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Articles 1

Do you know how to use a, an and the?

Look at these examples to see how articles are used.

She's a doctor.
I need an umbrella.
Have you heard the news?
I don't like spiders.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar test 1: Articles 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Here are some of the most important things to know about using articles.

Jobs

When we say what people's jobs are, we usually use a/an.

He's an architect.
She's a scientist.
My grandmother was a teacher.

Singular nouns

Singular, countable nouns always have an article – a/an or the (or another determiner – my, your, this, that, etc.).

We use a/an – the indefinite article – when we talk about something for the first time, or something that is part of a group or type.

I saw a good film yesterday.
Do you want a drink?

We use a when the word that follows it begins with a consonant sound. We use an when it's followed by a vowel sound. This makes pronunciation easier.

She has a university degree.
It took me an hour to get home.

We use the – the definite article – when the listener already knows which thing we are talking about because it was mentioned before or because there's only one of them.

I'm going to take the dog for a walk.
Have you seen the car key?
They go to the school next to the bridge.

Things in general

When we talk about things in general, we normally use a plural or uncountable noun with no article.

Birds eat worms.
Water freezes at 0°C.
Children need a lot of sleep.

Particular groups of things

When we talk about a particular group of things, we use the.

We went to the zoo and saw the kangaroos. (These are the particular kangaroos in that zoo – not kangaroos in general.)

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar test 2: Articles 1

Language level

Beginner: A1
Pre-intermediate: A2

Comments

That was hard lesson for me.

I’ve read this:
apple starts with A
banana starts with B
chiken starts with C
I thought happiness started with a H
but why does mine starts with U
Why do you need an article for the fourth line only? Or it’s just simply wrong?

Hi Fiona,

Actually, it's correct with or without an article, so both of these are correct:

  • Apple starts with A.
  • Apple starts with an A.

 

But there are a couple of other things to correct. It should be 'an H' (because the sound is 'aitch', which starts with a vowel sound), and 'why does mine start with U' (in the infinitive form, because it follows 'does'). Also, check the spelling of 'chicken'.

I hope that helps :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Nice lesson

Nice :DDDDDDDDD

In the example about 'a' and 'an', that is right?

"She has a university degree."
"It took me an hour to get home."

Correctly is no " She has an university degree." and "It took me a hour to get home."?

Is not about the letter that starts the word?

Hello Larissari09,

As is explained above, it's the sound that starts the word that matters, not the letter:

We use a when the word that follows it begins with a consonant sound. We use an when it's followed by a vowel sound. This makes pronunciation easier.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Let me change the clothes.
Let me Watch the television.
Let me take the medicine.
Let me help the poor.
Let me tie a turban.

Can you tell these examples are correct? If I'm wrong tell me Why?

Hello Sameer Mankoo,

Those are all grammatically correct, but remember that the use of articles, especially the definite article, is highly dependent on context. The definite article expresses shared knowledge between the speaker and the listener, so their relationship to each other, to the world in general and to the specific context in which they are speaking are all important.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

4. Could you please pass me salt?

Why ' the ' is used here. Can anyone tell me the reason?

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