Sunday, November 22, 2009


A / AN
*Use 'a' with nouns starting with a consonant (letters that are not vowels),
'an' with nouns starting with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u)
A boy
An apple
A car
An orange
A house
An opera

NOTE: An before an h mute - an hour, an honour.
A before u and eu when they sound like 'you': a european, a university, a unit

The indefinite article is used:
* to refer to something for the first time:
Eg: An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
Would you like a drink?
I've finally got a good job.
*to refer to a particular member of a group or class
-with names of jobs:
John is a doctor. Mary is training to be an engineer. He wants to be a dancer.

-with nationalities and religions:
John is an Englishman.
Kate is a Catholic.


'The' is used:
1. to refer to something which has already been mentioned.
Example: An elephant and a mouse fell in love.The mouse loved the elephant's long trunk,and the elephant loved the mouse's tiny nose.

2. when both the speaker and listener know what is being talked about, even if it has not been mentioned before.
Example: 'Where's the bathroom?''It's on the first floor.'

3. in sentences or clauses where we define or identify a particular person or object:
Examples: The man who wrote this book is famous.
'Which car did you scratch?' 'The red one.
My house is the one with a blue door.'

4. to refer to objects we regard as unique:
Examples: the sun, the moon, the world

5. before superlatives and ordinal numbers:
Examples: the highest building, the first page, the last chapter.

6. with adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people:
Examples: the Japanese, the old

7. with names of geographical areas and oceans:
Examples: the Caribbean, the Sahara, the Atlantic

8. with decades, or groups of years:
Example: she grew up in the 70s

9- with country names with "united, republic, kingdom"
Example: "The United States of America, The Republic of China, The United Kingdom"

There is NO article:
1-with names of countries (if singular)

Germany is an important economic power.
He's just returned from Zimbabwe.(But: I'm visiting the United States next week.)

2-with the names of languages
French is spoken in Tahiti.
English uses many words of Latin origin.
Indonesian is a relatively new language.

3-with the names of meals.
Lunch is at midday.
Dinner is in the evening.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day.

4-with people's names (if singular):
John's coming to the party.
George King is my uncle.(But: we're having lunch with the Morgans tomorrow.)

5-with titles and names:
Prince Charles is Queen Elizabeth's son.
President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
Dr. Watson was Sherlock Holmes' friend.(But: the Queen of England, the Pope.)

6-After the 's possessive case:
His brother's car.
Peter's house.

7-with professions:
Engineering is a useful career.
He'll probably go into medicine.

8-with names of shops:
I'll get the card at Smith's.
Can you go to Boots for me?

9-with years:
1948 was a wonderful year.
Do you remember 1995?

10-With uncountable nouns:
Rice is the main food in Asia.
Milk is often added to tea in England.
War is destructive.

11-with the names of individual mountains, lakes and islands:
Mount Erciyes is the highest mountain in Turkey.
She lives near Lake Windermere.
Have you visited Long Island?

12-with most names of towns, streets, stations and airports:
Victoria Station is in the centre of London.
Can you direct me to Bond Street?
She lives in Florence.
They're flying from Heathrow.

13-in some fixed expressions, for example:
by car by train by air on foot on holiday on air (in broadcasting)
at school at work at University in church in prison in bed


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