Another 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)
- 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.