Articles: A, An, The or Nothing?

a, an, the, nothing article articles

A, an, the or nothing? Do you know how to use articles properly in English? Let’s figure it out!

WHEN TO USE ‘A’:
A + singular
Any single thing in a category.
It is a tree.

The first time we refer to something.
We are in a field of flowers.

The expression “What a..”
What a beautiful bird!

Jobs
Linda is a doctor.

WHEN TO USE ‘AN’:
An + singular, non-specific noun that starts with a vowel sound.
It is an apple.

The use of ‘an’ is based on the sound, not the letter! When the letter sounds like it does in the alphabet, we don’t use ‘an’. Look at the following examples:

We say a hotel, but an heir.
It is a U.F.O, but an umbrella.
It is a unicorn, but an Uber.

WHEN TO USE ‘THE’:
The + specific or obvious nouns.
One specific thing in a category.
The cows are happy.
The Sun is yellow.

The 2nd time we refer to something.
The field is big and beautiful.

Countries with “united”, “republic”
The United States is a big country.

WHEN TO USE NOTHING:
Nothing + noun
Everything in a category.
Milk is white.
Dogs are animals.

Singular, non-count nouns.
Water is wet.

Proper nouns
Angie goes to work on Mondays.
It is cold in January.

Repeated events
I eat breakfast in the morning.

Sports
Soccer is exciting!

Countries
Colombia is a beautiful country.

Concepts
Love is important.

…by (transportation)
You go to work by taxi.

GIVE IT A TRY!

Beginner Practice:

Intermediate Practice: