Omitting an article

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marcmanner
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Omitting an article

Post by marcmanner » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:25 pm

American English (in case it's different from British in this case):

Which one of the following is correct:

A. Choose apartment type
B. Choose an apartment type

Context: it's a website that allows people to search apartments for rent. The first screen of the website asks users to pick an "apartment type", i.e. "Studio", "1 Bedroom", "2 Bedroom", etc.

I thought that the "Choose an apartment type" is the correct one, but my friend told me the "Choose apartment type" is the correct form and I'm a bit confused, because I see no reason to omit the "an" article.

Please help,
Thank you!

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Joe
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Re: Omitting an article

Post by Joe » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:59 am

"Choose an apartment type" is grammatically correct but "Choose apartment type" is often used in the situation you describe and is perfectly normal (in that context).
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Joe
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Re: Omitting an article

Post by Joe » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:01 am

Posted by marcmanner:

Joe, your answer was very helpful. I'm still wondering:

1. Given that both "Choose apartment type" and "Choose an apartment type" seem to be correct, which one is preferred and sounds more natural - and if it's the second one: why?

2. Is there a more general rule for these kind of article omissions, or is it something that needs to be learned on a case-by-case basis?

In other words, I'm looking for a general rule that'll be able to apply in some other cases to figure out when dropping the "an" or "a" is acceptable or maybe even preferred.

Thanks again,
Marc
"We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood :-| " — Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

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Joe
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Re: Omitting an article

Post by Joe » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:06 am

1. Given that both "Choose apartment type" and "Choose an apartment type" seem to be correct, which one is preferred and sounds more natural - and if it's the second one: why?
For screens and forms on a website space is often limited and it is perfectly natural to drop "structure"/"non-content" words like articles.
2. Is there a more general rule for these kind of article omissions, or is it something that needs to be learned on a case-by-case basis?
I'm not aware of any particular "rule". As indicated above, it's often a question of space. Typically in newspaper headlines, where space is almost always at a premium, non-content words will be dropped, for example:
MP HIT BY CAR
"We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood :-| " — Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

eBooks: English Prepositions List | Essential Business Words | Learn English in Seven

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