Definite article – the
This refers to something specific or definite.
The usually means ‘You know which ones(s) I’m talking about’.
Kiran received the award for bravery. (a specific award)
‘Wait for me at the Kuala Lumpur LRT station’. (a specific place)
Can I use the phone? (the hearer knows that this means ‘your phone’)
Indefinite article – a / an
This is non-specific or indefinite. A / an shows that we are talking about one
person or thing. We often use a / an:
She’s an interesting person.
He’s got a loud voice.
when we say what something is, or what somebody’s job is.
This is a return ticket.
I’m an engineer.
Zero article – (-)
(-) No article is used before the names of countries, cities, streets, continents, lakes,
mountains, villages, etc.
He lives in (-) Johor, a large city in (-) Malaysia on the shores of (-) Straits of Tebrau.
(-) No article is also common before uncountable, plural and often abstract nouns when we
are talking about things in general.
Have we got any (-) milk?
(-) Oranges are nicer than (-) apples.
She tried to restrain her anger.
In general, an is used when the word following it begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u):
an umbrella, an elephant, an octopus, an idea, an apple.
If the first letter of the word is a vowel, but sounds like a consonant, then use a:
a used car, a useful gadget.
If the first letter of the word is a consonant, but sounds like a vowel, then use
an: an hour, an honest man, an MG sports car.
We often use a / an to talk about a person or thing for the first time; and the when
we talk about the person or thing again.
A man walked up to a policeman. The man took out a map and asked the policeman ...
Remember: We don’t use a / an with plurals. We can use the with plurals.
e.g. She bought the shoes last week.
Fill in the blanks with ‘a’ or ‘an’
FUN WITH ARTICLES
Fill in the blanks with (-), the or a
1. I speak __ French.
2. I often listen to___ radio.
3. ___ phone is downstairs in kitchen.
4. ___ India is a big country.
5. She’s got nice face and blue eyes.
6. This table is made of glass.
Fill in the blanks with a, an or the
1. Mr Lee bought ___ big bungalow last month.
2. Ramli wants to be___ pilot when he grows up.
3. Mei Ling is ___ honest girl.
4. ___ fire broke out in that house ___ hour ago.
5. ___ plane is flying high up in ___ sky.
6. My father works in ___ office.
7. Take ___ class register to ___ office.
8. ___ earth moves around ___ sun.
9. Sabrina gave ___ orange to ___ beggar outside the gate.
10. ___ sun rises in ___ east.
Fill in the blanks with a , an or the.
A Bag in a Bag
This is a true story. Last year I went into 1. ___ big sports shop because
I wanted 2. ___ sports bag. 3 . ___ assistant came up to me, and I told
him what I wanted. 4. ___ assistant brought me three different bags. I
chose 5. ___ smallest one and paid for it. 6. ___ assistant put 7. ___ bag
in 8. ___ large plastic bag. I told him one bag was enough, and asked him to
take 9. ___ bag out of 10. ___ other bag. He did so, but he looked very
unhappy as I walked out of 11. ___ shop.