Most English speakers recognize 3 articles:the indefinite articles a and an and thedefinite article the, but there is another theproblem: the use of no article .Articles are problematic for ELLs because:Some languages have no articlesSome have only the definite articleOthers have the same articles as English buttheir usage does not overlap
GRAMMAR EXPLANATIONSIndefinite Articles: Definite Article: No Article Extra a, an the Information
INDEFINITE ARTICLESRule Example1. Use before a noun or an adjective (+ noun) that begins with a a teacher, a good teacherconsonant sound.2. Use an before a noun or an adjective (+ noun) that begins with a an idea, an absurd ideavowel sound Note: Remember that words beginning with the letters h or u can be problematic. The use of a and an depends on the beginning sound of the word.
DEFINITE ARTICLESRule Example1. Use the when you talk about something specific. The red car is mine.2. Use the when the speaker and the listener are Joan, don’t forget to open the book.talking about the same specific item.3. Use the for the second and all other references to I have a cat and a god. The cat’s name isthe same noun. Pitchuca and the dog is called Tobby.4. Use the with the superlative form of adjectives You’re simply the best5. Use the for the names of countries that look plural, the Philippines, the Netherlandsincluding countries that end in –s or have the words the United States, the Soviet Union, theunited, union, republic or kingdom. Republic of Angola, etc.6. Use the for the parts of something (Exception: body I went to Mary’s house last night. Her kitchenparts) is awesome. The refrigerator is red, the stove is white, the clock is green.7. Use the with most bodies of water except individual the Amazon, the Mississipi River, thelakes. Great Lakes (but Lake Michigan)8. Use the with geographic parts of the globe and the equator, the Middle East, the Gobigeographic areas, deserts, and penisulas. Desert, the South
NO ARTICLERule Example1. When you want to talk about a category or group in I love cats.general, use no article.2. Use no article before abstract nouns such as feelings or Patience is a virtue.ideas.
COMMON ELL MISTAKES: WHAT YOUR ELLS SHOULD KNOW Do not use a singular count noun without an article (or other determiner). Do not use a with a noun that begins with a vowel sound Do not use the with a plural count noun that refers to the whole category. Do not use the with abstract nouns or ideas. IDEAS FOR TEACHING