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How to Use Articles in English 1

There are many rules about how to use articles. We will not try to cover ALL grammar rules about articles; but we will cover the 3 most common rules you need to know. These 3 rules will represent most mistakes that most ESL speakers make.

Rule 1: We use a/an when referring to someone’s job or occupation.

Examples: 

  1. He is an English teacher.
  2. He is a policeman.
  3. She was an actress.

Rule 2: We use a, an or the (or another determiner like my, your, our etc.) for singular countable things.

Examples:

  1. I want to try a class online.
  2. Do you want a glass of milk?
  3. I loved the good English class last night.  (Note: We use the to talk about specific countable singular things)
  4.  I ate a piece of the chocolate cake. (Note: We use the to talk about specific countable singular things)

a-an-the

Rule 3: We do NOT need an article to talk about things in general, that are usually true all the time.

Examples:

  1. Dogs are good pets. NOT The dogs are good pets.
  2. Ice melts in the hot sun. NOT The ice melts in the hot sun.
  3. Cows eat grass. NOT The cows eat grass.

Lastly,

Like I said, there are many rules about articles, but if you can remember these 3 rules, you will have a good start:

Rule 1: We use a/an when referring to someone’s job or occupation.

Rule 2: We use a, an or the (or another determiner like my, your, our etc.) for singular countable things.

Rule 3: We do NOT need an article to talk about things in general, that are usually true all the time.

Please be sure to read the next post called How to Use Articles in English 2

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By Luke

ETO American English teacher

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