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The articles a/an (the indefinite article) and the (the definite article) belong to a group of words called determiners. They normally go at the beginning of noun phrases.
What are articles used for?
Articles are used to show whether we are talking about things that are known both to the speaker and to the listener, or that are not known to them both. Articles can also show whether we are talking about things in general or particular things.
Points to be noted
A singular countable noun normally has an article or other determiner (my, this, her, some etc.) with it. We can say a dog, my dog, that dog or every dog, but not just dog.
Plural and uncountable nouns can be used with or without an article or other determiner.
The Definite Article
The is called the definite article because it is used to refer to a particular person or thing.
To talk about a person/thing already mentioned
When a person/thing has been mentioned earlier, the definite article is used in later references to that particular person/thing.
To talk about a person/thing known to the listener
We use the definite article (the) before a noun when we expect the listener/reader to know which particular person(s) or thing(s) we are talking about.
To talk about unique things or events
We use the to talk about unique things or events.
Most nouns that represent things that are the only ones of their kind also take the before them.
Examples are: the sun, the moon, the earth, the city, the Nile, the country, the sea, the weather etc.
This use of the is possible even when we are talking about somebody/something that the listener knows nothing about?
With expressions referring to our physical environment
The is used in a number of expressions referring to our physical environment.
Examples are: the town, the weather, the rain, the wind, the country, the sunshine, the sea, the city etc.
With adjectives referring to a particular class of people
We use the before certain adjectives referring to a particular class of people.
Examples are: the blind, the dead, the poor, the disabled etc.
Superlative adjectives take the before them.
With singular nouns that represent a whole class
We use the before a singular noun when it is used to represent the whole class of things to which it belongs.
The indefinite Article
The indefinite article a/an is used to talk about one particular person or thing when the listener does not know which one is meant, or when it does not matter which one.
A/an is also used to talk about any one member of a class.
Cases where the indefinite article should not be used
With plural and uncountable nouns
The indefinite article cannot used before plural and uncountable nouns.
We cannot use the indefinite article with possessives. We use double possessives instead.
With adjectives without nouns
We cannot use the indefinite article with an adjective alone (without a noun).
Cases where articles should not be used
With uncountable nouns
Articles are not used with uncountable nouns when we make general statements.
With the names of countries
We do not use articles with the names of countries.
But we use 'the' if the name of the country or organization specifically states that it is a collection of states. (For example, The United States, The United Arab Emirates, The United Nations etc.)
With the names of languages
We do not use articles with the names of languages.
With the names of meals
We do not use articles with the names of meals.
With proper nouns
We do not use articles with proper nouns (the names of people, places etc.)
But we use 'the' with plural names.
With titles and names
We do not use articles with titles and names.
But we say, the queen of England, the President of USA
We do not use articles before years.
With possessives and demonstratives
We do not use articles before possessives (my, your, their etc.) and demonstratives (this, that, these, those).
Articles are not used to talk about the coming or last day/month.
But we use articles with the names of days of the week and months if we are talking about particular days or months.
|Category: Adjectives, Adverbs, Articles, Nouns, Contable & Uncountable, Determiners | Added by: Teacher_Koce (2014-01-07)|
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