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Objective: To enable students to impart accuracy, effectiveness and clarity to the language and
to maintain grammatical accuracy.

15.2. Articles
The words a, an, and the form a special group of adjectives called articles. Articles have only one
function that they signal that a noun is coming.
Examples (Nouns are underlined.):
The brightly colored birds are from Brazil.
An unwelcome guest arrived at the party.
The movie had a surprise ending.
Use a if the following word (the noun or adjective modifying the noun) begins with a consonant; use
if the following word begins with a vowel. This rule allows the article and the next word to be


together easily.
There are two types of articles: definite and indefinite.
Definite article: The is called a definite article because it precedes a noun which names a specific
member of a group. This type of noun is called a specific (definite) noun. Both the writer (and speaker)
and the reader (or listener) know the identity of this noun.
The order for our office supplies was sent today.
The sun provides energy to help plants make food.
Indefinite Article: A and an are called indefinite articles because they refer to any member of a group,
rather than to a specific member of the group. Neither the writer nor the reader
the member.
The couple visited a new restaurant.
To split wood safely, an axe must be sharpened often.
Basic Uses of the Definite Article The:

knows the identity of


1. Use the before singular or plural definite (specific) nouns. Their identity is already
known to the reader for one of the following reasons:
a. The noun has already been mentioned.
b. The noun is followed by a phrase or clause which identifies the noun.
Example: A journalist interviewed the engineer who designed the plane.
c. A superlative adjective precedes the noun.
Example: John is the fastest runner on the team. (There can be only one fastest runner.)
Note: An adjective before a plural or non-count noun does not make the noun specific (definite). The noun is
specific because it is preceded by the.
d. The noun is unique; there is only one in existence.
Example: Thousands of tourists visit the Statue of Liberty yearly.
e. The context makes the nouns identity clear.
Example: My friends bought movie tickets at the box office.
2. Do not use the before
a. Plural nouns meaning all or in general:
Example: People look forward to vacations from their jobs.
b. Most singular proper nouns (See Special Rules for exceptions).
Example: Remember to call Maria in two hours.
Basic Uses of the Indefinite Article A/An:
1. Use a/an before singular nouns when the noun is general (indefinite, non-specific, one of many).
Examples: A small salmon rested on the stream bottom.
The traveler ordered an egg and toast for breakfast.
2. Use a before the first mention of a singular noun.

3. In order to use a/an with noncount nouns you must include a quantifier (a little,
a great deal of) or a unit phrase (a piece of, a quart of) before the noun.
Examples: A little encouragement can make a big difference.
The cook bought a large piece of ginger.
Use of Articles when an Adjective Precedes a Noun:
1. Do not use an article before an adjective which precedes a general non-count noun.
Example: He earned more money this year than last year. (No article is used before more.)
Exception to this rule: Do use the before an adjective preceding a non-count noun
if the noun is made specific (definite) by a following phrase or clause.
Example: Mike painted the house which he had recently purchased.

2. Use the before an adjective which describes a group of people but is not followed
by a noun. The adjective takes the place of the noun.

Example: The nurse was trained to care for the elderly.

Special Rules:
1. Places:
a. Names of countries: Do not use the unless the name refers to a group or has the word of within the
Examples: I traveled to China last summer.
The United States of America was established in 1776.
b. Cities and streets: Do not use articles before cities and streets.
Example: The shop is located at 3572 Travert Avenue in Seattle.
c. Rivers, oceans, seas, groups of mountains and islands: Use the before nouns naming these
geographical features.
Example: The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled up the Missouri River.
d. Schools: Use the when of is part of the schools name. Otherwise, omit the article.
Examples: She plans to attend the University of Washington.
My two friends both received scholarships to Whitman College.
e. Location vs. Activity (for a few nouns):
1) When a noun naming a place is used in a phrase referring to an activity, no
article is needed before the noun.
Examples: to school: Most children ride the bus to school. To church: The family goes to church
2) When the same noun is used simply to name the location, use either a definite or indefinite article as
Examples: The workers arrived to remodel the school.
The new family visited a church in their neighborhood.
2. Titles of People:
a. A title followed by a name: Do not use an article.
Example: On Monday, President Hosford will meet with his advisors.
b. A title without a name: Use the. Example: The committee members met with the president of the
3. Numbers:
a. Cardinal numbers: Do not use an article before cardinal numbers (number words
name a quantity) when the number word functions as a noun.
Examples: The customer admired the artists paintings enough to buy one.


He removed thirty of the fifty trees on his property. (In this sentence
thirty is a noun whereas fifty is an adjective modifying tree.)

b. Ordinal numbers: Use the before ordinal numbers (number words such as first,
second, and third that indicate order in a sequence.
Examples: The fifteenth page is missing. (Fifteenth functions as an adjective.)
Mary was the third to drop out of the race. (Fifteenth functions as a noun.)
4. Things shared by a family or community: Use the before these nouns.
Examples: Many homes have a microwave in the kitchen.
Citizens are invited to speak to the city council about problems.
The mayor visited the library.
5. Expressions that identify part of a larger group: Use the before the nouns in these expressions.
Examples: one of the (plural noun) One of the students was absent.
Both of the (plural noun) She enjoyed both of the performances.
Some of the (plural noun) The instructor returned some of the essays today.
Some of the (noncount noun) Some of the stolen money was recovered.
6. Second mention as a synonym: Use the before a noun used as a synonym for a word or words
that has already been mentioned.
Example: Please buy fruit, vegetables, meat, and milk; deliver the groceries to your uncle.

Preposition is a word, which is used before a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun, connecting it to
another word.
A preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest
of the sentence as in the following examples:
The book is on the table.
The book is beneath the table.
The book is leaning against the table.
The book is beside the table.
She held the book over the table.
She read the book during class.
Kinds of Prepositions
Simple prepositions: Prepositions which consists only one word.
e.g. in, on, at, with, against etc..,
Compound prepositions: Prepositions which consists of two or more words.
e.g. instead of, in the middle of, by the side of etc..,

Kinds of Prepositions
Prepositions of Place
Some prepositions show where something happens. They are called prepositions of place.
Sonny was sitting under a tree.
Theres a wooden floor underneath the carpet.
Some geese flew over their house.
John and Sarah were hiding inside the wardrobe.
There was a tree beside the river.
I have a friend who lives in America
Prepositions of Time
Some prepositions show when something happens. They are called prepositions of time.
Examples:School starts at nine oclock.
Were going to the zoo on Saturday.
No, you cant watch a video. Its past your bedtime already.
I visited my grandparents during the summer.
You must finish the work by Friday.
Ill do my homework before dinner.
Prepositions of Direction
Some prepositions show where something is going. They are called prepositions of direction.
Examples:The boys chased after each other.
The football rolled down the hill.
A man was walking his dog along the riverbank.
The freeway goes right through the city.
We were travelling towards Miami.
Prepositions with special uses
Usage of OF
Our modules are full of real life examples.
I ate a plate of rice and a quarter of milk.
Would you like a glass of lemon juice?

I need three pieces of paper.

Most of the children in my class like Education.
There are several ways of cooking Upma.
Usage of FOR
I made this bookmark for Mom.
Is there room for me on this seat?
Id like a new computer for Christmas.
Were going downtown for a meeting. I made this gift for my mother.
Is there place for me on this seat?
Id like a new Laptop for Next year..
Usage of WITH
He pounds nails with a hammer.
Mix the flour with water.
I like all kinds of food except Upma.
Everyone likes chocolate except Tom.
You should eat fruit instead of candy.
Dad is coming to the theater with us instead of Mom.
Usage of LIKE, AS and THEN
Kathleen looks like her dad.
Andrew smiles like his mother.
Prepositions Time




days of the week

on Monday

months / seasons
time of day
after a certain period of time

in August / in winter
in the morning
in 2006
in an hour

at night
at the weekend


for night
for weekend
a certain point of time






at half past nine

from a certain point of time

(past till now)

since 1980

over a certain period of time

(past till now)

for 2 years

a certain time in the past

2 years ago

earlier than a certain point of


before 2004


telling the time

ten to six (5:50)


telling the time

ten past six (6:10)

to / till /

marking the beginning and

end of a period of time

from Monday to/till Friday

till / until

in the sense of how long

something is going to last

He is on holiday until Friday.

in the sense of at the latest

up to a certain time

I will be back by 6 oclock.

By 11 o'clock, I had read
five pages.


Prepositions Place (Position and Direction)




room, building, street, town,
book, paper etc.
car, taxi
picture, world
meaning next to, by an
for table
for events
place where you are to do
something typical (watch a


in the kitchen, in London

in the book
in the car, in a taxi
in the picture, in the world

at the door, at the station

at the table
at a concert, at the party
at the cinema, at school, at




by, next to,





film, study, work)

for a place with a river
being on a surface
for a certain side (left, right)
for a floor in a house
for public transport
for television, radio

the picture on the wall

London lies on the Thames.
on the table
on the left
on the first floor
on the bus, on a plane
on TV, on the radio

left or right of somebody or


Jane is standing by / next

to / beside the car.

on the ground, lower than

(or covered by) something

the bag is under the table

the fish are below the


lower than something else

but above ground

covered by something else

meaning more than
getting to the other side
(also across)
overcoming an obstacle

put a jacket over your shirt

over 16 years of age
walk over the bridge
climb over the wall

higher than something else,

but not directly over it

a path above the lake

getting to the other side

(also over)
getting to the other side

walk across the bridge

swim across the lake

something with limits on

top, bottom and the sides

drive through the tunnel

go to the cinema
go to London / Ireland
go to bed

movement to person or
movement to a place or
for bed

go into the kitchen / the


go 5 steps towards the house







enter a room / a building


movement in the direction

of something (but not





directly to it)


movement to the top of


jump onto the table

in the sense of where from

a flower from the garden

Other important Prepositions


who gave it

a present from Jane


who/what does it belong to

what does it show

a page of the book

the picture of a palace


who made it

a book by Mark Twain

walking or riding on
entering a public transport

on foot, on horseback
get on the bus

entering a car / Taxi

get in the car

leaving a public transport


get off the train




out of

leaving a car / Taxi

get out of the taxi


rise or fall of something

travelling (other than walking
or horse riding)

prices have risen by 10

by car, by bus

for age

she learned Russian at 45

for topics, meaning what


we were talking about you



Exercise [Set-1]

Fill in the article a, an or the where necessary. Choose x where no article is used.
1) I like_______ blue T-shirt over there better than_______ red one.
2) Their car does 150 miles _____hour.
3) Where's______ USB drive I lent you last week?
4) Do you still live in _______Bristol?
5) Is your mother working in______ old office building?
6) Carol's father works as______ electrician.
7) The tomatoes are 99 pence ________kilo.
8) What do you usually have for____ breakfast?
9) Ben has _______terrible headache.
10) After this tour you have _______whole afternoon free to explore
the city.
Exercise [Set-2]

Decide whether to use the definite article the or not. If you do not need the article the, use
1) My grandmother likes_____ flowers very much.
2) I love ____flowers in your garden.
3) See you on_____Wednesday.
4) I always listen to______ radio in the morning.
5) Alex goes to work by_____ bus.
6) Don't be late for_____ school.
7) Listen! Dennis is playing _______trumpet.
8) We often see our cousins over_______ Easter.
9) She has never been to ______Alps before.
10) What about going to Australia in ______February?
Write the correct forms of the indefinite articles into the gaps.
1) There is____new English book on the desk.
2) She's reading___old comic.
3) They've got___idea.
4) He is drinking______cup of coffee.
5) The girl is_______pilot.
6) Leipzig has_____airport.

7) This is____expensive bike.
8) Look! There's_____bird flying.
9) My father is_____honest person.
10) My friend likes to be____astronaut.
Fill each blank with a', an', the' or leave it blank.
1. He left _____ home without informing anyone.
2. Do you need _____ degree in Economics or _____ degree in finance to be a better manager?
3. When we arrived, she went straight to _____ kitchen and started to prepare _____ meal for
4. He has _____ cut on his leg and _____ bruise on _____ chin.
5. _____ Mt. Everest is _____ highest mountain in _____ world.
6. Switch off _____ air-conditioner please. I have _____ cold.
7. We reached _____ top of _____ hill during _____ afternoon.
8. Do you like _____ weather here? Isn't it too hot during _____ day but it is very cold at
_____ night?
9. Attempt has been made to collect _____ funds to start _____ public library in _____ town
where I live.
10. There is _____ box of sweets on _____ table.

Exercise [Set-1]
Complete the exercise according to the above picture.[Preposition of place]

_______the picture, I can see a woman.

The woman is sitting_____ a table.
She is sitting________ a chair.
There is another chair _________the woman.
Her feet are_______ the table
The woman is holding a cup ______her hands.
_______the table are a laptop, a paper, a calculator, an appointment calendar, two pens
and a muffin.
8. The woman is looking ____her laptop.
9. The woman's bag is _______the table.

Exercise [Set-2]
Fill in the blanks with correct prepositions.[Preposition of time]
1. Peter is playing tennis________Sunday.
2. My brother's birthday is_______the 5th of November.
3. My birthday is_________May.
4. We are going to see my parents_________the weekend.
5. ________1666, a great fire broke out in London.
6. I don't like walking alone in the streets_______night.
7. What are you doing_______he afternoon?
8. My friend has been living in Canada_______two years.
9. I have been waiting for you_______seven o'clock.
10. I will have finished this essay_________Friday.
Exercise [Set-3]
Fill in the blanks with correct prepositions. [Since and for]
1. I have been waiting _______4 o'clock.
2. Sue has only been waiting _____20 minutes.
3. Tim and Tina have been learning English _____six years.
4. Fred and Frida have been learning French _______1998.
5. Joe and Josephine have been going out together _______Valentine's Day.
6. I haven't been on holiday______ last July.
7. Mary has been saving her money______ many years.
8. I haven't eaten anything _______breakfast.
9. You have been watching TV ________hours.
10. We have been living here_______ 2 months.
A Communicative Grammar by Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik.