Fill in the blanks with the most appropriate words. What_______ terrible news? A) a B) an C) the D) No article
Hint: Articles are words that determine whether a noun is specific or unspecific. Articles are of 2 types- Definite and Indefinite. Definite article refers to a noun that is of one particular thing. ‘The’ is a definite article and it can be used with singular, plural, and uncountable nouns. Indefinite article tells that a noun refers to a general idea rather than a specific thing. 'A' and 'an' are indefinite articles.
Complete answer: We use the article ‘a’ when it precedes a word that begins with a consonant, while the article ‘an’ is used when it precedes a word starting with a vowel. Now let us look into the explanation of the given options: Option A) A - It is an indefinite article which is used before nouns beginning with a consonant. For example, you might ask your friend, “ Please hand me a pen.” Your friend will understand that you are not asking about a specific type of pen. Also the word ‘pen’ starts with ‘p’ a consonant. Hence, this option is wrong. Option B) An - It is also an indefinite article but it is used before words beginning with vowels. For e.g. “Please hand me an envelope” Thus, this option is also incorrect. Option C) The - It is a definite article and is used when we want to refer to a specific noun. For example, your colleague might ask, “Are you coming to the party this weekend?” The definite article ‘THE’ indicates that your colleague is referring to a specific party at the weekend.
In English, the word “news” is considered as uncountable. ‘A’ or ‘an’ are never used with uncountable nouns. ‘The’ is also not the correct answer, as we are not talking about some specific news. Hence, in the question given no article will be used and the complete answer would be “What terrible news?”
Thus, the correct answer is Option ‘D’.
Note: How to talk about more than one piece of news, if the word ‘news’ is singular and uncountable? Well, one possibility is to use the word ‘piece’ or ‘bit’ – for example, “I have two pieces/bits of bad news for you” if someone wants to talk about three distinct topics.
We could also say “items of news” or sometimes “news stories” – the term news stories is frequently used when referring to news we watch on TV or read articles about.
Finally, never say “many news” , as the word “many” can never be used with uncountable nouns. Instead, we can use “much” or “a lot of / lots of”. For example, “I could not gather much news about the event” or “She always has lots of news to share with me.”