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ENGLISH ARTICLES

"A, An, The" definite and indefinite articles in English

Read the following description

I am from Taunton, Somerset. Taunton is a town in the United Kingdom. I live in a town called Ilminster, which is on the River Ile. I live in a house in a quiet street in the countryside. The street is called "Carnival Street" and the house is fairly new - less than five years old. I am an English lecturer at a college near the centre of the town. I like books, music and taking photographs. I usually have lunch at college. I usually go home by car. We have all kinds of food in England. I like Polish food very much. Sometimes, I go to a Polish restaurant in Chard. The restaurant is called "Magda's". Polish food is delicious!

Here are the basic rules for when to use "A, An or The":

 

  • a = indefinite article (not a specific object, one of a number of the same objects) with consonants
    Marek has a dog.
    Mariusz works in a factory.
  • an = indefinite article (not a specific object, one of a number of the same objects) with vowels (a,e,i,o,u)
    Can I have an apple?
    Magda is an English teacher.
  • the = definite article (a specific object that both the person speaking and the listener know)
    The car over there is fast.
    The teacher is very good, isn't he?
  • The first time you speak of something use "a or an", the next time you repeat that object use "the".
    I live in a house. The house is quite old and has two bedrooms.
    I ate in a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was not very clean.
  • DO NOT use an article with countries, states, counties or provinces, lakes and mountains except when the country is a collection of states such as "The United States".
    My brother lives in London near Big Ben.
    They live in Frankfurt Oder.
  • Use an article with bodies of water, oceans and seas -
    I live on a small island in the English Channel.
  • DO NOT use an article when you are speaking about things in general
    I like Ceylon tea.
    Simon likes reading books about history.
  • DO NOT use an article when you are speaking about meals, places, and transport
    He has breakfast at home.
    I go to school.
    Matilda comes to work by taxi.

 

EXERCISE 1

(Pre-Intermediate)

Fill in the gaps. Click on the arrow to see the answer. Don't look back at the original text!

 

I am from Taunton, Somerset. Taunton is town in United Kingdom.  I live in town called Ilminster which is on River Ile. I live in house in quiet street in the countryside. street is called "Carnival Street" and house is fairly new - less than five years old. I am English lecturer at college near centre of town. I like books, music and taking photographs. I usually have lunch at college. I usually go home by car. We have all kinds of food in England. I like Polish food very much. Sometimes, I go to Polish restaurant in Chard. restaurant is called "Magda's". Polish food is delicious!

 

EXERCISE 2

(Elementary / Pre-Intermediate)

a, an, the, zero

Click the answer button to see the correct answer.

     

  1. Laura and Jerry went to ___ cinema last night.

     

  2. Can you tell me how to get to _____ railway station from here?

     

  3. ___ school is closed today.

     

  4. Simon is one of ___ weirdest people I know.

     

  5. I recommend you try _____ potato and leek soup at this restaurant.

     

  6. ___ tea is good for you.

     

  7. Would you like to see ___ film?

     

  8. ___ apple a day keeps ___ doctor away.

     

  9. I can't believe I failed ___ yesterday's test!

     

  10. Do you have ___ pencil that I can borrow?

 

EXERCISE 3

(Elementary / Pre-Intermediate)

Click the answer button to see the correct answer.

     

  1. There were many dogs in the park. One dog was ___ Daschund.

     

  2. Rhinos and ___ Turtles are both endangered.

     

  3. Alicja is wearing ___ black shirt with yellow trousers

     

  4. The Isle of Man is ___ island in the Irish Sea.

     

  5. Easter comes once ___ year.

     

  6. ___ eagle is __ bird.

     

  7. The Warta is ___ river.

     

  8. Nigella went to the shop to buy ___ bread.

     

  9. Sally broke ___ glass when she was washing-up.

     

  10. Harry took ___ umbrella as it was raining heavilly.


EXERCISE 4

(Elementary / Pre-Intermediate)

Click the answer button to see the correct answer.

     

  1. This is ___ easy question.

     

  2. Magnus could you speak ___ little slower.

     

  3. May I have your ___ phone number?

     

  4. I have never seen ___ UFO.

     

  5. May I ask you ___ question?

     

  6. Magda is ___ best teacher in our school.

     

  7. What is ___ name of the next station?

     

  8. My girlfriend has ___ my car today.

     

  9. I went to ___ sea during my summer holiday.

     

  10. Is there ___ post office near here?

EXERCISE 5

(Elementary)

Click the answer button to see the answer.

     

  1. This is Mary. She's _____ shop assistant.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  2. Roman is ____ English teacher.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  3. That's Angie. She's ___ hairdresser.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  4. Norman Davies is ___ historian.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  5. Adrien is ____ electrician.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  6. Mr. Jones is ___ teacher.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  7. This is Hania. She's ___ checkout operator.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  8. That's Mark. He's ___ postman.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  9. I'm ____ student.
    a. a
    b. an

     

  10. Hugh Grant is ____ actor.
    a. a
    b. an

 

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