It is important to use "a"/"an" or "the" accurately. Fortunately, there are some basic rules you can learn which will help you and after that it is a case of practice, practice and more practice!
Simply, use "a" with singular countable nouns that begin with a consonant/consonant sound. For example, a hat, a cat, a ticket, a university.
Use "an" when the singular countable noun begins with a vowel. For example, an apple, an elephant, an igloo, an octopus, an umbrella.
"a" or "an" means 'one' or 'any one'.
Use "the" with singular and plural nouns and with all adjectives. For example, the car/the cars, the old hat/the old hats.
"the" refers to the specific noun which both the speaker and listener understand.
Watch the video for an explanation of indefinite, definite and zero articles.
Test your knowledge of articles by answering the questions
- True or False: We use "an" before a word starting with a consonant letter?
False. We use "an" before a vowel. For example, an orange, an iguana, an enormous ice cream.
- True or False: We use "a" before a word starting with a consonant letter?
True. For example, a coffee, a cup of tea, a cold beer.
- True or False: We can use "the" for all nouns and adjectives.
True. For example, the hotel, the black cat, the enormous crocodile.