What are articles?

  • The 3 articles in English are a, an and the. We need to decide noun-by-noun which article to use in each sentence. Sometimes, we don’t need to use an article at all.

    • An: Do you have an answer?

    • A: I am baking a cake tonight.

    • The: Why aren’t you going to the dance?

    • No article: I want pizza for dinner.

How do we use articles?

  • The (Definite Article):

    • We use this to describe specific objects which people are familiar with:

      • Do you remember the movie we saw last year?

      • Do you have the book I lent you?

    • We use this for things there are only one of:

      • The sun is bright today.

      • The President is intelligent.

    • We use this to speak about bodies of water and some countries:

      • The Atlantic Ocean is large.

      • The United States of America is north of Mexico.

    • We use this to speak about groups of people:

      • Only the rich can afford to live here.

      • The educated will always succeed.

  • “A” and “An” (Indefinite Articles):

    • We use these to talk about things we are mentioning for the first time:

      • I saw a horse today.

      • They went to a concert last night.

    • We use “a” before singular nouns starting with a consonant sound:

      • A baseball is smaller than a softball.

      • They have a swimming pool in their backyard.

    • We use “an” before singular nouns starting with a vowel sound:

      • An elephant just walked by!

      • Can you give me an answer?

  • No article:

    • We do not need to use an article before non-count nouns:

      • I want water.

      • We need to get gas.

    • We do not need to use an article when we are specifying a quantity of plural nouns:

      • I want four apples.

      • We saw three movies today.


I. Fill in the blank with the correct article or no article.

  • Are you going to  ___________ movies tonight?

  • What are we having for  ____________ lunch?

  • She is ________________ waitress in New York City.

  • Does he play _____________ piano?

  • We need ________ new sofa.

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