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ESL Pointers. Chapter Forty-five. College Writing Skills , 5E and College Writing Skills with Readings , 5E John Langan. Articles with Count and Noncount Nouns. Articles are noun markers: they signal that a noun will follow. There are indefinite articles and a definite article.

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esl pointers

ESL Pointers

Chapter Forty-five

College Writing Skills, 5E and College Writing Skills with Readings, 5EJohn Langan

2000 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

articles with count and noncount nouns
Articles with Count and Noncount Nouns
  • Articlesarenounmarkers: they signalthat a noun will follow.

There are indefinite articles and a definite article.

2000 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

indefinite articles
Indefinite Articles
  • The indefinite articles areA andAN.
  • Use “a” before a word thatbegins with a consonant sound.

EX.: A car; a piano; a uniform

  • Use “an” before a word that begins with a vowel sound.

EX. An effort; an office; an honor

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the definite article
The Definite Article

Thedefinite article is:

THE

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articles
Articles
  • An article may immediately precede a noun:
        • a smile
        • the reason
  • Or it may be separated from the noun by modifiers:
        • a slight smile
        • the very best reason

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count nouns
Count Nouns
  • Count nouns name people, places, things, or ideas that can be counted and made into plurals.

EXS.:

          • teacher-- teachers
          • restroom-- restrooms
          • joke-- jokes

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noncount nouns
Noncount Nouns

Noncount nouns are things or ideas that cannot be counted. Common noncount nouns include:

Abstractions and Emotions: anger, bravery

Activities: baseball, jogging

Foods: bread,cheese

Gases and vapors: air, smoke, steam

Liquids: blood, tea, water

Materials that come in bulk form: cloth, dust, sand

Natural occurrences: rain, snow

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qualifiers
Qualifiers
  • The quantity of a noncount noun can be expressed with a word or words called a qualifier:
      • Some, a lot of, a unit of, etc.

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using a or an with nonspecific singular count nouns
Using a or an with Nonspecific Singular Count Nouns
  • Use a or an with

singular nouns that are

nonspecific. A noun is

nonspecific when the

reader doesn’t know

its specific identity.

Ex: A left-hander faces special challenges with right-handed tools.

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using the with specific nouns
Using the with Specific Nouns

When its identity

is suggested by

the general context:

At Willy’s dinner last night,

the service was terrible

andthe food was worse.

  • A noun is specific in the following cases:

When it has already

been mentioned once:

Today, our cat proudly

brought a baby

bird into the house.

Luckily the bird

was still alive.

When it is identified

by a word or phrase

in the sentence:

The pockets in the

boy’s pants are

often filled with

sand and dirt.

When it is unique: There will be an eclipse of the moon tonight.

When it is preceded

by a superlative adjective

(best, biggest, wisest)

The biggest wish I have

ever made just came true.

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omitting articles
Omitting Articles

Omit

  • articles with nonspecificplurals and noncount nouns, that is, when they refer to something in general:

Pockets didn’t exist until the end of the 1700s.

Iris serves her children homemade lemonade.

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using the with proper nouns
Using The with Proper Nouns
  • Do Not usethefor most singular proper nouns, including names of the following:
  • People and animals
  • Continents, states, cities, streets, and parks
  • Most countries
  • Individual bodies of water, islands, and mountains.

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using the with proper nouns13
Using The with Proper Nouns
  • Usethe for the following types of proper nouns:
  • Plural proper nouns (The Turners; The United States)
  • Names of large geographic areas, deserts, oceans, seas, and rivers (The Black Sea)
  • Names with the format the__ of___ (The Fourth of July)

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subjects and verbs
Subjects and verbs
  • A particular subject can be used only once in

a clause.Don’t repeata subject in the same clause

by following a noun with a pronoun.

Incorrect: The manager he

asked Dmitri to lock up tonight.

Correct: The manager asked

Dmitri to lock up tonight.

Correct: He asked Dmitri

to lock up tonight

Incorrect: The girl who danced

with you she is my cousin.

Correct: The girl who

danced with you is my cousin.

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including pronoun subjects and linking verbs
Including Pronoun Subjects and Linking Verbs
  • Every clause, other than a command, must have a subject and a verb.

Incorrect:The Grand Canyon is in Arizona. Is 217 miles long.

Correct: The Grand Canyon is in Arizona. It is 217 miles long.

Incorrect: Angelita’s piano teacher very patient.

Correct: Angelita’s piano teacherisvery patient.

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including there and here at the beginning of clauses
Including There and Here at the Beginning of clauses
  • A linking verb, usually in the form of to be, follows the wordsthere and here when they begin a clause. In these cases, the verb comes before the subject.

Remember not to

omit there or here!

Incorrect: Are several

chickens in the Benson’s

yard.

Ex.: There are masks in every culture on Earth.

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not using the progressive tense of certain verbs
Not Using the Progressive Tense of Certain Verbs
  • Progressive tenses express actions or conditions still in progress at a particular time. They are made up of forms of be plus the -ing form of the main verb.

Ex.: George will be taking classes this summer.

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not using the progressive tenses of certain verbs
Not Using the Progressive Tenses of Certain Verbs
  • Verbs for mental states, the senses, possession, an inclusion are normally not used in the progressive tenses.
      • Incorrect:All during the movie they were hearing whispers behind them.
      • Correct: All during the movie they heardwhispers behind them.

Exs.:

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not using the progressive tense of certain verbs19
Not Using the Progressive Tense of Certain Verbs

Common Verbs Not Generally Used In The Progressive

Thoughts, attitudes and desires: agree, believe, imagine,

know, like, love, prefer, think, understand, want, wish

Sense perceptions: hear, see, smell, taste

Appearances: appear, seem

Possession: belong, have, own, possess

Inclusion: contain, include

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using only transitive verbs for the passive voice
Using Only Transitive Verbs for the Passive Voice
  • Onlytransitiveverbscan have apassiveform. Intransitive verbs cannot be used in the passive voice.
      • Incorrect: If you don’t fix those brakes, an accident may be happened.
      • Correct: If you don’t fix those brakes, an accident may happen.

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using gerunds and infinitives after verbs
Using Gerunds and Infinitives After Verbs
  • A Gerund is the -ing form of a verb that is used as a noun, e.g., For Walter, eating is a daylong activity.
  • An infinitive is to plus the basic form of the verb, e.g., to eat. It can function as an adverb , adjective, or noun.

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following the order of adjectives
Following The Order of Adjectives
  • Adjectivesmodify nouns and pronouns. An adjective usually comesdirectly before the word it describes or after a linking verb.
        • That is an angry man.
        • The man is angry.

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typical order of adjectives in a series
Typical Order of Adjectives in A Series
  • If there is more than one adjective for the same noun, they follow this order:

1. Article or other noun marker (a, an, the, Lee’s, this. . .)

2. Opinion adjective (dull, handsome, unfair. . .)

3. Size (big, huge, little. . .)

4. Shape (long, short, round. . .)

5. Age (ancient, medieval, old. . .)

6. Color (blue, green, red. . .)

7. Nationality (Italian, Korean, Mexican. . .)

8. Religion (Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish…)

9. Material (cardboard, gold, marble…)

10. Noun used as an adjective (house call, tea bag. . .)

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using the present and past participles as adjectives
Using the Present and Past Participles as Adjectives
  • A participle used as an adjective may precedethe word it describes:
  • It may also follow the linking verb and describe the subject of the sentence:
  • Use the present participle to describe whoever or whatever causesa feeling:
  • Use the past participle to describe whoever or whatever experiences the feeling:

That was an exciting ballgame.

The ballgame was exciting.

An embarrassing incident

The embarrassed parents

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prepositions used for time and place
Prepositions Used for Time and Place

Use on, in, and atto refer to time and place.

Time

On a specific day: on Monday, on January 1

In a part of a day: in the morning, in the daytime

In a month or a year: in December, in 1776

In a period of time: in an hour, in a few days

At a specific time: at 10:00 A.M., at midnight

Place

On a surface: on the desk, on the counter

In a place that is enclosed: in my room, in the office

At a specific location: at the mall, at his house

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