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The, a/an

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

A and an are called indefinite articles.
A is used before singular count nouns.
A car, a book, a child, a holiday

An is used with count nouns beginning with a vowel sound.
An apple, an elephant and notice; an hour but a European. ( the 'h' in hour is silent. The 'e' in European is not a vowel sound)

Definite article – The

'The' is used before singular and plural, count and non-count nouns.

Indefinite article

A or an are used before singular nouns that are not specified (not mentioned before):
A pen, an orange
I saw a beautiful scarf that I had to buy.
I'd love a cup of tea.

A and an are used in adverbial phrases of amount, quantity, or degree:
The film was a bit disappointing.
I was a bit depressed.

A and an are used with collectives and some numbers:
A dozen, a litre

Definite article

The is used to indicate a noun that is definite or has been specified (mentioned) before in context:
The door is open.
I loved the presents I got for my birthday.

The is used to speak about things that are unique:
I live by the sea.
The sun is getting stronger in summer.

The is used to refer to a time period:
He was a very successful business man in the past.
I remember the 90s very well.

Now choose the correct article for the following:

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

  • 1) Do you have _ umbrella I can borrow?

  • 2) Where do you keep _ coffee?

  • 3) You have _ letter from the council.

  • 4) Would you like _ coffee?

  • 5) We will be leaving in _ hour.

  • 6) Have you seen _ Coliseum in Rome?

  • 7) Can I speak to _ manager please?

  • 8) It was _ little bit cold this morning.

  • 9) This is _ amazing photograph.

  • 10) _ boat couldn't sail into the bay because of the rough sea.