IELTS NOTE: death of a lamp

Missing articles will be categorized as a minor error in the IELTS Writing Test. Articles are any of a small set of words or affixes (such as a, an, and the) used with nouns to limit or give definiteness to the application (Merriam-Webster). Here is a resume of our Writing Class learned on how to use an article:

A — indefinite article — singular
An — indefinite article — countable noun
The — definite article — all noun
No/zero articleuncountable or plural countable noun


  1. An apple is a fruit
  2. Water is the source of life
  3. Books are the source of knowledge

So, when it coming to how to use an article, we should determine the followed noun is countable or uncountable. Here are another examples of exception (of English is an irregular language).

  • Uncountable (U): fish – referring to food as a substance
  • Countable (C): fish or fishes – when it referred to animal

If you said I ate fish at my last dinner you will probably be categorized as a barbarian man because you were eating a living fish! Put ‘some’ before fish will make you a civilized man (again).

Bone is a countable noun if we talk about the animal skeleton and an uncountable noun as a frame of the building.

Provided we are confusing to determine a word belong to countable or uncountable nouns, we can use some alternatives, such as

Mail (U) – Message (C)
Music (U) – Song (C)
Equipment (U) – Tool (C)

Interestingly, email, a sub-brand of mail,  is categorized as a countable noun. In the past, we could not able to count the mail, letters and packages conveyed by the postal system, but it is different today. Our computer or the Internet count the email for us.


Hotel Illustration

We also relearn our tenses knowledge today. I can not write my notes down here since probably you are familiar with the present, past, and future tenses. The highlight is it said that in the term of English education, we are allowed to let the children make mistakes in producing English then slowly we teach them on how to use tenses. That is also becoming a great topic of discussion when it coming to linguistic and grammarian. Pak Adi, the Structure Class tutor, the told us a story occurred in a hotel in Mecca.

Indonesian Visitor (IV): Please, innalillahi that lamp
Hotel Clerk (HC): What..? ماذا
IV: the lamp (pointing a lamp), innalillahi! Death the lamp!
HC: ما …ما… (thinking hard and hard for 5 minutes)… oh, switch off the lamp

In grammarian view, that visitor made a fatal mistake by using incorrect language way. However, a linguistic will say it is ok as long as both speakers understand the speech.

The class ended with a class visit to bu Susana who recently got an accident. We pray you to return to full health soon.



  1. Provided is similar to ‘if’. We can easily use it to replace ‘if’ without changing the sentence structure.
  2. Use ‘the Internet’, with the and capitalized I, for your sentence.
  3.  I think that the hotel story is a fiction story.


1 Comment

  1. stevalia


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