Monday, 5 December 2011

English Grammar Rules - Articles Definite, Indefinite and No Article

The Indefinite Article – A / An

We use A/AN with:
1. Singular nouns and the first time we refer to a person, animal or thing.
  • a child
  • an elephant
  • a television
2. We don't use A/AN with possessive pronouns, demonstratives or cardinal numbers.
  • My shirt is dirty.
  • This car is expensive.
  • One person is in the reception.
3. We use ONE (or more) instead of A/AN when the number is important.
  • There is only one exit from the airport.

The Definite Article – The

We use THE with:
1. A singular or plural noun when it is clear/obvious which person or thing we are talking about.
  • There is a lamp in my bedroom. (we mention the lamp for the first time)
  • The lamp is next to the desk.
2. Anything which we identify immediately.
  • We watched the new Brad Pitt movie last night.
3. Musical instruments (the violin, the guitar, the drums, the flute, the piccolo).
  • She plays the piano.
4. Something that is unique or there is only one.
  • the sun
  • the moon
  • the internet.
5. Names of rivers, seas, oceans, mountain ranges and deserts (always in capitals).
  • The Mississippi River
  • The Black Sea
  • The Andes
  • The Sahara Desert
6. Directions (cardinal points).
  • the west
  • the south-east
  • the north-west.

No Article

We use no article with:
1. When we refer to general ideas, plurals or uncountable nouns we do not use THE.
  • Religion is an important issue. (NOT The religion is an important issue)
  • Mexican food is spicy. (NOT The Mexican food is spicy).
2. Names of people, books and plays (unless it is part of the title).
  • I have read Romeo and Juliet.
3. Towns, cities, states and countries.
  • Cape Town
  • Montana
  • Vietnam
(Exceptions – The USA, The UK, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, The Philippines).
4. Lakes, single islands, continents or mountains.
  • Lake Victoria
  • Jamaica
  • Asia
  • Mt Fuji
5. Planets
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
6. Sports or games
  • soccer
  • tennis
  • skiing
  • monopoly
7. Meals
  • breakfast
  • lunch
  • dinner
  • supper

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