What is It?
An article is a type of adjective that is always used together with a noun and carries information about it. Articles are used to show what kind of noun follows it—definite (use the) or indefinite (use a/an).
When to Use?
Indefinite articles a and an are mostly used to refer to something for the first time, or to refer to a particular member of a group or class.
|* With names of:
4. Musical instruments
|1. My daddy is a policeman, so if you don’t give my toys back, he’ll put you in prison.
2. I was playing an electronic guitar when my irritated neighbors knocked on my door (But: To describe the activity, the is used. E.g. I play the electric guitar).
|* To refer to a kind or an example of something.||Jenny’s little son was a strange child.|
|1. Showing there is only one thing instead of many.
2. With singular nouns after the words what and such.
|1. Would you like a cup of tea?
2. What a shame! How could you do that?
Remember to use a before consonants, and an before vowels!
The is used:
|* To indicate something that has already been referred to.||A strange man came to our bank this morning. The man’s face was covered with scars.|
|* To mark a certain object as unique.||I feel amazed every time I see the moon and the stars.|
|* When people know what is being talked about. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether the discussed subject has been mentioned before.||Have you seen the professor today? Yeah, he is already in the classroom.|
|* In cases when we talk about:
1. A particular person
2. An item
3. A geographical name
4. A whole group of people
|1. The director of this movie is famous abroad.
2. Among all these t-shirts, I would only buy the green one.
3. I am going to spend my next vacation at the Caribbeans.
|* Before the:
1. Superlative forms of adjectives
2. Ordinal numbers
|1. This is the best that could happen to me!
2. I won the first prize of that literary contest.
|* With decades and groups of years.||I like the music of the 90’s.|
Articles are not used:
|* With singular names of countries.||I have been to Germany this summer.|
|* With the names of:
9. People (if singular)
1. I study Spanish by myself.
2. May I invite you to dinner?
3. She bought that ring at Barkley’s.
4. I got tired of living in a big city, so I moved to Silverton.
5. My friend lives on 55th Riddleton Ave.
6. We need to go to Nihonbashi station—Takezo will be waiting for us outside the subway.
7. The plane landed at Heathrow Airport.
8. Engineering is my prospective profession.
9. John is my best friend.
|* With titles and names.||Prince Charles is Queen Elizabeth’s son.|
|* With the names of:
1. Individual mountains
1. I want to see Mount Rushmore.
2. Last year, we traveled to Baikal Lake.
3. I would like to visit Easter Island and see all those sculptures with my own eyes.
|* After ‘s possessive case||It’s my brother’s laptop.|
|* With years.||I was born in 1988.|
|* With uncountable nouns||Buckwheat in German sounds like buchweizen.|