17 August Saturday

How can you learn to use articles correctly?

Dr. PK JayarajUpdated: Monday Jan 28, 2019

Many learners of English have problems with articles, the words a, an and the. Although there are some rules about article usage to help us, there are also quite a few exceptions. How can you learn to use articles correctly? It takes time and practice.
     Use a and an when you are talking about a thing in general. Example: He has a more expensive car than I do. John has a cold. The expressions “a few” and “a little” mean “some” and express the idea that you have more than expected. Examples: He always carries a few dollars for emergencies.
He had a little difficulty with his homework. She has a few friends who can help her move. The expressions “few” and “little” (without an article) mean “not much” or “less than expected”.  Example: Unfortunately, I had little time to enjoy New York because I had to work so much.
    When do we use the article ‘an’? The article an is used before singular, countable nouns which begin with vowel sounds. Example: As I wanted to reach Bangalore early I left in an aeroplane instead of going by train. We also use an before words such as “hour” which sound like they start with a vowel even if the first letter is a consonant.
Also use an before letters and numbers which sound like they begin with a vowel, such as “F” or “8”. Examples: I only have an hour for lunch.  Does his name begin with an “F”? Here “F” is pronounced “eff” and it starts with an “E”.
    We use the article the while speaking of something or somebody already referred to. Example: Nancy had a heart attack. The heart attack seriously weakened her heart. Use the with nouns modified by ordering expressions such as “the first”, “the second” etc. Example: This is the fifth day of our conference. The can be used with plural family names to refer to the family as a group. Examples: The Robinsons love to vacation in Florida. My brother lives next door to the Jacksons.
    Generally, articles are not used with the names of illnesses or diseases. Examples: Dr. Smith visits schools and universities to educate students on AIDS. Oncologists are doctors who specialize in treating cancer. However, there are some illnesses which require the article the. Examples: the measles, the flue, the mumps, the bubonic plague etc.  Do not use an article with beeches, parks, churches, languages etc. Example: Have you ever visited Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris?
Choose the correct article to complete the following sentences.
1.This is..........fifth day of our conference.
     a)a   b)the  c)an   d)no article
2.That is .........most expensive hotel room I’ve ever heard of in my life.
   a)no article  b)an  c)the  d)an
3.He has...........more expensive car than I do.
   a)a  b)an  c)no article  d)the
4..........water  is an important resource.
    a)the   b)an    c)a   d)no article
5.The Wright brothers invented .......airplane. 
     a)an  b)the  c)no article  d)a
6.Right now, the euro is stronger than....... dollar.
     a)the   b)an   c)no article   d)a
7.He always carries........few dollars for emergencies.
    a)a,  b)an   c)the   d)no article
 8.He had ......little difficulty with his homework.
    a)no article  b)the   c)a   d)an
 9.She has........few friends who can help her move.
    a)the    b)no article   c)an   d)a
 10.Unfortunately, I had........ little time to enjoy New York because I had to work so much.
      a)a   b)no article    c)the   d)an
11. As I wanted to reach Bangalore early I left in........ aeroplane instead of going by train.
     a)an   b)the   c)a   d)no article
12.Dr. Smith visits schools and universities to educate students on......... AIDS.
       a)the   b)an   c)no article   d)a
13.John has ......cold. The cold was pretty bad. 
      a)the   b)no article   c)an  d)a
14.Oncologists are doctors who specialize in treating...... cancer.
       a)the    b)no article   c)an   d)a
15.Nancy had a heart attack. ........heart attack seriously weakened her heart.
      a)the     b)a    c)an   d)no article
16. .........Robinsons love to vacation in Florida.
       a)no article    b)a    c)the   d)an
17. Have you ever visited........ Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris?
       a)the    b)a   c)an   d)no article
18.My brother lives next door to..........Jacksons.
      a)the   b)an   c)a    d)no article
19. Does his name begin with .......“F”?
      a)a   b)an   c)the   d)no article
20. I only have .......hour for lunch.
      a)zero article    b)a    c)an   d)the
  Answers: 1)b, 2)c, 3)a, 4)d, 5)b, 6)a, 7)a, 8)c, 9)d, 10)b, 11)a, 12)c, 13)d, 14)b, 15)a, 16)c, 17)d, 18) a, 19)b, 20)c


 


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