John’s English Blog

I’m John, an English language teacher. Welcome to my blog.

Definite and indefinite articles

Articles, using both, all, kind of, sort of, type of, binomials and possessives.


This is the eleventh in a series of blog posts about articles. I recommend you read the previous blog posts in this series before you read this one. In the previous article we looked at using the with places, institutions, media and transport. In this blog post we’ll look at using articles with both, all, kind of, sort of, type of, binomials and possessives.

both and all

We often leave out the after both.

  • We considered both proposals, but we could only choose one.
  • Both cakes are delicious.
  • Both sisters were uncomfortable enough.” Pride and Prejudice.
  • “And they pinched it on both sides at once.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
  • Can I have both deserts?

We often leave out the between all and a number.

  • All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
  • “I wouldn’t do that — not for all the tea in China.”
  • “I’ll run all the way, sir!” Oliver Twist.
  • The Baltic states are Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. All three countries are members of the European Union.
  • AWD provides power to all four wheels.
  • Some weeks he worked all seven days.

We often leave out the after all for day, night, week, month, year, spring, summer, autumn, winter etc.

  • You fidget all the time. Can’t you stop?
  • “Are you going to sit snoring there, all day?” Oliver Twist.
  • “Come on and sing my song. All night long.”
  • Riding all year round is good training.
  • Bears sleep all winter to save energy.
  • Don’t spend all summer in front of the TV.

kind of, sort of, type of

We often leave out a/an after kind of, sort of, type of etc.

  • What kind of cake is the best? Chocolate!
  • It was the perfect type of car for a mid-life crisis.
  • That sort of food will give you stomach ache.
  • It’s a new type of diet. You can eat anything you want.
  • He’s not that sort of lawyer. You can trust him.
  • We’ve created a new variety of rose. It’s blue.

binomial expressions

We often leave out articles from binomial expressions especially with a preposition.

  • He loved DIY. He went at it hammer and tongs.
  • You’ll learn to use articles step by step.
  • I’ll meet the deadline by hook or by crook.
  • Every relationship has ups and downs.
  • You’re making progress in leaps and bounds.
  • I really need peace and quiet when I’m working.


We leave out articles after a possessive.

  • The lions of the Serengeti live in groups called prides.
  • Serengeti lions live in groups called prides.
  • The policies of the government don’t make sense.
  • The government’s policies don’t make sense.
  • This is the husband of the director.
  • This is the director’s husband.
  • The guest complained to the manager of the hotel.
  • The guest complained to the hotel manager.
  • They pitched their tent in the corner of the field.
  • They pitched their tent the field’s corner.


Back to the article

  1. A guest stole the rabbit’s carrots.
  2. He put the host’s the cakes on the table.
  3. You have to set the bicycle the seat to the right height.
  4. He set the cakes on the table.
  5. The rabbit is eating all four carrots.
  6. A guest stole the carrots of the rabbit.
  7. He put all the cakes on the table.
  8. She ate the chocolate cake the piece by the piece.
  9. The rabbit is eating the carrots.
  10. He put the cakes from the host on the table.
  11. Nothing wins the hearts and the minds like chocolate cake.
  12. He’s following the recipe the step by the step.
  13. The rabbit is eating both carrots.
  14. The rabbit is eating all the carrots.
  15. He plonked all three cakes on the table.
  16. You have to set the seat of the bicycle to the right height.
  17. He placed both cakes on the table.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any comments, questions or corrections please write them below.

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