When do we use THE?

    THE is used before nouns. THE is used if:

    • Both the speaker and listener already know what the noun is.

    I hear that the radar is faulty". " Yes, there's a problem with the screen.

    • The speaker is talking about a particular/special places.

    She's going to the hospital for an X-ray. Please buy me some stamps in the post office. Shall we go to the cinema tonight?

    • The noun has been referred to/metioned

    There's a TV in the corner of the class. The TV is used for video class. There's a money changer near our school. The money changer is open daily.

    • The noun is unique ( there's only one)

    The Captain will announce who employee of the month is?

    • The noun is a specific place

    The Kremlin, The Taj Mahal, The Borobudur temple, The Moler, etc.

    • The noun is a feature of the physical environment

    There's going to be a storm, the sea is getting rough and the sky is very black.

    • A country name contains a plural noun

    The United States of America, The West Indies, The Salomon Islands, The Philipines.

    • The noun is a type of musical Instrument

    "Can you play the piano?" " No, but i can play the guitar quite well."

    • A superlative adjective is used to describe the noun

    "This is the most modern vessel i've ever seen." "Yes, and it's the newest in the fleet."

    • The speaker is referring to many people as one group

    The Chinese are hard workers. The crew are all from Polland. The coastguard is concerned about the accident.


    When do we use A/AN?

    • To talk about jobs in general

    Brigitta is a seafarer and her boyfriend is a teacher.

    • With single countable nouns

    Can i have a cup of coffee and a glass of iced tea, please?

    • When the speaker refers to the noun for the first time

    Is there a marine college in your town? There's an Indonesian restaurant in Vancouver.

    • Before group numbers (a million, a dozen, a hundred) and before quarter and half

    We have a dozen boxes to send. The heaviest box weighs ten and a half pounds.

    • When it means the same as per

    The Police caught him driving at ninety miles an hour. Gasoline is $1, 65 a gallon.

    • To describe one of many objects when it's not important which one

    If you're hungry, just help yourself with an apple or a banana.

    *. AN is used for nouns beginning with vowel sound, such as: an apple, an X-ray, an angel, etc

    *. A is used for nouns beginning with consonant/y-sound, such as: a ship, a union, a book, etc.

    We don't use any articles (a, an, the) if:

    1. The noun is uncountable (instead some or any is used)

      "Do we have any juice in the fridge?" "No, i need to buy some juice and some tea."

    2. The noun is general or plural

      He doesn't like pop music. The children are afraid of spiders.

    3. The noun is abstract

      All you need is love. Not everyone likes poetry but most people like art.

    4. The noun is a proper name (except in the case of rivers, seas, oceans and areas)

      Vina is from Sragen. My birthday is on May 18. We're going away in December.

    5. The noun refers to transport in a general sense.

      They're coming by bus. Does your sister get to work by subway?

    6. The noun refers to a place which is a type of institution. This is only in general sense when it's not important to know the particular place.

      Do you go to church every Sunday? Dodo is in jail now. They graduated from college last year. I want to visit him in hospital.

    7. The noun already has a determiner

      That's my bag on the chair. Do you know his address?


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