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Art Scene 1 Language Focus

Rob and Ashlie talk about the little words which cause so much trouble: articles!

Watch the video. Then go to Task and do the activities.

Task 1

Use a, an, or 0 (no article) to complete the sentences.


Task 2

Use the definite (the) or indefinite article (a) to finish the sentences.


Task 3

Match the questions with the answers using I guess.



Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


Hi wangyao,

You are right -- 'a' has two pronunciations, a strong one (/eɪ/) and a weak one (/ə/). I'm not sure what dictionary you used, but I'd recommend the Cambridge Dictionary as a good general reference.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Team,

I will be grateful if you could clear my doubts on Articles as follows:

Text: This month is Black History month, celebrating the contribution that Afro Caribbean people have made to British society
Question: Why not " the British Society" . Isn't it a one of a particular thing as a whole?

Text: The Irish have come to Britain for many years, looking for work. After World War Two Irish and other European workers were encouraged to take factory jobs
Question: Why "the" before the first Irish and no article for the second Irish. Isn't Irish a general term?. Why not "the World War Two" . Don't we use when there is only one thing of that kind exist, such as " the Sun"

Hello Donald Harrison,

'Society' has no article when it refers to the abstract concept of society, with a meaning similar to culture. We use an article with it when we are referring not to the abstract concept but to a particular organisation: I'm a member of a music society, I keep my money in the local builing society.


In your second example the word 'Irish' is used in different ways:

  • The Irish have... - here 'Irish' is a collective noun and we use the definite article before such nouns: the old, the young, the rich, the English, the Victorians.
  • Irish and other workers were encouraged... - here 'Irish' is an adjective describing the noun 'workers'.


'World War Two' is treated as a proper name. Where a descriptive name is used there is an article, so we say World War Two (no article) but the Second World War, the Vietnam War and the Battle of Trafalgar.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,

Thank you for the comprehensive explanation. It is much appreciated. Now I can see other aspects of grammar that should be considered when learning the usage of articles.

Donald Harrison

When we talk about the London city, it evokes the beautiful sonnet by Wordsworth.
In this 'the' before 'London' is right?
Can we use 'the' before city name?

Hello Zeeshan Siddiqii,

There are several options here. You can say 'the city of London' or just 'London'. Sometimes you will see the informal phrase 'London Town' used. You can also see the capitalised phrase 'the City of London' or just 'the City', which refers to the financial centre.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

English is a very difficult for understanding.

hello, I'm very happy to watch this series . It's verry good for me and the exercises are excellent.

please, i nee help i am new here where can i find the transcript of this vedio?

Hello Rakan,

I'm afraid that the Language focus videos don't have transcripts. If there's a specific short part that you want to ask us about, please just let us know what the time codes for it are (for example, 1:05-1:10) and we can write it out for you. You might also want to look through some of the past comments, as other users may have asked the same question as you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team