to reply....
in abbreviated styles (& this includes lists) it is common to leave out articles. As commas are often used to separate items in a list then you could leave the articles out & be correct, according to Swann īs Practical Guide to English Usage at any rate.

21 Feb 2011