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Ivanofit in Mutser
How is the difference between "a" and "the"?
Feb 5, 2011 9:35 AM
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Answers · 13
A / An a + singular noun beginning with a consonant: a boy; a car; a bike; a zoo; a dog an + singular noun beginning with a vowel: an elephant; an egg; an apple; an idiot; an orphan a + singular noun beginning with a consonant sound: a user (sounds like 'yoo-zer,' i.e. begins with a consonant 'y' sound, so 'a' is used); a university; a unicycle an + nouns starting with silent "h": an hour If the noun is modified by an adjective, the choice between a and an depends on the initial sound of the adjective that immediately follows the article: a broken egg an unusual problem a European country (sounds like 'yer-o-pi-an,' i.e. begins with consonant 'y' sound) Remember, too, that in English, the indefinite articles are used to indicate membership in a group: I am a teacher. (I am a member of a large group known as teachers.) Brian is an Irishman. (Brian is a member of the people known as Irish.) Seiko is a practicing Buddhist. (Seiko is a member of the group of people known as Buddhists.)
February 6, 2011
"A" refers to any thing, person, action, etc. "The" refers to a specific thing, person, action, etc. Examples: I like to drink a beer in the evening. Where is the beer I was drinking? Did the waitress take it away?
February 5, 2011
There are some specific rules for using the with geographical nouns. Do not use the before: names of most countries/territories: Italy, Mexico, Bolivia; however, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the United States names of cities, towns, or states: Seoul, Manitoba, Miami names of streets: Washington Blvd., Main St. names of lakes and bays: Lake Titicaca, Lake Erie except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes names of mountains: Mount Everest, Mount Fuji except with ranges of mountains like the Andes or the Rockies or unusual names like the Matterhorn names of continents (Asia, Europe) names of islands (Easter Island, Maui, Key West) except with island chains like the Aleutians, the Hebrides, or the Canary Islands Do use the before: names of rivers, oceans and seas: the Nile, the Pacific points on the globe: the Equator, the North Pole geographical areas: the Middle East, the West deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas: the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula
February 6, 2011
Count and Noncount Nouns The can be used with noncount nouns, or the article can be omitted entirely. "I love to sail over the water" (some specific body of water) or "I love to sail over water" (any water). "He spilled the milk all over the floor" (some specific milk, perhaps the milk you bought earlier that day) or "He spilled milk all over the floor" (any milk). "A/an" can be used only with count nouns. "I need a bottle of water." "I need a new glass of milk." Most of the time, you can't say, "She wants a water," unless you're implying, say, a bottle of water.
February 6, 2011
the The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular. The signals that the noun is definite, that it refers to a particular member of a group. For example: "The dog that bit me ran away." Here, we're talking about a specific dog, the dog that bit me. "I was happy to see the policeman who saved my cat!" Here, we're talking about a particular policeman. Even if we don't know the policeman's name, it's still a particular policeman because it is the one who saved the cat. "I saw the elephant at the zoo." Here, we're talking about a specific noun. Probably there is only one elephant at the zoo.
February 6, 2011
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Ivanofit in Mutser
Language Skills
English, Indonesian
Learning Language
English