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					A/ an and the...the indefinite and the definite article

1 The indefinite article -a/an:

Kayla: Could you get me a chicken club sandwich and an apple, please. I haven't eaten
all morning.
John: Sure. How would you like the sandwich? With or without cheese?

a and an are indefinite articles. We use them in the following situations:

 when a thing is mentioned for the first time
 when we are not speaking about a particular thing.

Look at the following examples:

There's been a fire on Market Street. In the morning the police was finally able to put out
the fire..
Can I borrow a pen from you? - This one doesn't work. Why don't you take the blue one.
I'm looking for a job. I don't really know what I want to, maybe something in the
marketing business.

2. The definite article the:

The guy at Caesar's pizza told me that the pizza I've ordered was going to arrive in half
an hour.
 the is the definite article

 We use the when we speak about a particular/ specific thing:

Matthew took the key from the apartment with him.
Gary and Paula bought the red sofa and not the blue one.

 we also use the when it's clear what we mean:

Look! There is a spider on the floor.
I want to speak to the person in charge, or even better, get me the manager.
I have to run some errands this afternoon; I need to go to the bank to get some money,
then I'm off to see the doctor and if there's some time left I want to drop off some
parcels at the post office.

....in the examples above it's quite clear what or who we mean: the floor of the room we
are in, the manager of the company, the bank I always go to, the particular doctor I
always consult....


 we use the when there is only one thing:

What's the highest mountain in the world.
The sun is a lot bigger than the moon.


No articles are used in the following cases:

A) - Generalizations (plural + uncountable nouns)

- I like music.                                   but: Can you turn off the music.
- She's very interested in nature.                but: What's the nature of her illness?
- Books are expensive.                              but: Put the books on the table.

B) - Some common expressions have no articles after a preposition:

     I go to school - I come from school - I am at school.
    He's at home - He arrived from home.
    He has to stay in hospital/ prison/ bed -
-   George's out of hospital again
-   He's in prison.
    The Circus is in town - How do you get to town
    I don't like to be alone at night
    Robert's on holiday. We expect him back next week
     to/ at / after/ for + meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
    in + season: spring, summer, winter, autumn
    by car, plane, ship,....(on foot)
    What's on TV?              but: What's on the radio?
    This is Alice's house      and not: This is the Alice's house
    She's got dark hair.       and not: She's got the dark hairs.
    Most street names do not take an article:

Saks is on Fifth Avenue, isn't it?
Where's Picadilly Circus, please?
I live in Marihilferstraße.


- the United States, the Thames

				
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posted:9/16/2011
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