(in-)definite article

We have two kind of articles:
Indefinite article a/an
•We use “a” with nouns starting with a “consonant” or a
consonant sound
•We use “an” with nouns starting with a “vowel” or a
vowel sound
An apple
A house
An opera
A boy
A university
An honour
A / An is used:
•To refer to something for the first time
1. “An elephant and a
mouse fell in love”
2. “I’ve finally got a good
3. “Would you like a
A / An is used:
•With names of jobs
Ex: “She is a doctor”
•With nationalities
Ex: “John is an Englishman”
•With names of days
Ex: “I was born on a Thursday”
•Meaning “one” referring one single object or
Ex:”I’d like an orange and two apples”
A / An is used:
We use a hundred, a
thousand, a million
Note: we use “one” to
add emphasis or to
contrast with other
Ex: “we’ve got six
computers, but only one
THE is used:
•To refer to something that
has already been
Ex: “An elephant and a
mouse fell in love. The
mouse loved the
elephant’s long trunk and
the elephant loved the
mouse’s tiny nose”
THE is used:
•When both, the speaker and
the listener know what is being
talked about, even if it’s not
been mentioned before
Ex: “Where is the bathroom?”
Ex: “Could you give me the
•Before superlatives and
ordinal numbers
Ex: “the last chapter”
“the most beautiful”
“the first page”
THE is used:
•To refer to objects we
regard as unique
Ex: “The sun”
“the moon”
“the world”
•With geographical areas
and oceans
Ex: “The Pacific ocean”
“ The Sahara”
“ The Caribbean”
•With decades or group
of years
Ex: “She grew up in the
•In sentences where we
define or identify a
particular person or
Ex: “The man who wrote
this book is famous”
Exceptions to the use of the (in-)definite article
1. Do not use a or an with
uncountable nouns
– We went to the library to look
for information.
– Cleaning the house takes a lot
of time.
– I am wearing jeans.
2. Do not add articles before
abstract nouns
– We cannot live without love.
– I am losing my patience.
Exceptions to the use of the (in-)definite article
3. with names of countries
Ex: “Germany is a really pretty country”
(Except: The United States / The UK)
4. With languages
Ex: “French is spoken in Tahiti”
5. With names of meals
Ex: “Breakfast is the most important
meal of the day”
Exceptions to the use of the (in-)definite article
6. With people’s names
Ex: “John is coming next
(Except: The morgans)
7. With titles
Ex: “Prince Charles is
Queen Elizabeth’s son”
8. With professions
Ex: “Engineering is a very
interesting profession”
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