Another 6 rules for using articles in English

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Another 6 rules for using articles in EnglishAnother 6 rules for using articles in English. We have already looked at 6 simple rules for using articles in Level A1, so now we will look at another 6 rules for when to use A, AN (the indefinite articles), THE (the definite article) or no article (this is shown as Ø in grammar books).

To follow this lesson, you will need to know what countable and uncountable nouns are. Here are a few examples:

  • Countable: ball, cat, car
  • Uncountable: milk, cheese, information

 Rule #1: Do not use indefinite articles (A or AN) with uncountable nouns.

  • I like milk but I don’t like cheese.
  • I like a milk but I don’t like a cheese.

Rule #2: We use no article (Ø) when talking about things in general (we use plurals for countable nouns)

  • Milk is good for you. (talking generally about milk)
  • Younger people often like playing computer games. (talking generally about younger people)

Compare:

  • Milk is good for you. (talking in general)
  • The milk is in the fridge. (the milk that we have in the house)

Rule #3: We use no article (Ø) in front of sports, school subjects and most countries.

  • I like football.
  • History is a very interesting subject.
  • I went to Japan last year
  • BUT I went to the United States last year.

Rule #4: If and adjective is used, then the article is used in front of the adjective, not the noun.


  • I have a car.
  • I have a sports car. (NOT I have sports a car)
  • I live near a university.
  • I live near a small university.

Rule #5: Some / any can be used before uncountable nouns.

  • I want a biscuit and some milk
  • Do you have any eggs?

Rule #6: We use the indefinite article (A or AN) with phrases like a lot of, a few, a couple, and a little, regardless of whether it is a countable or uncountable noun.

  • I would like a little milk.
  • He has a lot of information about what to do in this area.
  • I have a couple of things to do before I go to bed.
  • She has a few questions to ask you.

 

Ready to test your skills? Try our quick quiz to see what you know!


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