Articles for intermediate learners
Articles are used as modifiers for nouns. However, some nouns do not need to be modified. In this lesson, we will learn about them.
What Are Articles?
When we want to modify nouns or noun phrases, we use articles. Articles are necessary in most cases. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.
What Kinds of Articles Do We Have?
The article we use when we want to indicate nouns differs based on the nouns' structures. We have two types of articles in English. Take a look at the following list:
Take a look at the following examples:
She is trying to find
Let's wait and see what
When we want to talk about a specific person or item, we use the definite article. We have only one definite article that is 'the'. Let us study the following examples:
Sheila wanted to talk to you about
As you can see, the sentence is indicating a specific event, not just simply an event.
Shall we go to
How Do We Use the Definite Article?
As mentioned above, the definite article is used when we want to modify specific, particular nouns. Study the following examples:
How dare he talk to
When we want to talk about unspecific, general nouns, we use indefinite articles. There are two types of indefinite articles in English that are 'a' and 'an'. Let us examine some examples below:
As I was walking home the other day, I was thinking about climbing
Please note that indefinite articles are only used with singular, countable nouns that are unspecific. On the contrary, the definite article can be used with either singular or plural forms. Compare the following examples:
I want to sit on
What Is the Difference between 'A' and 'An'?
The only difference between 'a' and 'an' is that 'a' comes with nouns that begin with a consonant sound and 'an' comes with nouns that begin with a vowel sound. Take a look at the following examples:
She wants to buy
As you can see, the noun begins with a vowel sound.
How could you count on
Here, the noun begins with a consonant.
Please note that not all nouns that begin with a vowel letter have necessarily vowel sounds and vice versa. Study the following examples carefully:
As you can see, 'an' is used with a word beginning with a consonant letter but a vowel sound.
Here, 'an' is used with a word that begins with a vowel letter and has a vowel sound.
How Do We Use Indefinite Articles?
As mentioned above, indefinite articles are used when we want to point out unspecific, general people or items. Remember that indefinite articles are mainly used with singular, countable nouns. Check out the following examples:
I think I just saw a girl talking to
Adrian just went to buy her
It is useful to know that when we have no articles, we call it the zero article condition. Mainly, when we use proper nouns such as names, academic subjects, countries' names, etc. we have zero articles. Take a look at the following examples:
the Anna or an Anna..)
the English Literature or an English Literature...)