The nouns of this kind are dawn, daybreak,
morning, noon, midday, afternoon, daytime, sunset, dusk, evening, midnight
and a few others.
They are used without any article when they have the most general meaning
that is when day means the light part of the day not night; night means
the dark part of the day, not day. For example: It was afternoon .It
isn't day she thought. Dawn was far away.
Besides no article is used before these nouns:
· When the adverbs tomorrow or yesterday
or the names of the days stand before them. For example: If I start now
I can be back tomorrow morning. We drove back to New York on Sunday
· After the pronoun ALL. The Absence of
articles is the norm for day and night and the tendency is very strong not
to use them before other nouns of this kind. For example: All day and
all night, all tomorrow. I've expected this all morning. All afternoon I
have thought of this.
· After the prepositions about, after, at,
before, by ,towards, till , until. For example: At sunset
Dorinda walked over a part of the farm with him. By nightfall the rain
began to slacken.
The definite article is used before these nouns:
· In its specifying function ,that is, when the referent of the noun is
definite .For example: And when did you receive a letter?-By the first
post the following morning. The evening was over.
· After the prepositions in, during, through.
For example: I am lonely in the day when I am not working. In the
daytime the kitchen was a cheerful room. But the boy died in the night.
The indefinite article is used before the nouns under the
discussion in its classifying function , commonly when they are modified
by descriptive attributes. For example: It was a beautiful morning.
It's been a long dark night .
But no article is used if the descriptive attributes are
expressed by the adjectives early ,late
,broad, high ,full and if the nouns
have no restrictive attributes. For example: It was late evening .I
like early morning. It was broad daylight when she woke.