the Indefinite and Definite Article with Inventions & Product Names


Rule 6.5: Use the definite article when generalizing about an invention or the name of a manufactured product.


The light bulb eliminated the need for candles. (not one light bulb, light bulbs in general)
Life has not been the same since Apple released the iPhone. (not one iPhone, iPhones as a manufactured product)


Exercise 8: Fill in the blanks with the or Ø.


Rule 6.6: Use the indefinite article a, an, or the definite article the when it is possible to generalize about an invention ; or the name of a manufactured product, as an entire group or by each individual case.


The bow and arrow allows you to hit a target from a far distance. (bows and arrows as an entire group)
A bow and arrow allows you to hit a target from a far distance. (each and every bow and arrow)

The LG Infinia TV can be hung on a wall. (LG Infinias as an entire group)
An LG Infinia TV can be hung on a wall. (each and every LG Infinia)


Exercise 9: Fill in the blanks with a, an, and/or the. Some problems require more than 1 blank to be filled.


Exception to Rule 6.6: Be aware that there are cases when it possible to generalize about an invention; or name of a manufactured product, as an entire group, but not by each individual case.


Correct: Nobody knows who invented the wheel. (the wheel as a general invention)
Incorrect: Nobody knows who invented a wheel. (one individual wheel, which wheel, where is it now?)

Correct: The Atari 2600 changed the way people looked at video games. (the Atari 2600 as a general manufactured product)
Incorrect: An Atari 2600 changed the way people looked at video games. (one individual Atari 2600 could not have had such a large impact on society)


a

Exercise 10: Fill in the blanks with a, an, and/or the. More than one blank can be filled in some cases.

inventions and product names