Lee, Jun-Ho. 2002. A Critical Survey of Jespersen's Theory of the Articles. The History of English, 13. In English the indefinite, the definite, and the zero articles are the commonest central determiners and their distribution is dependent upon the class of the accompanying noun. Jespersen's (1949) “theory of stages of familiarity” treats the three articles, following Paul Christophersen's (1939) The Articles. A Study of their Theory and Use in English. According to the definition of familiarity as “knowledge of what item of the class denoted by the word is meant in the case concerned,” complete unfamiliarity, nearly complete familiarity, and complete familiarity are indicated by the indefinite, the definite, and the zero article, respectively. Jespersen's (1949) theory fails to account for the many unresolved issues of the articles, however. In this paper, I propose that the uses of the articles should be treated by the constraints of the combination of the articles with the nouns as well as the familiarity hypothesis, and that the articles should be treated as a grammatical category as well as a semantic category.