Tuesday, November 26

Media Expressions

In this modern age, we are surrounded by mass media. And we are always so close to experiencing information overload.

Mass media means the programs that are spread widely to the public by transmission.

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Mass media include TV, radio, newspaper, films and the Internet. A blog like “Cool Elf” is also one form of mass media.

Today we’re going to learn some practical expressions to talk about different kinds of media.

1. TV

Should we put the Articlethe” with the word “TV” ?  

Many learners are confused about this. And they should be.

It might look like a small thing because “the” is such a short word, but it has a really big effect. There’s a very big difference between “TV” and “the TV.” Your meaning and situation will become strange if you use the wrong one.

TV(without article) means the different TV shows or programs that you can watch.


I watch TV every night.

I watch the news on TV every night.

On the other hand, “the TV” means the TV set or the machine that you use.

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I will bring the TV to the repair shop. ( = the TV set)

I placed my cup on the TV. ( = on the machine)

Can you please turn on the TV? ( = the machine)

As you can see, you will make a strange meaning if you add “the” when it’s not needed.  


I watch the TV. = X

The sentence above means that you are watching the machine itself, not what is inside the machine. Maybe the TV set is turned off and you are not watching any TV show or program.

But why would you watch the machine? Maybe because you’re worried that somebody will steal it? In any case, this sentence is strange.

Let’s have another example:

I saw my friend on the TV. = X

The sentence above is also wrong because it means that your friend was not inside the TV, not in the TV show or the news.  Instead, your friend was on top of the machine itself.

The next time you use “TV” or “the TV,” please be careful. Don’t mix them up because they have very different meanings.

TV = shows, programs

The TV = machine

2. Radio

Surprisingly, although “TV” and “radio” might seem similar, the grammar rules about them are completely opposite.

When we talk about TV shows, we use the word “TV (no “the”).

But when we talk about radio programs, we should always put “the.”

I always listen to the radio. ( = radio programs)

I listen to the news on the radio.

3. Internet

Radio” and “TV” might be opposite when we use them. But “radio” and “Internet” are not.

Just like with the word “radio,” when we say “Internet,” we should always add “the.”

I like to browse the Internet.

I often surf the Internet.

You can find many useful things on the Internet.

Most likely, this is because there is only one Internet in the whole world (the global interconnected network).

But sometimes if you want to talk about the Internet as a utility like water or electricity, you can omit “the.”


Do you have Internet? ( = Internet connection / access)

But most of the time, like I said, it’s better to say “the Internet.”

Lastly, when you want to talk about the Internet, it’s a good idea to combine the right Verbs with it.

Please practice:

browse + the Internet

surf + the Internet

In fact, you probably realize that Google Chrome, Yahoo, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox are all called “browsers.” Because we use them to “browse” the Internet.

The word “browse” means to look around casually or randomly (without an exact plan). You are not looking for anything in particular.


Location: In the book shop

Sales person: Can I help you?

You: No thanks. I’m just browsing.
( = just looking around)

4. Movie vs. The Movies

The difference between “movie” and “movies” is another big source of confusion for learners. They can’t understand why native speakers sometimes use the Singular form (movie) and sometimes the Plural (movies).

Take a look:

I will watch a movie tonight.

I will go to the movies tonight.

Both sentences above are correct. Can you notice the difference between them?

If you notice the difference between them, you will know how to use “movie” and “movies.”




The answer is the Verb. The Verb is different inside the 2 sentences.

In the first sentence, the Verb is “watch” or “see.” But in the second sentence the Verb is “go.”


watch + a movie

go to + the movies

Why? Why are they different?

This is because when we say “movie,” we mean the film. On the other hand, when we say “the movies,” we mean the place, cinema, or movie theater.

In short,

movie = film

the movies = cinema

Now when you talk about movies, you already know how to make a sentence. Just combine the right Verb to the right form, Singular or Plural.

Please keep in mind:

watch + a movie

go to + the movies

5. The Paper

The word “paper” is usually an Uncountable Noun. This means that:

Can I have a paper? = X

There are many papers on the floor. = X

A student should learn to practice:

Can I have a piece of paper? = Ok

There is a lot of paper on the floor. = Ok

Please remember that “paper” is Uncountable.

But there are a few special cases when the word “paper” becomes Countable. They are:

1. as a document or important file

There are many papers piled up on her desk. = Ok

2. as a newspaper

I read the paper every morning. = Ok

As you can see, you can also use the word “paper” with the meaning of “newspaper.”

In this case, you should add the article “the” because you are talking about one exact brand of newspaper that you read regularly. It could also be a daily activity and you have a subscription.

If you’d like to read more information about the Article the” and how to use it (ex. the lion, the piano), just click: 

Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !

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