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Friday Message: Definite and indefinite articles

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ABA English: Friday Message |
Friday Message
10/7/2020

A, An and The
Hello!

I hope you are enjoying your Friday!


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I’m sure you are because there is nothing better than learning something new, especially on a Friday when you have the whole weekend to practise what you have learnt!

Today we’re going to look at a very important aspect of English grammar: articles.

We have two types of articles in English: the definite article “the” and the indefinite articles “a” and “an”.
By using the definite article “the”, we assume that the listener understands or knows what or whom we are referring to when speaking. It also refers to specific nouns.

The boy next door is good at football. (We presume that the listener knows there is a boy living next door)

The moon is so beautiful. (There is only one moon)

The French president is in Australia at the moment. (There is only one president per country)

“The” is also used for:

* Countries which are formed of states or other divisions or with words like “kingdom” or “republic” and groups of islands, for example, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Republic of South Africa and the Bahamas.

* Famous landmarks, for example, the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.

* Geographical features such as rivers, seas and mountain ranges, for example, the (river) Thames, the Mediterranean (sea) and the Alps.

We use “a” before a word that starts with a consonant. We use it when we don't specify the thing or person we are talking about. Here are some examples:

My brother wants to buy a car.

A friend of mine called this morning.

After lunch we went to watch a movie.

We use “an” before a word that starts with a vowel.

She is an accountant.

I’m hungry. Can I have an orange please?

James needs to buy an umbrella. It has rained a lot recently.

Note that when referring to general things, we don’t put an article, for example,

I love chocolate. (NOT “the chocolate”)

His favourite music is classical music. (NOT “the classical music”)

I hope this has been informative for you! Please learn more by checking out unit 4 of the ABA online course.

Have a great weekend!

Take care,

Graham Weeks

Your ABA Teacher
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