Chicago Style Workout 47:
Fun with Articles

A, An, and The

How definite is your knowledge of articles? Find out by taking this month’s quiz, which will test your knowledge of paragraphs 5.70–78 of CMOS 17, on articles, a small but essential trio of adjectives. (We’ll also be taking a brief detour into chapter 8 and titles of works.)

In a future quiz we’ll plan on covering adjectives more generally, as our quizzes continue to draw on the grammar chapter (chapter 5).

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual (cited in the answers). (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Note: Style guides and dictionaries sometimes disagree. This quiz is designed to test your knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

[Editors’ note: Chapter 5 of CMOS is quite large, comprising 248 numbered sections on grammar and syntax, plus another hefty chunk on usage. For the sake of variety, workouts will revisit the chapter periodically rather than continuously.]

Chicago Style Workout 47: Fun with Articles

1. An article __________ or __________ the noun or noun phrase that it precedes.
2. The definite article the may be used before either a singular or a plural noun: the bean, the beans.
3. An indefinite article (a or an) generally precedes a singular or noncount noun but not a plural noun: a bean, a hill of beans, but not a beans.
4. Before an initialism, the choice of a or an depends on how the first letter would be pronounced if it were spelled out: a NAACP decision (because N = “National”).
5. With two or more coordinate nouns, an article should appear before each noun: the horse and the rider, not the horse and rider.
6. An article that is implied but omitted (go to bed) is called a
7. An article may sometimes substitute for a pronoun: the patient developed a rash on the hands (rather than, for example, her hands).
8. When the official name of an organization or group begins with a definite article, the article is usually lowercase in the middle of a sentence: They visited the University of Wisconsin in 1971 but somehow managed to miss the concert by the Grateful Dead.
9. A The at the beginning of a book title is lowercase in running text (except at the beginning of a sentence) and appears in regular text rather than italics: “We were assigned the Invisible Man by H. G. Wells.”
10. A The at the beginning of the title of a newspaper is always capitalized in running text: “We read about it in The Detroit Free Press.”


Top image: (left) theatrical release poster for The Invisible Man (Universal, 1933), based on the H. G. Wells novel of the same title (1897); (right) original dust jacket for Invisible Man (Random House, 1952), by Ralph Ellison. Both images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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