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Minggu, 08 November 2009


English Articles

An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun, and may also specify the volume or numerical scope of that reference. The articles in the English language are the and a (the latter with variant form an). An article is sometimes called a noun marker, although this is generally considered to be an archaic term.[1] Articles are traditionally considered to form a separate part of speech. Linguists place them in the class of determiners. Articles can have various functions:[2] • A definite article (English the) is used before singular and plural nouns; they are used when talking about a particular object. The cat is on the red mat. • An indefinite article (English a, an) is used before singular nouns; they are used when talking about any group of objects. A cat is a mammal. • A partitive article indicates an indefinite quantity of a mass noun; there is no partitive article in English, though the quantifiers some or any often have that function. French: Voulez-vous du cafĂ© ? ("Would you like some coffee?" or "Do you want coffee?") • A zero article is the absence of an article (e.g. English indefinite plural), used in some languages in contrast with the presence of one. Cats love fish.

  • Grammar rule 1

When you have a single, countable English noun, you must always have an article before it. We cannot say "please pass me pen", we must say "please pass me the pen" or "please pass me a pen" or "please pass me your pen". Nouns in English can also be uncountable. Uncountable nouns can be concepts, such as 'life', 'happiness' and so on, or materials and substances, such as 'coffee', or 'wood'.

  • Grammar rule 2

Uncountable nouns don't use 'a' or 'an'. This is because you can't count them. For example, advice is an uncountable noun. You can't say "he gave me an advice", but you can say "he gave me some advice", or "he gave me a piece of advice". Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable. For example, we say "coffee" meaning the product, but we say "a coffee" when asking for one cup of coffee.

  • Grammar rule 3

You can use 'the' to make general things specific. You can use 'the' with any type of noun – plural or singular, countable or uncountable. "Please pass me a pen" – any pen. "Please pass me the pen" – the one that we can both see. "Children grow up quickly" – children in general. "The children I know grow up quickly" – not all children, just the ones I know. "Poetry can be beautiful"- poetry in general. "The poetry of Hopkins is beautiful" – I'm only talking about the poetry Hopkins wrote.

More uses of articles in English

Rivers, mountain ranges, seas, oceans and geographic areas all use 'the'. For example, "The Thames", "The Alps", "The Atlantic Ocean", "The Middle East".

Unique things have 'the'.

For example, "the sun", "the moon".

Some institutional buildings don't have an article if you visit them for the reason these buildings exist. But if you go to the building for another reason, you must use 'the'.

"Her husband is in prison." (He's a prisoner.)

"She goes to the prison to see him once a month."

"My son is in school." (He's a student.)

"I'm going to the school to see the head master."

"She's in hospital at the moment." (She's ill.)

"Her husband goes to the hospital to see her every afternoon.

" Musical instruments use 'the'.

"She plays the piano."

Sports don't have an article.

"He plays football.

" Illnesses don't have an article.

"He's got appendicitis." But we say "a cold" and "a headache".

Jobs use 'a'. "I'm a teacher."


We don't use 'a' if the country is singular. "He lives in England." But if the country's name has a "plural" meaning, we use 'the'. "The People's Republic of China", "The Netherlands", "The United States of America".

Continents, towns and streets don't have an article. "Africa", "New York", "Church Street".

Theatres, cinemas and hotels have 'the'. "The Odeon", "The Almeira", "The Hilton".

Abbreviations use 'the'. "the UN", "the USA", "the IMF".

We use 'the' before classes of people. "the rich", "the poor", "the British".

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