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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

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.”