Exercise 1

Choose a/an, the or no article to complete the following sentences.

1 We bought some cheese and ham. cheese was delicious.

2 It's interesting book.

3 There was document on the table.

4 Experts say that coffee can be good for your health.

5 I don't have car.

6 Can you pass me water?

7 president visited our school.

8 My father is police officer.

9 Everybody knows that cats are very independent animals.

10 She picked me up at airport.


 

 

Use a/an

 

First mention

 
We use a/an when we mention something for the first time.

  • I saw an old woman with a dog in the park.

 

Jobs and descriptions

 
We use a/an to talk about people’s jobs or to say what kind of person or thing something/somebody is.

  • Paula is a teacher.
  • Paris is an interesting city.
  • When I was a teenager, I enjoyed sleeping.

Note that you cannot use singular countable nouns alone (without athemy etc.)

  • I don’t have a driving license (NOT I don’t have driving license)
  • This hotel doesn’t have a spa. (NOT This hotel doesn’t have spa.) 

 

Use the

 

Second mention

 
We use the when we mention something for the second time.

  • A man and a woman sat in front of me. The man was British, but I think the woman wasn’t.

 

Specific things

 
We use the to talk about specific things or people; when it’s clear which things or people we are talking about.

  • ‘Where are the kids?’ ‘They’re in the garden.’ (=We know which kids and which garden.)
  • Can you open the door? (=We know which door.)

 

There is only one

 
We use the when there’s only one of something.

  • This company is very profitable. The manager must be really good.
  • I’d like to live in this country, but not in the capital.
  • The moon looks beautiful today.

 

Common places in town

 
With places in a town where we commonly go (the park, the cinema, the doctor, etc.)

  • I’m going to the bank.
  • I found Peter at the station.
  • I’m at the library.

 

Superlatives

 
We use the before superlative adjectives.

  • This is the best restaurant in town.

 

Musical instruments

 
We use the before names of musical instruments.

  • Margaret plays the guitar and I play the flute. 

 

Use no article

 

General meaning

 
We do not use an article before plural or uncountable nouns to talk about something in general.

  • I don’t drink milk.
  • Women drive more cautiously than men.

Compare:

  • I love music. (=Music in general.)
  • I loved the music at the party. (=Specific music.)
  • Children are often difficult. (=Children in general.)
  • They are a nice family. The children are very funny. (=The children in that family.)

 

Meals

 
We do not use an article before names of mealsbreakfast, lunch, dinner.

  • Dinner is served at 8.
  • I always have breakfast with my children.

 

Years, months and days

 
We do not use an article before names of years, months and days of the week.

  • Friday is my favourite day of the week.
  • I think 2020 will be an excellent year.

 

TV

 
We do not use an article with TV (when used as a broadcasting service, NOT as an appliance)

  • I saw it on TV.
  • I don’t watch TV.

But: Turn off the TV. I’ve bought a new TV.
 

Names of languages and school subjects

 
We do not use an article before names of languages and school subjects.

  • He doesn’t speak English.
  • I study biology

 

next, last

 
We do not use an article before next and last + time expression (when they mean before or after now).

  • The meeting is next Thursday.
  • I saw him last week.

Compare:

  • Last year we spend one week in London (Last year= the year before now).
  • We really loved London.The last day we were really sad. (The last day= the last day of that trip. NOT the day before now)

 

a/an, the, no article – summary chart

 
a/an, the, no article
 


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