Hi everybody! How is it going? This week we´re going to talk about articles, a matter that confuses many people. When do you have to use ‘a’ or ‘an’? How about ‘the’? And what happens when you don´t need an article? This topic seems to be easy, but it´s certainly ‘food for thought’. If you want to know some pieces of advice about articles, go on and read this post.
What´s an article? An article is a word that defines a noun as specific or unspecific. English has two types of articles: definite and indefinite. Let´s see the differences between them.
It´s the definite article, so it limits the meaning of a noun. It can be used with singular, plural or uncountable nouns.
You use it when…
- You talk about something you´ve already mentioned. E.g. I saw an old man with a dog, and the dog was barking.
- There is only one of something. E.g. The moon goes round the sun.
- It´s clear what you´re referring to. E.g. He opened the window.
- With places in a town. E.g. I´m going to the theatre /cinema.
- With superlatives. E.g. It´s the best restaurant in town.
Note: You don´t use the…
- Before next/last + days, week… E.g. See you next Monday. (But you can say ‘the next time’).
- Before meals, days and months. E.g. I never have breakfast on Sunday.
- When you are speaking in general (with plural and uncountable nouns). E.g. Women talk more than men. / Love is more important than money.
- With some nouns (e.g. work, school, home, church) after at / to /from. E.g. She is not at home today. I get back from work at 7.00.
The two forms are indefinite articles. You use the word ‘a’ when it precedes a word thar begins with a consonant. You use the word ‘an’ when it precedes a word that begins with a vowel. Both of them indicate that a noun refers to a general idea rather than a particular thing.
You use a /an…
- The first time you mention a thing / person. E.g. I saw an old woman with a cat.
- When you say what something does. E.g. She´s a doctor.
- When you say what something is. E.g. It´s a beautiful garden.
- In exclamations with What…! E.g. What a nice day! / What an awful day!
- In expressions like… ‘twice a month’, ‘three times a week’.
-There are a few exceptions to the general rule of using a before words that start with consonants and an before words that begin with vowels. It depends on the sound, in spite of the spelling. For example: honest, honor…
-When you use an adjective, the usual word order is article + adjective + noun. In this case, you have to choose a or an based on the adjective. E.g. ‘an interesting book’, ‘a nice house’.
Have you understood everything? Let´s see… Try to do the following excercises:
1.Complete with a /an / the, or – (no article)
-We walked to ____ city centre but we got _____ taxi back to ______hotel.
-She always wears _____ expensive clothes and drives ______ expensive car.
-Paul´s ________musician and ______ artist.
-Do you like _______sport? It depends. I love______swimming but I hate _________football. I believe footballers earn too much money.
-We go to _____ theatre about once _______month.
-______men aren´t normally as sensitive as _________women.
-Did you lock ____door when you left _____house?
-My brother is married to ______ Italian. She´s ______lawyer.
-Can you give me _____lift to ______station?
And that´s all for today.
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