1. We use the indefinite article, a/an, with count nouns when the hearer/reader does not know exactly which one we are referring to:

Police are searching for a 14 year-old girl.

2. We also use it to show the person or thing is one of a group:

She is a pupil at London Road School.

 

Police have been searching for a 14 year-old girl who has been missing since Friday.

Jenny Brown, a pupil at London Road School, is described as 1.6 metres tall with short blonde hair.

She was last seen wearing a blue jacket, a blue and white blouse and dark blue jeans and blue shoes. 

Anyone who has information should contact the local police on 0800349781.


3. We do not use an indefinite article with plural nouns and uncount nouns:

She was wearing blue shoes. (= plural noun)
She has short blonde hair. (= uncount noun)

 

Police have been searching for a 14 year-old girl who has been missing since Friday.

Jenny Brown, a pupil at London Road School, is described as 1.6 metres tall with short blonde hair.

She was last seen wearing a blue jacket, a blue and white blouse and dark blue jeans and blue shoes

Anyone who has information should contact the local police on 0800349781.

 


4. We use a/an to say what someone is or what job they do:

My brother is a doctor.
George is a student.

5. We use a/an with a singular noun to say something about all things of that kind:

A man needs friends. (= All men need friends)
A dog likes to eat meat. (= All dogs like to eat meat)

 Exercise

Section: 

Comments

could you please advise me if any of the sentence below is incorrect?

1. The Apple is good for health
2. Apples are good for health
3. An Apple is good for health
4. An Apple a day is good for health

Hello Mohan007,

I'm not sure if you're just looking for a way to say this or are trying to understand some grammar. In any case, my first choice to express this idea is the traditional saying 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away', but you could also say 'Apples are a healthy food' or 'Apples have many health benefits'.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

1. The Apple is good for health (To mean, in general apple is good for health)
2. Apples are good for health (To mean, in general apple is good for health)
3. An Apple is good for health (I think it's wrong way of generalizing apple)
4. An Apple a day is good for health (To mean, one apple per day is good. Basically to convey the quantity)

Is my above understanding correct?

Hello Mohan007,

In general you are correct, though I think 'your health' would be better in each sentence. Sentence 3, as you say, is not a natural way to generalise in this case, and sentence four is not so specific - it does not really tell you the quantity specifically, but rather suggests that you will receive a benefit from one apple, not that two or three is not good, or even better.

I wrote quite a long answer on this topic for another user, describing the different ways we use articles to generalise (zero article, indefinite article and definite article for general meaning. You can find that answer here and I think it will help to clarify the ways in which we use these forms.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Sorry for being unclear on the purpose of the comments and thanks for the quick response. I am learning English grammar and needed review from Articles point of view. Any of them are wrong in those 4 sentences?

could you please advise me what's wrong with this sentence?
• I don’t like English grammar, but like English in a group and in my family.

Hello kiki12,

It's hard to say without knowing the context in which the sentence appears but I would suggest that there should be a word after 'like' such as 'speaking' or 'using':

I don’t like English grammar, but like speaking/using/listening to/practising English in a group and in my family.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

are this sentence correct ?

i drinks cup of coffee every day

Hello Abdulrahman,

This sentence should be 'I drink a cup of coffee every day'. Some kind of article is needed before singular count nouns (like 'cup') and the present simple doesn't end in 's' for the first person ('I'). Keep trying!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

It seems the correct answer for 1) is "All things of that kind" but this is referred to "a woman"; sounds weird.

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