ARTICLES

TROUBLESPOT 13

Why are articles so difficult?!
There are many exceptions to the rules.

It takes a lot of practice, reading and TIME to master them.

Things to consider
Countable v. Uncountable Singular v. Plural Definite v. Indefinite

IS THE NOUN COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE? .

e.g.Countable Nouns  Countable: things that exist as separate and distinct individual units. table finger bottle chair word girl candidate award .

How many puddles did you step in? Just one. I drank a glass of milk. Apple trees can be counted.Countable Nouns: Examples I stepped in a puddle. I saw an apple tree. Glasses of milk can be counted. .

g.Uncountable Nouns  Uncountable: things that can t be counted because they are thought of as WHOLES that can t be cut into parts. They may have abstract or collective meanings. e. anger courage progress furniture weather warmth leisure education .

therefore. How many milks? Milk cannot be counted. How many foliages? Foliage cannot be counted. water is uncountable. .Uncountable Nouns: Examples I dove into the water. I admired the foliage. I saw the milk spill. How many waters did you dive into? The question doesn t make any sense.

Pluralizing?  Most countable nouns can be made plural by adding s. *weathers. cars. dogs. etc  Uncountable nouns don t pluralize! *jewelries. boys. *angries .

. The Vanderbilts used to throw lavish parties at their mansion.Plural Countable Nouns There are a dozen flowers in the vase. There are many Greeks living in New York. London is home to several orchestras. She attended three classes today.

.BUT  Some nouns in English belong to BOTH classes they can be countable or uncountable.  The uncountable meaning is abstract and general.  The countable meaning is concrete and specific.

For example Countable: I ve had some difficulties finding a job. (refers to the general idea of school being difficult) . (refers to a specific number of problems) Uncountable: She succeeded in school with little difficulty.

(refers to a specific number of lectures) Uncountable: I dislike small talk.For example Countable: The talks will take place in Gore Hall. (refers to talking in general) .

(refers to a specific number of specific lights) Uncountable: Light travels faster than sound. (refers to the way light and sound behave in general) .For example Countable: The city was filled with bright lights and harsh sounds.

(uncountable) A cat has nine lives. (countable) .Countable or Uncountable Life is precious.

(uncountable) A kayak is made of animal skins.Countable or Uncountable She has beautiful skin. (countable) .

Countable or Uncountable We use only recycled paper in our office. (uncountable) Where are those important papers? (countable) .

drink(s).  These are often foods and beverages. bread(s).Another exception  Sometimes a usually uncountable noun can be understood as one item separate from other items in the same category. wine(s). coffee(s). e. fruit(s). etc .g. food(s).

(uncountable coffee in general) I prefer Sumatran coffees to Colombian. (uncountable wine in general) There are several French wines to choose from. (countable different types of coffee) . (countable several types of French wine) I drink coffee everyday.Compare I like to drink wine.

IS THE NOUN DEFINITE OR INDEFINITE? .

.Definite Nouns Definite article = the Used to show a specific reference with a common noun Used when both the writer (speaker) and reader (listener) recognize the noun as unique. We know exactly which one or ones are being referred to.

Definite Articles We may know the noun is unique due to general knowledge of the world or topic. The earth revolves around the sun. . She took the children to school and then took the dog for a walk.

Definite Articles A reference can be specific if it was already mentioned in the text. She ordered plants and furniture from a catalog. . The plants and the furniture look wonderful in her apartment. My daughter is looking after the dog this week. My neighbor bought a dog.

The clause or phrase limits the noun to something specific/unique. The dogs that belong to the night guard have been trained to attack. . The furniture in the shop window is on sale this week.Definite Articles A reference can be made specific by an adjectival clause or phrase that comes after the noun.

IS THE NOUN SINGULAR OR PLURAL? .

This refers to a specific dog definite. The dog that bit me ran away. This refers to any dog indefinite. the is used for definite nouns. .Singular Countable Nouns  Singular countable nouns take a. an or the  a and an are used for indefinite nouns. My daughter really wants a dog for her birthday.

a broken egg  Use a with singular nouns beginning with consonant SOUNDS. a university. a user.a or an?  Use a with singular nouns (or preceding adjectives) beginning with consonants. a car. a unicycle. a boy. a European country .

. an idiot. an unusual man  Use an with ACRONYMS beginning with vowel SOUNDS. Introductory Composition at Purdue (ICaP) handles first-year writing at the University. an apple. an ICaP memo generally discusses issues concerning English 106 instructors.a or an?  Use an with singular nouns (or preceding adjectives) beginning with vowels. Therefore. an elephant.

The guests at your party made a lot of noise. Take NO article if it is used in a general sense. . Guests are welcome here anytime.Plural Countable Nouns  Plural countable nouns: Use the if it refers to a definite. specific group.

they do take singular verbs Information is a precious commodity. Sugar has become more expensive recently.Uncountable Nouns  Uncountable nouns NEVER take a or an. .  However.

Please pass me the sugar. group. or idea.Uncountable Nouns We use the with uncountable nouns when we are referring to a specific object. . The information in your files is correct.

.Articles with Common Nouns Type of Noun Specific/Definite Nonspecific/Indefinite Countable Singular the a/an Countable plural the zero (no article) Uncountable the zero (no article) NOTE: THIS CHART IS ON PAGE 100 OF YOUR GRAMMAR BOOK.

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