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Arts & Letters Daily

QuickBooks

Articles

     Dr. Otto
Articles should be easy because there are only 3 articles – the, a, an. Yet, they cause so much trouble! In this Lesson, I will identify the rules for using these three simple words.
YouTube Tutorial – click – INTRODUCTION /OR/ APPLICATION
Text for Tutorial on APPLICATION  – Click HERE.
Notes – scroll down to Notes
Assignment – scroll down to Assignment
Answer Key – scroll down to Answer Key
Practice oral English – click HERE
ASK DR. OTTO – click HERE

Notes

 

Articles are a type of adjective and therefore modify nouns. There are two kinds of articles: definite articles and indefinite articles.

 

Definite Article: The word ‘the‘ is the only definite article. It is used to modify both singular and plural count nouns. The definite article is used to refer to a specific object. (Nouns are objects that can be counted  such as car – cars, book – books, apple – apples.)

Rule 1: Use the definite article ‘the’ to refer to one (singular) specific object or thing.

Examples:

  • The car is in the garage. (The definite article ‘the’ indicates a specific car is in a specific garage.)
  • The dog is in the back yard. (The definite article ‘the’ indicates a specific dog and a specific yard.)

Rule 2: It is optional to use the definite article ‘the’ to refer to more than one specific object or thing.

  • The cars are in the garages. (The definite article ‘the ‘ indicates specific cars are in specific garages.)
  • Dogs run in the park. (The definite article is not required with the plural noun ’dogs’ but is required with the singular noun ‘park’.)

 

Indefinite Articles: ‘A‘ and ‘an’ are the only indefinite articles. The indefinite article is used with nouns when no specific object is specified. The indefinite article is used to modify only singular nouns.

Rule 3: Use the indefinite articles ‘a’ or ‘an’ with singular count nouns.

  • Mary eats a banana every day. (The indefinite article ‘a ‘ is required because no specific banana is referenced.)
  • Mary ate the last banana we had. (The definite article ‘the ‘ is required because a specific banana is referenced.)
  • Mary eats an apple after school. (The indefinite article ‘an’ is required because no specific apple is referenced. The indefinite article, ‘an’, is used instead of ‘a ‘ when the noun that follows begins with a vowel.)

Some common nouns are also called no count nouns because they cannot be counted. They are considered to be plural nouns and therefore do not require an article unless reference is to a specific noun. Then the definite article ‘the’ should be used. Words in this category include:

  • gold, silver, nickel, iron, money, sugar, flour, salt, water, oil.

Rule 4: No count nouns are considered as plurals. No article is needed (unless reference is made to a specific noun.)

  • John eats fruit every day. (No article is required with a plural noun ‘fruit ’.)
  • Sugar is used in every kitchen. (No article is required because ‘sugar’ is a no count noun.)

Rule 5: The definite article ‘the’ is used with no count nouns when referring to a specific item.

  • The sugar is in the cupboard. (The definite article is used to refer to specific ‘sugar ’.)
  • The garbage was removed from the building site. (The definite article is used to refer to specific ‘garbage ’.)

Rule 6: The article is always placed before the noun it modifies and before adjectives that modify the noun.

  • A red apple is good to eat. (The indefinite article ‘a’ comes before the adjective ‘red’ and the noun ‘apple ‘.)
  • People eat the outer skin of grapes. (The definite article ‘the’ comes before the adjective ‘outer’ and the noun ‘skin ‘.)

Rule 7: In a series of sentences, the indefinite article used in the first sentence becomes a definite article in the sentences that follow, because the general object becomes a specific object.

  • I have a new book. I put the book on the kitchen table so mother would see it. (The indefinite article is used in the first sentence because no particular book is mentioned. In the second sentence, the definite article ‘the ‘ is used to indicate a particular book.)

 

Assignment

 

Underline the correct use of articles in brackets.

1. Jim caught (a, an, the, no article) bird yesterday.

2. There are (a, an, the, no article) plates and cutlery on the table.

3. (A, An, The, no article) cups are clean.

4. I need (a, an, the, no article) money to buy a drink.

5. (A, An, The, no article) pepper and salt are in the kitchen.

6. There are (a, an, the, no article) grapes and plums for dessert.

7. Anne picked (a, an, the, no article) apple from the apple tree.

8. A boy picked up (a, an, the, no article) stick from under the tree.

9. Mother buys (a, an, the, no article) vegetables at the local market.

 

10.  My sister likes (a, an, the, no article) chicken and tomato salads.

11.  Many adults enjoy (a, an, the, no article) cup of tea.

12.  Jane never eats meat; she eats (a, an, the, no article) vegetables and fruits.

13.   Some people cannot drink (a, an, the, no article) milk.

14.  I eat (a, an, the, no article) sandwich and fruit for lunch.

15.   My favourite snack is (a, an, the, no article) apple.

16.  Chocolate bars and soft drinks contain (a, an, the, no article) lots of sugar.

17.  A balanced diet includes (a, an, the, no article) four food groups.

18.  Today many families buy (a, an, the, no article) food they eat.

19.   We grow (a, an, the, no article) tomatoes and beans in our garden.

20.  Humans need (a, an, the, no article) water to drink and a variety of foods.

Answer Key

Articles

1. Jim caught (a, an, the, no article) bird yesterday.

2. There are (a, an, the, no article) plates and cutlery on the table.

3. (A, An, The, no article)  cups are clean.

4.  I need (a, an, the, no article) money to buy a drink.

5.  (A, An, The, no article) pepper and salt are in the kitchen.

6.  There are (a, an, the, no article) grapes and plums for dessert.

7.  Anne picked (a, an, the, no article) apple from the apple tree.

8.  A boy picked up (a, an, the, no article) stick from under the tree.

9.   Mother buys (a, an, the, no article) vegetables at the local market.

10. My sister likes (a, an, the, no article) chicken and tomato salads.

11. Many adults enjoy (a, an, the, no article) cup of tea.

12. Jane never eats meat; she eats (a, an, the, no article) vegetables and fruits.

13. Some people cannot drink (a, an, the, no article) milk.

14. I eat (a, an, the, no article) sandwich and fruit for lunch.

15. My favourite snack is (a, an, the, no article) apple.

16. Chocolate bars and soft drinks contain (a, an, the, no article) lots of  sugar. Answer:

17. A balanced diet includes (a, an, the, no article) four food groups.

18. Today many families buy (a, an, the, no article) food they eat.

19. We grow (a, an, the, no article) tomatoes and beans in our garden.

20. Humans need (a, an, the, no article) water to drink and a variety of foods.