This lesson is about the indefinite articles, “a” and “an”, and the definite article, “the”.
a/an = indefinite article that refers any noun
the = definite article that refers to a certain or specific noun
“Let's see a movie” means any movie. (indefinite)
“Let's see the movie” means a certain movie. (definite)
“A” or “an”?
“An” is used instead of “a” before a vowel sound. For example:
An artist from the local community painted the wonderful mural at Chemainus.
Indefinite Article: A / AN
|“A” and “an” are used when it is not clear which thing or person we are talking about.||She was talking to a girl at the store. (This is an unknown girl, so a is used.)|
|“A” and “an” can be used only with count nouns.||I need a bottle of milk. I need an interesting topic for my speech.|
Definite Article: THE
|“The” is used when it is clear which thing or person we are talking about.||Greg was talking to the girl from New York.
(This a specific girl from New York, so the is used.)
The sun comes up every day.
|“The” is used when there is only one of a particular thing.||London is the capital of England.
We went to the most expensive city in the world.
|The + adjective
“The” is used with some adjectives (without a noun).
For example: the young , the old, the sick
(The meaning is always plural.)
|Do you think that the rich should give money to the poor?|
|The + nationality adjectives
“The” is used with most nationality words which refer to the people of a specific country.
For example: the Canadians, the Japanese
|The Italians are famous for their delicious food.|
|Certain nouns use the:
names of rivers, oceans and seas: the Mississippi, the Atlantic
points on the globe: the Equator, the South Pole
geographical areas: the Middle East, the West, as well as deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas
|The Atlantic is a huge, deep, dark ocean.
The Middle East is fascinating.
The Gulf of Mexico is below Texas.
We live near the Saanich Peninsula.