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For more information, please see full course syllabus of English Grammar
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Lecture Comments (7)

2 answers

Last reply by: Peter Fraser
Sun Mar 8, 2015 8:27 PM

Post by Sara Kim on October 3, 2014

I've been bugging my English professors about articles "a" and "the," but nobody really gave me a clear answer to my questions. I know "a" is an indefinite article and is used when nouns are not specific, and "the" is a definite article used for nouns that are specific. However, when I say " It was a sign from heaven" or "I left an apple on the desk" I am using modifiers to modify what kind of sign and what kind of apple is being mentioned, yet my ear tells me I have to use "a" instead of "the".  And when I say " I went to the beach" or " I went to the mountain" it does not specify which mountain I went, but we still use "the". Also when we say "I hiked a mountain" there has to be one mountain that one hiked, yet we use "a". Why is that? This has been driving me crazy! I hope you can answer my question.

1 answer

Last reply by: Professor Hendershot
Fri May 31, 2013 1:08 PM

Post by Shachar Aharon on May 31, 2013

Is there places that I don't need to use Articles? for example is the sentence above correct?:
"I made scrambled eggs with tomato and cheese"

1 answer

Last reply by: Professor Hendershot
Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:24 PM

Post by PABLO AGREDANO on November 25, 2012

i know get how u figure out whether to use a/an before a word. u have to listen to the sound that the first letter makes. if it is a consonant sound = a and if it makes a vowel sound = an. what is a consonant sound and what is a vowel sound


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:06
  • What is an Article? 0:42
    • Indefinite Articles
    • Definite Article
    • Examples
  • Indefinite Articles: A & An 1:39
    • Examples
    • When to Use 'A' and 'An'
    • It's About the Next Sound You Pronounce, Not Letter
    • Use 'An' for a Singular Noun Beginning with a Vowel
    • For Acronyms, Go By the Sound
    • Words Beginning with the Letter H
    • When the Noun is Preceded by an Adjective
  • Definite Article: The 5:27
    • When Is 'The' Used
    • Examples
  • Count and Noncount Nouns 6:23
    • Count Nouns
    • Noncount Nouns
    • 'The' Can be Used with Both
    • Examples
    • 'A' and 'An' Can Only Be Used with Count Nouns
    • Examples
  • Geography 7:56
    • Do Not Use 'The' Before the Names of Most Countries
    • Exceptions
    • Do Not Use 'The' Before the Names of Cities, Towns or States
    • Do Not Use 'The' Before the Names of Streets
    • Do Not Use 'The' Before the Names of Lakes and Bays
    • Do Not Use 'The' Before the Names of Mountains
    • Do Not Use 'The' Before the Names of Continents and Islands
    • Do Use 'The' Before the Names of Rivers, Oceans, and Seas
    • Do Use 'The' Before Groups of Lakes and Points no the Globe
    • Do Use 'The' Before Geographical Areas
  • When to Use Articles 10:47
    • Languages and Nationalities Don't Take Articles
    • Sports Don't Take Articles
    • Name of Academic Subjects Don't Take Articles
    • A Noun May Need One When Used as an Adjective
  • Practice 12:58
  • Practice Answers 13:35
  • Practice 2 14:24
  • Practice Answers 2 14:59
  • Practice 3 16:21
  • Practice Answers 3 16:48