Principles of Article Use

Helping non-native speakers of English master the use
of definite and indefinite articles

I want to take this course!

Who can take this course?

  • Writers, editors, copyeditors, copywriters, project managers, content writers, Alt-text writers, technical writers, web content writers, bloggers
  • Students thinking of a writing/editing career
  • Teachers who teach English in schools and colleges
  • Writers in sales and marketing, human resources, health care, customer service, education, social work, advertising
  • Journalists, reporters, proofreaders

Course overview

Basic details

  • 12 video lessons (totaling about 7½ hours), accessible 24 × 7 for a period of 2 months
  • Will take about 3 weeks to complete
  • The course explains about 23 principles (with examples) related to the use of indefinite and definite articles
  • It also discusses the basis of idiomatic omissions of the definite article by native speakers of the English language
  • Proceeds to a practical application of the principles in sentences from academic and scholarly manuscripts
  • Concepts and examples presented in The Art of Copyediting courses are simply those culled from the instructor's book on copyediting

Addresses your needs

  • Everyone of you—students, freelancers, and full-time employees—can learn from the convenience of your homes
  • Self-paced study (morning, afternoon, or evening, weekdays, Saturdays, or Sundays, with breaks whenever you want)
  • Replay lessons any number of times till the concepts become clear to you
  • Interaction with participants and instructor in the form of comments; email support also available
  • World-class-training at affordable pricing
  • Can practice principles learned immediately
I want to take this course!

Course instructor

  • Venkataraman Anantharaman, PhD, is the Founder of The Art of Copyediting
  • He has—to quote consulting medical copyeditor Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, ELS—"singlehandedly put together what amounts to an entire university department!"
  • Has 23 years of editorial experience (22 years in-house), first as a copyeditor and later a manager and director of editorial programs
  • Spent almost his entire career training people and evolving his own methods of teaching copyediting over the years
  • Was the only Asian speaker at Editing Goes Global, the first international conference for editors, convened by Editors’ Association of Canada (now Editors Canada), Toronto, June 2015
  • Is writing a book tentatively titled Principles of Copyediting (currently about 312,500 words)
  • Concepts and examples presented in the Art of Copyediting courses are simply those culled from his book

Why this may be important for you!

  • Article use in the English language is often a point of concern among non-native speakers of the language
  • Non-native speakers of the language also tend to insert the definite article the in so many places, which may often seem unnatural or unnecessary to a native speaker
  • Also, the use of the definite article by native speakers is often considered idiomatic—a native speaker may simply omit the article when it may seem logical
  • The almost contrary behaviors of native and non-native speakers add to the charm of the confusion in the minds of the latter
  • The present course puts to rest all these issues by a systematic explanation of the purpose of articles in the English language, principles of their use, and the basis of their omission by native speakers in certain contexts

Benefits of taking this course

You will learn to

  • insert the correct article when required
  • delete the article when unnecessary
  • replace an incorrect article with the correct form
  • use the correct (appropriate) article before abbreviations
  • focus on the pronunciation of words while choosing to use an article
  • grasp the subtle differences between the use and nonuse of articles in A (alone) vs. A of B constructions

Course outline

Some principles you will learn

  • Role of articles (a, an, and the) in the English language and their relation with countable and uncountable nouns
  • Basic principles of article use in English: 7 principles related to the indefinite article and 16 principles related to the definite article
  • Idiomatic omissions of the definite article (7 principles related to it)
  • Insertion of indefinite article
  • Insertion, deletion, and incorrect uses of the definite article
  • Use and omission of definite article in A of B constructions
  • Miscellaneous: borderline situations, article use with abbreviations


Some comments on The Art of Copyediting courses

"I had the opportunity to attend Dr Venkat's Basic Course on Editing and Writing. . . It has been such a wonderful learning experience. I would say this course is not just for beginners, but for all copyeditors—no matter your years of experience. . . I recommend all freelance and in-house copyeditors (entry level, intermediate, experienced), editorial proofreaders, authors, project managers, translators, and writers to take up the Basic Course on Editing and Writing. . . Do not hesitate to make this investment in your career; I am sure this course will give you a fresh perspective on writing and editing and help you reach greater heights in your careers."

Visalakshy Loganathan
Convenor of the First-Ever Conference for Editors in India, Chennai, February 2018

"I find that the writing/editing course offered by Dr Venkataraman Anantharaman . . . bridges a major gap one has to cross ("learning before the job") before venturing on our "learning on the job." This compact and in depth course has two major advantages: It not only helps the learners acquire—and refine—their editing skills, but they're also exposed to the psychology of the writer and the writing process. In terms of editing, the learners are supplied constantly—throughout—with examples and concepts that they may not have understood or even observed earlier, and with immaculate precision and detail. The course clears some "editing myths" through a practical "rule of meaning" approach. So, be ready to understand some important concepts through the "stay hungry, stay foolish" approach. . . There's so much more. . . If you're learning from a Master, you're always much ahead of the others. Dr. Venkat's methodology of "proving that a sentence is wrong before attempting to edit it" is worth knowing simply because of its great practical value for any editor."

Anand Singh
Freelance STM editor

"I attended Dr Venkat’s Basic Course on Writing/Editing (June 2017–January 2018). I have to say the experience was illuminating and humbling: the former because it brought to light errors that are common but usually unrecognized, and the latter because it made me realize that though I am a native English speaker, there were flaws in my grammar. Fortunately, Dr Venkat helped to iron these out. . . Dr Venkat’s delivery in interesting and his passion for the language comes through in each session. He answers questions with precision, clarity and patience. I highly recommend this course as a refresher for all those who have been away from the formal study of English for some time, including those who, like myself, consider themselves pros at the language!"

Neena Thomas

"The classes were so well organized into points and each one discussed in detail; using many examples to elucidate each point made it much easier to comprehend the differences between different scenarios; and connecting a rule to other relevant rules was very effective in helping to grasp certain concepts much better than before. . . I enjoyed each session as sentence structure became clearer. Although I should not play favorites, I loved the session on introductory phrases; the ones on the colon, semicolon, and dashes come next. Of course, I would feel guilty if I do not mention the one on prepositions or the explanation about appositives. But then, each session had something new to be learned."

Chandra Karthik
Freelance STEM copyeditor

Exercise your choice

Take that decision to master this long-pending issue

Article Use in the English Language


Single full payment

Access to all course lessons in sequence

Access to 12 course videos: 24 × 7, for 2 months

Interaction with course participants and instructor via comments; also email support

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