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How to Use Articles (a/an/the)

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caroline long

on 17 September 2013

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Transcript of How to Use Articles (a/an/the)

How to Use Articles (a/an/the)
By: Caroline Wubben

What is an article?
An article is an adjective that modifies nouns.
When using
a
or
an
the beginning sound of the next word is important.
a
+ singular noun beginning with a consonant: a cat, a chair
an
+ 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.

an
+ nouns starting with silent "h": an heir, an herb
a
+ 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.
The
is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific .
The
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.
Two Articles
The
is used when referring to specific nouns.

The
is called the definite article.
I want to see the movie.
A/an
is used when modifying to non-specific nouns.
A/an
is called indefinite article.
I want to see a movie.
The
and
a/an
The
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)

A/an
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
the
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
The
is a definite article
I need
a
pair of shoes.
I read
the
book that was assigned.
I saw
a
kid.
The
movie we saw was funny.
We went to
a
movie.
I need pair of shoes.
I read book that was assigned.
I saw kid.
Movie we saw was funny.
We went to movie.
Full transcript