Leaders in ESL Development

Articles and how to use them

Article: these are placed before nouns and help identify them.

 

"A" or "an" is used before a singular noun and identifies it as one of many. This particular article will answer the question: "what is it?" or "who is it?"

 

Use "a" before a singular noun that begins with a consonant

 

Examples:

A car a town a table
A boat a song a chair
A toy a phone a book

 

Use "an" before a singular noun that begins with a vowel sound.

Examples:

An umbrella an office an orange
An apple an ocean an idea
An answer an eraser an image

 

"The" is used for any singular or plural noun that is specific or particular.

Specific: clearly stated, definite

 

If you wanted to talk about any cat, you would use:

A cat ate my lunch.

 

When talking about a specific cat, you would use:

The cat ate my lunch.

This means you know which cat ate your lunch.

 

Using "the" as an article answers a specific question. It answers what (noun) or which (nouns) you are speaking about.

 

This chart talks about what questions using "the" as an article the article answers:

Question Answer Meaning
Which house? The house The only house
Which glasses? The glasses The only glasses

 

Question Answer Meaning
Which girl? A girl It could be any girl
Which dog? A dog It could be any dog
Which arrow? An arrow It could be any arrow

 

Remember to use "a" with words beginning with a consonant. "An" is used with words starting with a vowel. Both are articles used with singular, non-specific nouns.

Use "the" for singular or plural, specific nouns

 

*End of lesson on Articles*       Take A Quiz Now