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ENGLISH ARTICLES

"A, An, The" definite and indefinite articles in English

Read the following description

I am from Winchester, Hampshire. Winchester is a city in the United Kingdom. I live in a town called Taunton which is on the River Tone. I live in a house in a quiet street in the countryside. The street is called "Hudson Street" and the house is old - more than 100 years old! I am an English lecturer at a college near the centre of the town. I like books, music and taking photographs. I usually have lunch at college. I usually go home by car. We have all kinds of food in England. I like Polish food very much. Sometimes, I go to a Polish restaurant in Bath. The restaurant is called "Magda's". Polish food is delicious!

Here are the basic rules for when to use "A, An or The":

 

  • a = indefinite article (not a specific object, one of a number of the same objects) with consonants
    Eric has a dog.
    Neil works in a factory.
  • an = indefinite article (not a specific object, one of a number of the same objects) with vowels (a,e,i,o,u)
    Can I have an apple?
    Donata is an English teacher.
  • the = definite article (a specific object that both the person speaking and the listener know)
    The car over there is fast.
    The teacher is very good, isn't he?
  • The first time you speak of something use "a or an", the next time you repeat that object use "the".
    I live in a house. The house is quite old and has two bedrooms.
    I ate in a Vietnamese restaurant. The restaurant was not very clean.
  • DO NOT use an article with countries, states, counties or provinces, lakes and mountains except when the country is a collection of states such as "The United States".
    My uncle lives in Cumbria near Lake Windermere.
    They live in Bristol.
  • Use an article with bodies of water, oceans and seas -
    I live on a small island in the Baltic Sea.
  • DO NOT use an article when you are speaking about things in general
    I like Indian tea.
    Simon likes reading books about linguistics.
  • DO NOT use an article when you are speaking about meals, places, and transport
    He has breakfast at home.
    I go to university.
    Magda comes to work by taxi.

 

EXERCISE 1

(Pre-Intermediate)

Fill in the gaps. Click on the arrow to see the answer. Don't look back at the original text!

 

I am from Winchester, Hampshire. Winchester is city in United Kingdom.  I live in town called Taunton which is on River Tone. I live in house in quiet street in the countryside. street is called "Hudson Street" and house is old - more than 100 years old! I am English lecturer at college near centre of town. I like books, music and taking photographs. I usually have lunch at college. I usually go home by car. We have all kinds of food in England. I like Polish food very much. Sometimes, I go to Polish restaurant in Bath. restaurant is called "Magda's". Polish food is delicious!

 

EXERCISE 2

(Elementary / Pre-Intermediate)

a, an, the, zero

Click the answer button to see the correct answer.

     

  1. Magnus and Jessica went to ___ party last night.

     

  2. Can you tell me how to get to ___ cinema from here?

     

  3. ___ college is closed today.

     

  4. Gregory is one of ___ strangest people I know.

     

  5. I recommend you try ___ tomato soup at this restaurant.

     

  6. ___ beer is good for you.

     

  7. Would you like to see ___ film?

     

  8. ___ apple a day keeps ___ doctor away.

     

  9. I can't believe I failed ___ yesterday's test!

     

  10. Do you have ___ dictionary that I can borrow?

 

EXERCISE 3

(Elementary / Pre-Intermediate)

Click the answer button to see the correct answer.

     

  1. There were many dogs in the park. One dog was ___ Dalmatian.

     

  2. Pandas and ___ tigers are both endangered animals.

     

  3. Magda is wearing ___ blue dress with red shoes

     

  4. Bornholm is ___ island in the Baltic Sea.

     

  5. Christmas comes once ___ year.

     

  6. ___ owl is __ bird.

     

  7. The Severn is ___ river.

     

  8. Jane went to the shop to buy ___ bread.

     

  9. Hania broke ___ glass when she was washing-up.

     

  10. Tom took ___ umbrella as it was raining heavilly.


EXERCISE 4

(Elementary / Pre-Intermediate)

Click the answer button to see the correct answer.

     

  1. This is ___ easy question.

     

  2. Stephen could you speak  ___ little louder.

     

  3. May I have your ___ phone number?

     

  4. I have never seen ___ UFO.

     

  5. May I ask you ___ question?

     

  6. Astrid is ___ best teacher in our school.

     

  7. What is ___ name of the next station?

     

  8. My girlfriend has ___ my car today.

     

  9. I went to ___ sea during my summer holiday.

     

  10. Is there ___ cash machine near here?

EXERCISE 5

(Elementary)

Click the answer button to see the answer.

     

  1. This is Joanna. She's _____ doctor.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  2. Simon is ____ engineer.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  3. That's Sandra. She's ___ hairdresser.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  4. Sean Connery is ___ actor.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  5. John is ____ electrician.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  6. Mr. Sa˝ko is ___ teacher.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  7. This is Shirley. She's ___ housewife.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  8. That's Mark. He's ___ police officer.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  9. I'm ____ student.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  10. Kate Winslet is ____ actress.
    a. a
    b. an