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How to Use Articles in English 2

In our last post, How to Use Articles in English 1, we learned 3 grammar rules about articles:

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.

a-an-the

In this post, we look at 3 new rules NOT talked about in the last post.

Rule 4: We do not use articles for certain special places.

Examples: 

  1. I want to go home.
  2. I am at university right now.
  3. I do not want to go to jail / prison.
  4. I am in bed; call me later please.

Note: Other special places include work, church & hospital, plus others.

Rule 5: We do not use articles for modes of transportation.

Examples:

  1. I came by bus.
  2. I will go by train.
  3. You can get there by foot.
  4. I went by motorcycle.

Rule 6: We do not use articles with country names, unless if the country name includes a common noun.

Examples:

  1. Country without common noun in name: America
  2. Country with common noun in name: The United States of America
  3. Country without common noun in name: China
  4. Country with common noun in name: The People’s Republic of China

For additional explanation of this rule reference our blog: Using Articles with Country Names.

Lastly,

Here is a quick summary of today’s post:

Rule 4: We do not use articles for certain special places.

Rule 5: We do not use articles for modes of transportation.

Rule 6: We do not use articles with country names, unless if the country name includes a common noun.

Like I said, there are many rules about articles, but try to remember the rules from parts 1 & 2 of How to Use Articles and you will have far fewer mistakes. That is for sure.

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By Luke

ETO American English teacher

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