At the risk of sounding like a Jerry Seinfeld parody, have you ever wondered why certain articles are used with certain diseases?
To be clear, I am using the grammatical form of “article”, not the newspaper form. For those of you who forgot the parts of a sentence, an article is “used with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun”. (Wikipedia, Article_(grammar)) Yes, I’m talking about the words “a”, “an”, “the”, and sometimes “some”.
Why is it that one person might have “a” cold, another might have “the” flu, and a third might have cancer (no article at all)? Are diseases characterized differently by type as far as the English language is concerned?
I’ll be looking for an answer, but I have none to give today. Do you know?