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Articles – The and A/An
Most nouns need a determiner before them. “The,” “a” and “an” are a type of determiner.
The When noun is known. Maybe you could point to it, at least in your mind. The noun’s specific identity is known.
A/An When the noun is being introduced or is not known. The noun’s specific identity is not known.
Use “a” when the next word begins with a consonant (not a vowel).
Use “an” when the next word begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u)
Exception, when the next word begins with a consonant that is pronounced with a vowel sound at the beginning. Example “hour.”
Count Nouns can be counted: apples, chairs, trees, etc
Non-Count Nouns can’t be counted: water, love, space, etc
|Choosing The, A/An or No Article|
|Count Nouns||Non-Count Nouns|
|1. Specific Identity not known||a, an||(no article)|
|2. Specific identity known||the||the|
|3. All things or things in general||(no article)||(no article)|
|4. Names||(no article)||–|
Examples (see table above):
- An apple is over on the table. Would you like to eat it? (specific identity not known)
- Mom, I’m sorry. When I was driving the car, I had an accident. (specific identity known)
- Tall people have no trouble reaching the high shelves. (all things, or things in general)
- Paris is lovely in the spring.
- Orange juice is in the refrigerator. (specific identity not known)
- The air is very clear today. (specific identity known)
- Water is really cold before it freezes. (all things or things in general)
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