IELTS grammar. Lesson 3: 'a', 'an' or 'the'?
Articles are the most common source of mistakes that IELTS test-takers make... This fact is not surprising! Probably every English language learner has faced this problem: "Which article to put? A, an or the?"
But don't let articles scare you! This topic is not so hard as you may think. In this lesson we'll explain you when to use a, an & the maximally clearly.
To master your articles skills, read theory in green box and complete exercises below.
Use a and an only with a single noun:
- when you talk about a noun for the first time: I saw a movie yesterday.
- when you talk about non-specific things (a building, a sea, a president, a country, an office).
Use the with both single and plural nouns:
- when you use the noun you mentioned before: I saw a movie yesterday. The movie was fantastic.
- when you talk about something specific:
- specific gallery - the National Gallery of Art,
- specific university - the University of Madras,
- specific tower - the Eiffel Tower.
- with cardinal numbers (the first, the second)
- with superlatives (the best, the biggest)
- when the noun is only one in the world (the earth, the internet, the sun)
- with countries that have plural names (the UK, the United States, the Netherlands)
- in phrase the same as.
Don't use any articles:
- when you talk in general
- we believe in love,
- woman is often responsible for child care (in general),
- but Steve talks with the woman who has short blond hair (the specific woman).
- with a single country or place (China, Fourth Street, Paris, Africa).
- Emma found (an) her umbrella.