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Using Articles. Some Basic Guidelines. Indefinite Articles: “A” and “An”. Use them to refer to a singular, non-specific, countable thing “I want a car.” “I saw a pretty bird yesterday.” “I would like an apple.”

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Using Articles

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Using articles

Using Articles

Some Basic Guidelines


Indefinite articles a and an

Indefinite Articles: “A” and “An”

  • Use them to refer to a singular, non-specific, countable thing

    • “I want a car.”

    • “I saw a pretty bird yesterday.”

    • “I would like an apple.”

  • Use “An” in front of a noun, adjective, or adverb that starts with either a vowel sound or a silent “h”

    • “An hour”

    • “An opening”


Indefinite articles a and an1

Indefinite Articles: “A” and “An”

  • Do not use an indefinite article with a non-count noun

    • “Research,” “water,” “happiness,” “hair,” “oxygen”

    • Example: “I looked at research on the subject.”


Definite article the

Definite Article: “The”

  • Use it to refer to a singular OR plural noun; must be a specific thing

    • “I want the car that I saw on sale today.”

    • “I saw the pretty bird that you mentioned yesterday.”

    • “Here is the apple you asked for.”

    • “Where is the doctor with whom I am scheduled to meet?”


Do not use the before

Do not use “the” before

  • Most countries

    • (except countries that are plural nouns or have “republic,” “kingdom,” or “states” in their name)

  • Continents

  • Streets

  • Towns, cities, or states


No article

No Article

  • You can leave out an article when referring to non-specific non-count nouns

    • “Information,” “hunger”

    • Example: “I need information about this subject.”

  • You can leave out an article with plural, non-specific count nouns

    • “Tickets,” “sandwiches,” “signatures”

    • Example: “I took pictures with my camera.”


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