Learn How To Use Those Pesky English Articles In 10 Minutes
In today’s class, we are going to look at something that a lot of students forget about when learning English. They are those pesky little words that go before nouns, a part of grammar called articles.
First, let’s look at the articles ‘a’ and ‘an.’ These articles are known as indefinite articles, which means that they are non-specific, and we use them when you are talking about something in general. ‘A’ and ‘an’ are always used before singular, countable nouns. Use ‘a’ before nouns that begin with a consonant or a consonant sound, and ‘an’ before nouns that begin with a vowel or a vowel sound.
He is a teacher. –> teacher is a singular, countable noun that begins with a consonant. Use ‘a.’
He is an actor. –> actor is a singular, countable noun that begins with a vowel. Use ‘an.’
He has a euro. –>euro begins with a vowel, but it has a consonant sound (ow-er). Use ‘a.’
I have an hour for my lunch break. –> hour begins with a consonant, but it has a vowel sound (ow-ur). Use ‘an.’
Can you think of any other sentences that use ‘a’ or ‘an?’ We’d love to hear from you, so please write your ideas in the comment section below.
Now that you have mastered the use of ‘a’ and ‘an,’ let’s move onto the last article in today’s post, ‘the.’ With ‘a’ and ‘an,’ we are talking about something that is new, unknown or introduced to the reader/listener for the first time. When we use ‘the,’ we are talking about something that has already been introduced to the reader/listener, also known as a definite article. Look at the sentences below to help you:
I have a dog. The dog is black.
There is a book in my bag. The book is very heavy.
That was easy right!? Sometimes articles can be a little more difficult, especially when a clause or phrase in the sentence tells the reader/listener which person or thing we are talking about.
Example: Can you give me the pen on the bed.
This may seems incorrect, as the ‘pen’ hasn’t been introduced yet, however the phrase ‘on the bed’ tells the listener/reader exactly which pen we are talking about. That means that the listener/reader knows the specific (definite article) we are talking about, so we use the.
We hope you enjoyed today’s blog post. If you think you are now fluent in the use of articles in English, go ahead and try this challenging quiz. As always, leave any comments you have in the section below and sign up here today for a trial class with LOI English.