Lesson fourteenth

Indefinite and Definite Articles

The words a, an, and the are special adjectives called articles.

Indefinite Articles—a, an

an—used before singular count nouns beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or vowel sound:

  • an apple, an elephant, an issue, an orange

a—used before singular count nouns beginning with consonants (other than a, e, i, o, u):

  • a stamp, a desk, a TV, a cup, a book

Definite Article—the

Can be used before singular and plural, count and non-count nouns

1. Indefinite Article (a, an)

Used before singular nouns that are unspecified:

  • a pencil
  • an orange

Used before number collectives and some numbers:

  • a dozen
  • a gallon

Used before a singular noun followed by a restrictive modifier:

  • a girl who was wearing a yellow hat

Used with nouns to form adverbial phrases of quantity, amount, or degree:

  • I felt a bit depressed.

2. Definite Article (the)

Used to indicate a noun that is definite or has been previously specified in the context:

  • Please close the door.
  • I like the clothes you gave me.

Used to indicate a noun that is unique:

  • Praise the Lord!
  • The Columbia River is near here.

Used to designate a natural phenomenon:

  • The nights get shorter in the summer.
  • The wind is blowing so hard.

Used to refer to a time period:

  • I was very naïve in the past.
  • This song was very popular in the 1980s.

Used to indicate all the members of a family:

  • I invited the Bakers for dinner.
  • This medicine was invented by the Smiths.

Todd: OK, Diana we're going to talk about adjectives?

Dianna: OK.

Todd: What is hot?

Dianna: An oven.

Todd: Yeah. what do you put inside an oven?

Dianna: Pizza.

Todd: Pizza. Do you bake your own pizza at home?

Dianna: I have before. I'm not a good cook though, so.

Todd: Oh, yeah, me neither. What is cold?

Dianna: The Artic ocean.

Todd: That is true. Very cold. What can you find down at the Artic?

Dianna: Oh, Polar bears.

Todd: Yeah, polar bears OK, have you ever seen a polar bear?

Dianna: Only at the zoo.