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An article is a word that is put next to a noun to indicate the type of reference being made to the noun. Articles can have various functions:

a definite article (the) indicates that the noun refers to a specific thing that the speaker has in mind (The chair was broken).

an indefinite article (a, an, some or any) indicates that the noun refers to something of the kind, but the particular instance isn't important (A chair was broken). Use a when followed by a consonant sound (a ball, a table...), use an when followed by a vowel sound (an egg, an MBA).

a zero article is implied as the definite article but is not pronounced.

Some simple examples:

Would you pass me a pen, please.

I need to use a pen, but don't care which one.

There's a man walking up the path.

I don't know who he is.

Would you pass me the phone please.

There's only one phone, or you know which phone I mean.

The man's banging on the door.

You know which man I'm talking about.

Look, Dad, I can see the sea.

The definite article is used with uncountable nouns, such as sea.

When using English, the can be thought of as similar to a little computer cursor. Where the cursor is resting, one's attention also rests.

The chair ...

It is customary to focus on the word following the word the with the questions 'who', 'where', 'when', 'why', 'how', and then wait for the rest of the sentence, which should complete the meaning.

The chair is ...

Now it gets interesting - is implies NOW, so the listener should pay attention for a current event!

The chair is broken.

The sentence is completed; the listener sits on that specific chair at his own peril.

Some examples of definite artical usage:

geographical features: the Equator, the North Pole...

oceans and seas: the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean...

rivers: the Thames, the Seine, the Rhine...

regions: the south, the north west, the Lake District...

celestial bodies: the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, the Milky Way... (but NOT the other planets, eg NOT the Mars, the Mecrury...)

most newspapers: the Sun, the Mirror, the Times, the New York Post...

hotels: the Ritz, the Savoy...

Articles are NOT used with:



most countries (some exceptions are the US, the UK, the Republic of Ireland...)

lakes and mountains;

most magazines.


Insert a, an, or the in the following sentences.

1. Draw circle. Now color circle green.

2. I live in house in Margate, which is in south east of England. It's pretty house with big garden. I like working in garden at weekends.

3. Have you met Jim? He's engineer. He works in factory next to Greenwich station.

4. We had great holiday. We went to Canada, USA and Mexico. We flew over Pacific to Vancouver and travelled by bus. The best bit was when we spent two nights in Hilton Hotel.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Article (grammar)".