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English articles

English articles

A/an and the

English articles – Today we are exploring how to use these 3 types of articles in English.  Remember you can always practice these articles with Philip your skypeclass Teacher.
You might like to visit the Cambridge English for further info.

A/an and the: meaning

A/an and the are articles. They are a type of determiner and they go before a noun.

A/an before a noun shows that what is referred to is not already known to the speaker, listener, writer and/or reader (it is the indefinite article):

Do you have a car?

A:    Do you live in a house?
B:    No, actually, I live in an apartment.

The before a noun shows that what is referred to is already known to the speaker, listener, writer and/or reader (it is the definite article):

Where did we park the car? (The speaker and the listener know what car is being referred to.)

We had to paint the apartment before we sold it. (The speaker and the listener know what apartment is being referred to.)

The makes a noun specific.

Compare

Have you been to an ice rink?

Have you ever been to any ice rink? (an doesn’t make the noun ice rink specific)

Have you been to the ice rink?

The speaker and listener know the ice rink which is being referred to (e.g. the one in their town/the local one). Themakes the noun ice rink specific.

Not specific

Specific (‘the one you and I know’)

Would you like an apple?

Would you like to try the apple pie?

Do you have a cat?

Have you seen the cat?