Definite, Indefinite and No Article

The Indefinite Article – A / AN

We use A/AN with:

1. Singular nouns and the first time we refer to a person, animal or thing.

2. We don't use A/AN with possessive pronouns, demonstratives or cardinal numbers.

3. We use ONE (or more) instead of A/AN when the number is important.

What is the difference between A and AN?

A is used when the next word begins with a consonant sound (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k etc).

AN is used when the next word begins with a vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u).

Try our game to practice the difference between A and AN.

The Definite Article – THE

We use THE with:

1. A singular or plural noun when it is clear/obvious which person or thing we are talking about.

2. Anything which we identify immediately.

3. Musical instruments (the violin, the guitar, the drums, the flute, the piccolo).

4. Something that is unique or there is only one.

5. Names of rivers, seas, oceans, mountain ranges and deserts (always in capitals).

6. Directions (cardinal points).

No Article

We use no article with:

1. When we refer to general ideas, plurals or uncountable nouns we do not use THE.

2. Names of people, books and plays (unless it is part of the title).

3. Towns, cities, states and countries.

(Exceptions – The USA, The UK, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, The Philippines).

4. Lakes, single islands, continents or mountains.

5. Planets

6. Sports or games

7. Meals

Next activities

Try our interactive game to practice the difference between A and AN.

Learn about the difference between Some, Any, A and An

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