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ARTICLE USAGE

By: Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

1/3/2009

http://www.kau.edu.sa/SBANJER http://wwwdrshadiabanjar.blogspot.com

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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There are only two types of articles in the English language: 1. Definite article; “the” and 2. Indefinite article; “a”/ “an”. Definite Article: the

Articles Indefinite Article: a / an

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In a broad sense, an article is a type of adjective that gives information about a noun. Definite Article: the When do I use them? Which article?

Indefinite Article: a / an

It depends on what kind of noun is being modified.

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Kinds of Nouns • Nouns are generic, indefinite, or definite. • Nouns are count or noncount. • Nouns are singular or plural.

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GENERIC NOUNS

A generic noun represents a whole class of things. It is not a specific, real, concrete thing, but rather a symbol of a whole group. Examples of Generic Nouns:

A bird has wings. A horse has four legs. An apple is red.

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USING A or Ø: GENERIC NOUNS SINGULAR COUNT NOUN

a) A banana is yellow.

PLURAL COUNT NOUN

b) Ø Bananas are yellow.

NONCOUNT NOUN

c) Ø Fruit is good for you.

A speaker uses generic nouns to make generalizations. In a) & b): The speaker is talking about any banana, all bananas, bananas in general. In c): The speaker is talking about any and all fruit , fruit in general. Notice:

1/3/2009

No article is used to make generalizations with plural count nouns, as in b), and with noncount nouns, as in c). Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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INDEFINITE NOUNS

Indefinite nouns are actual things (not symbols), but they are not specifically identified. Examples of Indefinite Nouns: There is a table in the room. I ate an apple. The girl was wearing a hat.

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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Indefinite Nouns Singular

I ate a banana.

Plural count noun (two, a few, several)

I ate some bananas.

Noncount noun (a little, a lot of)

I ate some fruit.

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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USING A or SOME: INDEFINITE NOUNS SINGULAR COUNT NOUN

a) I ate a banana.

PLURAL COUNT NOUN

b) I ate some bananas.

NONCOUNT NOUN

c) I ate some Fruit.

In a): the speaker is not referring to “this banana” or “that banana” or “the banana you gave me”. The speaker is simply saying that he ate one banana. The listener does not know nor need to know which specific banana was eaten. It was simply one banana out of that whole group of things in the world called bananas. 1/3/2009

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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In b) and c): Some is often used with indefinite plural count nouns and indefinite noncount nouns. In addition to some, a speaker might use two, a few, several, a lot of, etc., with plural count nouns, or a little, a lot of, etc., with noncount nouns. 1/3/2009

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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DEFINITE NOUNS

A noun is definite when both the speaker and the listener are thinking about the same specific thing. Examples of definite Nouns: Thank you for the apple you gave me. I love to look at the moon. The food I ate last night made me sick.

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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Definite Nouns Singular

The banana I ate this morning was delicious.

Plural

I got the apples from the tree.

Noncount The fruit from that market is inexpensive.

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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USING THE: DEFINITE NOUNS SINGULAR COUNT NOUN

a) Thank you for the banana.

PLURAL COUNT NOUN

b) Thank you for the bananas.

NONCOUNT NOUN

c) Thank you for the Fruit.

In a): The speaker uses ‘the’ because the listener knows which specific banana the speaker is talking about, i.e., that particular banana which the listener gave to the speaker. ‘the’ is used with both singular and plural count nouns Notice: and with noncount nouns. 1/3/2009

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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1. Indefinite Articles: a and an

Use a and an when the noun is indefinite and singular. The rule is: •a + singular noun beginning with a consonant: a boy •an + singular noun beginning with a vowel: an elephant •a + singular noun beginning with a consonant sound: a user (sounds like 'yoo-zer,' i.e. begins with a consonant 'y' sound, so 'a' is used) •some + plural noun: some girls If the noun has an adjective, follow the same rules, BUT use the first letter/sound of the adjective: •a broken egg •an unusual problem •a European country (sounds like 'yer-o-pi-an,' i.e. begins with consonant 'y' sound). 1/3/2009

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2. Definite Article: the

The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific.

INDEFINITE Noun

Indefinite (a or an)

•a dog (any dog) Singular •an apple (any apple) •some dogs (any dogs) Plural •some apples (any apples) 1/3/2009

vs. DEFINITE Definite (the) •the dog (that specific dog) •the apple (that specific apple) •the dogs (those specific dogs) •the apples (those specific apples)

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is not used with noncountable nouns referring to something in a general (indefinite) sense: • [no article] Coffee is a popular drink. • [no article] Japanese was his native language. • [no article] Intelligence is difficult to quantify. The is used with noncountable nouns that are specific: • The coffee in my cup is too hot to drink. • The Japanese he speaks is often heard in the countryside. • The intelligence of animals is variable but undeniable. 1/3/2009

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Do not use the before: XXXX names of countries names of cities, towns, or states names of streets names of lakes and bays names of continents names of islands Do use the before: √√√√ names of rivers, oceans and seas points on the globe geographical areas names of deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas

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Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

Saudi Arabia

Makkah

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Microsoft PowerPoint - ARTICLE USAGE  
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