Wrong article / missing article / no article needed. The use of articles is determined by what we refer to in each context. The following table shows the possible choices of articles in different contexts:

Indefinite article

Definite article

No article (ø) + Plural noun/ Singular
uncountable noun

a, an

the

people/ pollution

Wrong: *Hong Kong is the unique place.
Right: Hong Kong is a unique place.
Wrong: *Where is a book?/ *A moon looks beautiful today. / *Moon looks beautiful today.
Right: Where is the book?/ The moon looks beautiful today.
Wrong: *Student need to work very hard if they want to graduate./ *The student needs to work very hard if they want to graduate.
Right: Students need to work very hard if they want to graduate.
Wrong: *The pollution affects people's health.
Right: Pollution affects people's health./ The pollution in Hong Kong affects people's health.

 

In example 1, “the” is necessary because there is only ONE harbour in Hong Kong.
 
Similarly, “the” is needed before the unique “Hong Kong Government” in example 2.
 
In example 3, there is a missing article before “natural coastline”. The adjective “natural” makes the “coastline” a unique concept, and therefore a definite article is needed.
 
In example 4, both “width” and “harbour” lack definite articles, as the “width” is a particularly specified concept and the “harbour” is unique in Hong Kong.
 

 

WRONG
RIGHT

1.

First, the air pollution in __ harbor is
very serious.

First, the air pollution in the harbor is very serious.

2.

__ Hong Kong Government has reclaimed Victoria Habour in order to meet the demand for lands since 1852.

The Hong Kong Government has reclaimed Victoria Habour in order to meet the demand for lands since 1852.

3.

Lastly, reclamation destroys __ natural coastline, and hence leads to a loss of habitats and shallow feeding areas for intertidal creatures.

Lastly, reclamation destroys the natural coastline, and hence leads to a loss of habitats and shallow feeding areas for intertidal creatures.

4.

Moreover, tidal waves are strengthened and spaces for navigation are reduced because of the decrease in __ width of __ harbour.

Moreover, tidal waves are strengthened and spaces for navigation are reduced because of the decrease in the width of the harbour.

 
In example 5, “the” is correct before “land use” because “land use” was mentioned before in the text (as the inclusion of “wrong” implies). “The” is incorrect before “urban development” because “urban development” was not mentioned before. However, “the” before “urban development of Hong Kong” is correct because “the urban development of Hong Kong” is a UNIQUE thing (as opposed to “the urban development of New York”). By modifying a noun phrase with an adjective (i.e. the red car is mine) or with a prepositional phrase (the urban development of Hong Kong), we can make those concepts UNIQUE.
 
In example 6, the definite article “the” cannot be used to refer to “barrier fencing”, which was not mentioned before. “Barrier fencing” here is referred to in general terms. However, “the” before “Avenue of Stars” is correct as the Avenue of Stars is a unique reference.
 
In example 7, there is a redundant article before the indefinite pronoun “every”.
 
In example 8, “financial centres” are not particularly specified, so the definite article is wrong. Since indefinite articles are not required for plural nouns, the article before “financial centres” should be omitted.
 
In example 9, the article “the” in “express the opposition” is wrong because the opposition has not been mentioned before. “Express opposition” is a fixed phrase meaning “oppose”.
  

 

WRONG
RIGHT

5.

Second, the wrong land use is the biggest problem of the urban development.

Second, the wrong land use is the biggest problem of the urban development of Hong Kong.Second, the wrong land use is the biggest problem of ø urban development.
6.

There is only a narrow pathway for pedestrians along the harbour, called the Avenue of Stars and it is dominated by transport infrastructure, such as the barrier fencing and expressways.

There is only a narrow pathway for pedestrians along the harbour, called the Avenue of Stars and it is dominated by transport infrastructure, such as ø barrier fencing and expressways.

7.

Despite the fact that it is just a small area, there are still lots of visitors on the every single day.

Despite the fact that it is just a small area, there are still lots of visitors on ø every single day.

8.

In spite of the Singapore River being lined with luxury buildings as well as the financial centres,
riverine life has been restored to a large extent.

In spite of the Singapore River being lined with luxury buildings as well as ø financial centres, riverine
life has been restored to a large extent.

9.

Last but not least, the pollution problem that is
induced by reclamation is the most critical reason for the majority of people who express the opposition to
the plan.

Last but not least, the pollution problem that is
induced by reclamation is the most critical reason for the majority of people who express
ø opposition
to the plan.

Last but not least, the pollution problem that is induced by reclamation is the most critical reason for the majority of people who oppose to the plan.

 
In example 10, an article is needed before “unique public asset”. Since “unique public asset” is not particularly specified, an indefinite article (i.e. “a”) should be used because there can be more than one type of public asset.
 
In example 11, definite articles are wrongly used before unspecified nouns (i.e. “key asset” and “vital component”) because there can be more than one type of key asset and vital component. Indefinite articles should be used here instead.
 
In example 12, articles are missing before “sewage treatment plant” and “storage tunnel”. Since both nouns were not mentioned before, we have two alternatives: (i.) we can use indefinite articles (i.e. “a sewage treatment plant”, “a storage tunnel”) or (ii.) use plural nouns (i.e. “sewage treatment plants”, “storage tunnels”).
 
In example 13, “similar approach” was not mentioned before, so an indefinite article should be used instead of the definite article.
 

 

WRONG
RIGHT

10.

Improving urban design around the Hong Kong harbour is crucial because Victoria Harbour is __ unique public asset and natural heritage of Hong Kong.

Improving urban design around the Hong Kong harbour is crucial because Victoria Harbour is a unique public asset and natural heritage of Hong Kong.

11.

Although we no longer rely on the harbour for trading goods, Victoria Harbour is still the key asset for every Hong Kong citizen.  It represents Hong Kong and is the vital component which defines Hong Kong‘s image and lifestyle.

Although we no longer rely on the harbour for trading goods, Victoria Harbour is still a key asset for every Hong Kong citizen. It represents Hong Kong and is a vital component which defines Hong Kong’s image and lifestyle.

12.

The Australian government has minimized the adverse effect of water pollution through different ways, for example measures to avoid soil erosion and siltation during construction and building __sewage treatment plant and __ storage tunnel near the harbour.

The Australian government has minimized the adverse effect of water pollution through different ways, for example measures to avoid soil erosion and siltation during construction and building a sewage treatment plant and a storage tunnel near the harbour.

13.

Other harbor cities have the similar approach, for instance Vancouver.

Other harbor cities have a similar approach, for instance Vancouver.

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