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How to Use Articles (a/an/the)
Transcript of How to Use Articles (a/an/the)
By: Caroline Wubben
What is an article?
An article is an adjective that modifies nouns.
the beginning sound of the next word is important.
+ singular noun beginning with a consonant: a cat, a chair
+ singular noun beginning with a vowel: an even, an event
a + singular noun beginning with a consonant sound: a user, a university have a "y" sound.
+ nouns starting with silent "h": an heir, an herb
+ nouns starting with a pronounced "h": a hotel, a house
In some cases where "h" is pronounced, such as "historical," you can use an. However, a is used more often.
we went to a historical event last year.
is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific .
signals that the noun is definite, that it refers to a particular member of a group. For example:
"The man that bought hats walked away." We're talking about a specific man, the man that bought hats.
"I saw the turtle on the sidewalk." We're talking about a specific noun. It is probably the only turtle on the sidewalk.
is used when referring to specific nouns.
is called the definite article.
I want to see the movie.
is used when modifying to non-specific nouns.
is called indefinite article.
I want to see a movie.
can be used with noncount nouns, or the article can be left out.
"I like swimming in the water." (specific)
"I like swimming in water." (non specific)
can only be used with count nouns.
"I want a drink of milk."
"I would like a cup of water."
Count and Noncount Nouns
Do NOT use the before:
Names of most countries/territories: Mexico, Germany
Do use for: the Netherlands, the United States
Names of cities, towns, or states: Albuquerque, Charleston
Names of streets: Montano Rd, Coors Blvd
Names of lakes and bays: Lake Waccamaw, White Lake
Do use if it is a group of lakes: the Great Lakes
Names of mountains: Mount Everest, Mount Fuji
Do use with mountain ranges: the Appalachian mountains or unusual names like the Bald Mountains
Names of continents: America, Antarctica
Names of islands: Saint Thomas, Belize
Do use with island chains: the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands
Do use the before:
Names of rivers, oceans and seas: the Cape Fear River, the Atlantic, the Red Sea
Points on the globe: the Equator, the North Pole
Geographical areas: the South, the Middle East
Deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas: the Sahara, the Gulf of Mexico, the Ardennes Forest, the Rockaway Peninsula
Graphical use of
Names of languages and nationalities: English, Russian
Do use if you are referring to the population of the nation: The French gave our country the Statue of Liberty.
Names of sports: cheer, basketball, baseball
Names of academic subjects: science, mathematics, history
Some common nouns do not take an article
is a definite article
pair of shoes.
book that was assigned.
movie we saw was funny.
We went to
I need pair of shoes.
I read book that was assigned.
I saw kid.
Movie we saw was funny.
We went to movie.