In this post we are going to learn how to use Articles in English.
The indefinite articles A and AN are used for singular countable nouns (not specific). Both A and AN have the same meaning. The difference depends on the sound at the beginning of the next word.
When the next word starts with a consonant sound, use A:
When the next word starts with a vowel sound, use AN:
* Be careful! The SOUND of the letter is important:
a house BUT an hour (the H at the beginning of hour is silent).
an uncle BUT a university (the U at the beginning of university sounds like YOU).
You can also use articles before adjectives:
a cold day
a very crazy person
an easy lesson
an interesting class
The definite article THE is used for singular and plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns (specific).
Let’s go to the new shopping center. (a specific shopping center)
Where are the books I ordered? (some specific books)
I gave you the money to pay for it yesterday. (an specific amount of money)
* Special Rules
Places: seas (the Atlantic), rivers (the Amazon), groups of lakes (the Great Lakes), canals and channels (the Panama Canal), waterfalls (the Niagara Falls), deserts (the Sahara Desert), poles (the North Pole), gulfs (the gulf of Mexico), areas (the Antarctic), unions of countries and states (the USA, the EU), republics (the Czech Republic), groups of islands (the Bahamas), groups of mountains (The Rocky Mountains), points of compass (the North), public buildings (the theater), the Earth, the world, the sky, the moon, the sun, the sea, the environment.
Activities: have a job, work as a (profession), on the radio, the media, play the piano.
Time: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, on March 20th, in the 1980’s.
People: the King, the Prime Minister, the army, the navy, the police, the Germans, the English.
We do not use articles to talk about general plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns:
Prices have gone up a lot recently. (prices in general)
Fresh fruit is really good for you. (fresh fruit in general)
* Special Rules
Places: towns and cities (Toronto), most countries (Canada), continents (Africa), streets (Wall street), planets (Venus).
Activities: go to work, on TV, go shopping, play tennis, listen to music, go to school, school subjects (history).
Time: days (Tuesday), months (May), years (2021), at night.
People: become king, he’s English, speak English (language).