Lesson Ten


A / An / The

a / an


Articles are used in front of nouns.

“A” or “an” are always singular.

“The” is singular or plural.

Some plural nouns don’t use an article.

When using articles, it’s important to also know the difference between count and noncount nouns.


I have glasses.


(plural – a /an )


Or….I have a pair of glasses

You have a hat.


(singular count noun)


But….the second time you describe the hat, you say:

The hat is blue.

He has some strawberries.


(plural count noun)


The strawberries are in his mouth (second mention).

She has a popsicle.


(singular count noun)


The popsicle tastes good!


Popsicles taste good.

The cat has some water.

(Water is a non-count noun)

a / an )

catThe water is in a bowl. The bowl is purple.

We have time to learn English.

(time and English are noncount nouns. Sometimes the is used; sometimes it isn’t.)

pic  I + you = we


They have a good relationship.

(relationship is a singular count noun)


All three children have popsicles.

The popsicles taste good.

(Popsicle is a plural count noun)


Click here for a video about using “a” or “an.”

Click here for a video about using “the.”

There are a lot of rules for articles:

1. Don’t put an article in front of the name of a place.

  • Correct: Minneapolis is a great city.
  • Not correct: The Minneapolis is a great city.

But it is correct to use the name of a place as an adjective:

  • The Minneapolis skyline is beautiful at night.
  • The Chicago River is painted green on St. Patrick’s Day.


2. Indefinite amounts or general qualities don’t take an article.

  • Pennies are made of copper.
  • The copper in this penny is turning brown. (This is a specific amount.)
  • Water is good for you.
  • The water in this glass tastes bad. (This is a specific amount.)
  • Honesty is the best policy.


3. Don’t use an article with possessive nouns or pronouns.

This is the Paul’s website.


4. The definite article can be used with singular or plural nouns:

  • The apples taste great. (plural)
  • The apple tastes great. (singular)
  • Apples taste great. (general category)
  • The water is clean. (noncount noun)
  • Water is necessary for life.


Click here for an exercise.

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