5 Advanced Rules to use ‘Articles (an, an, the)’ correctly | Mistakes made with Articles

You are looking to learn the correct use of English articles, that’s how you’ve landed on this English Grammar lesson. You know what are English articles (a, an, the) and you also know how to use them while speaking English, you know what are definite articles and indefinite article, but do you know when to use and when not to use articles in English. Many students make mistakes in English Grammar while using articles as they follow the basic rules taught in school. In this English Grammar lesson learn some advanced grammar rules on how to use articles in spoken & written English. Correct your English mistakes with Articles.

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Complete Lesson Transcript :-

Hello everybody today I’m going to bring you a new lesson on errors that you make when you are using the most often used articles, namely a, an and the. well, these articles are used every time but believe it or not even people who are beginning to speak English and those who speak English every day happen to make mistakes using these words very, very often. So today we are going to deal with certain rules that we are going to apply to ensure that we don’t make mistakes concerning these words and therefore speak English correctly, okay.

Rule number 1, you will not, so you don’t use the article a or the article an with a plural uncountable noun. Now we all know what a plural noun is, right? Anything which is more than one, plus one is a plural noun but what is an uncountable noun? Nouns which cannot be counted are called uncountable nouns, right? So, for example we have a noun like knowledge. This is an uncountable noun. you can’t count knowledge, you can’t say one knowledge, two knowledge, three knowledges, no you just say knowledge because you can’t count knowledge right but as per the rule you will not or you cannot use an a or an an before this uncountable noun. You can’t say a knowledge, please give me a knowledge. You could say please give me knowledge or please give me some knowledge but you can’t use a before it okay. Similarly another very often used uncountable noun which is information, okay it can’t be counted. You have two informations or three informations. It’s just information you can’t count it right? So you will never use an an or an a before it either. You could say I need a piece of information but you can’t say I need an information right. The same goes with another uncountable noun which is music. You can listen to some music but you can’t listen to a music okay, so that is how we do not use a or an an before uncountable nouns or nouns that you can’t count okay.

Rule number two tells us that the article a or an an will be used only before the sound. It could be a vowel or a consonant sound. Now growing up when we learned English, our English teachers would always tell us that you’ve got to use an A in front of a consonant and you’ve got to use an AN before a vowel and they were right you know. You can use an AN before the a,e,i,o,u which is a vowel and the remainder letters are consonants before which you can use an A right but that is partly correct because when you are using the a or the an sometimes you’ve got to follow the sound. Which means that the letter in the word could be a vowel but the letter could have a consonant sound. Let’s see how okay. The word hour we always use an hour right. The usage of a hour would be wrong. Why do you think? So well let’s look at the word hour begins with a H. We know that the H is a consonant. It’s not a vowel so it’s a consonant right but as per the rule that we grew up learning a always comes before the consonant right not so in this case because the letter H has the AH sound or the a sound which is a vowel so even though the letter is a consonant, the letter has a vowel sound because of which you are going to use an before it. So therefore you always say an hour and not a hour okay. On the other hand you have a word like uniform okay. We all know that U is a vowel right and we grew up learning that you’ve got to use an AN before the vowel but the word uniform has the U which actually gives me the Y the Y sound and the Y is a consonant which is why you always use a uniform and you will never say an uniform okay. So that’s the second rule that you apply to avoid making errors while using the a and the AN.

Okay, now rule number three tells us that we can use a or an an with a noun after it. So I can use an A and an AN if it is followed by a noun correct. So let’s see how that is going to be used. So if I say, I’m an officer okay, I am an officer. Is officer a noun? Yes, it is, so therefore you can use the AN before it because after the AN we have a noun following right. Similarly, this is an interesting movie. I cannot say this is an interesting. I have to follow that up with a noun and in this case, it is, this is an interesting movie or this is a boring movie. You have to have a noun that follows either of these articles okay.

Okay the next rule that we would need to follow for the article the, is that when we are using the, we can use it with an countable or an uncountable noun there is no specific rule to that. However you will use the only when you are talking about specific things or being very particular or you are specifying a certain thing in, you know. So let’s look at the example okay the first one says, eating meat gives you protein okay. This sentence does not have the use of the anywhere in it. Why do you think so? Let’s read the sentence again okay to see if there is any mistake alright eating meat gives you protein. We do not use the, because this statement is a very general statement. It’s a general statement we are making right but when you are making a statement and being very specific about a certain noun whether it is uncountable or countable that is when you use the word the. So look at the next sentence, we say the meat at the market may not be fresh. Now we are talking about a specific meat, it could be chicken, it could be beef it could be anything right, at the market. It could be a specific market maybe you know a supermarket near your house or a supermarket near the place you work at. So we are specifying the noun, we are trying to you know give you our pinpoint a particular thing we’re specifying it and therefore you will use the article the okay. So when you are talking about general things you don’t use the, when you’re trying to specify the noun and whether it is uncountable or countable that’s when you use the word the okay.

Okay rule number five says that you are not going to use the with a lot of things like countries. So you can’t say I am from the India. You have exceptions, you can say I’m from the UK or I am from the US or I’m from the Philippines but in general you don’t use the with countries. You do not use the with continents, you don’t live in the Asia, you live in Asia okay. States, again do not have a the, you don’t live in the California, you live in California. Okay the same applies to cities, streets and also companies with a few exceptions mostly companies do not have the word the before it okay. The same goes for English, I do not speak the English I speak English, I speak French I do not speak Spanish; I can’t say I do not speak the Spanish okay. The same goes for holidays. I will visit you on the Christmas no, I will visit you on Christmas or I will visit you on the New Year’s okay. So you don’t use the when you’re talking about holidays in general okay. Words like home, work, jail, church and college also will not have the. So you can’t say I’m going to the home, I’m going home that sounds more right, correct? I’m going to work; you don’t say I’m going to the work. I’m going to jail that sounds more better than saying I’m going to the jail correct? The same about church and college. I go to church, I go to college. You will not say I go to the church or to the college.

Okay, these are a few ways as to how you can actually avoid errors when you are using these articles which are, a an and the. I hope you found this lesson very informative till then keep practising and make sure you don’t make these errors again. I’ll be back with some more lessons until then this is me saying goodbye.

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