Definite and Indefinite articles
• the differences between definite and
• when and how to use those article in
Definite article (The)
• Definite article is used before singular and
plural nouns when the noun is specific or
• Definite article : The
• The signals that the noun is definite, that it
refers to a particular member of a group.
The uses of definite article
1. to refer to something which has
already been mentioned.
• An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
The mouse loved the elephant's long trunk,
and the elephant loved the mouse's tiny nose.
• I live in a house. The house is quite old and has
2. when the speaker and listener have
the same references.
• The object is present:
- The cats are sleeping.
- The milk is sour. Don’t drink it.
• There is only one object :
- Write your name on the top of the
page. (the page has only one top)
• The speaker or listener share a common
- Did you do the homework last night?
- When you leave the house, please turn off the
3. In sentences or clauses where we define
or identify a particular person or object:
• The man who wrote this book is famous.
• "I just saw the most popular movie of the
4. to refer to objects we regard as
• The sun is not very bright today.
• There are many kinds of plants in the
• The moon glows in the dark night.
5. before superlatives and ordinal
• KLCC is the highest building in
• The last chapter of the novel ends
• The Amazon is the longest river in the
* superlative = noting the highest degree of
the comparison of adjectives and adverbs (smallest, first ,etc.)
6. with adjectives, to refer to a whole group
• The Japanese
• The Malaysian
7. with decades, groups of years, month:
• She grew up in the seventies.
•December is the last month of the year.
Put a, an or the into the gaps if they are required. Leave the
gaps empty if nothing is required.
1) I had ___ sandwich for ___ lunch today.
2) We flew to ___ Dublin Airport in ___ Ireland.
3) It was ___ long flight, but eventually we
arrived in ____ USA.
4) I`m going to ___ shops. I`ll be back in few
5) Did you like ___ food at ___ party yesterday?
Complete the story by putting a, an or the into the
Yesterday I was sitting on ___ 6 o’clock train when
I saw ___ stranger man walking around with
along the platform. He came into the carriage of
___ train where I was sitting, he sat in the seat
opposite mine. He opened___ newspaper and
started reading it. On ___ front page of ___
newspaper, there was ___ picture of ___ bank
robber. The words under ____ picture were:
‘wanted by the police’. It was ____ same man!
Indefinite article ( a, an)
• Use :
– A = with nouns starting with a consonant ( letters
from b to z except the vowel)
> Examples: a cat , a house.
– An =with nouns starting with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u)
> Examples: an apple , an opera.
using a or an depends on the sound
that begins the next word. So...
• An before an h mute or silent h
– an hour, an honour.
• A before u and eu when they sound like 'you‘
– a european, a university, a unit.
The uses of indefinite article
1.To refer to something for
the first time:
• Would you like a drink?
• I've finally got a good job.
2. to refer to a particular member
of a group or class
with names of jobs:
• John is a doctor.
• Mary is training to be an engineer.
Sherlockwas playing a violin when the Holmes
With religion and nationality:
• John is an Englishman.
Kate is a Catholic.
Sherlock was playing a violin when the Holmes visitor
3 ways on how does to, refer to a
kind of, or example of something…
–it was a very strange car.
–the mouse had a tiny nose
–the elephant had a long trunk
• A also known as 'one', referring to a single object
– What a shame!
She's such a beautiful girl.
• meaning 'one', referring to a single object or person:
– I'd like an orange and two lemons please.
– The burglar took a diamond necklace and a valuable
• An occasion in speech or writing where a noun or noun phrase is
not preceded by an article. (a, an, the)
• Zero article is used with/by:
1. proper nouns
2. mass nouns
3. plural count nouns
4. plural non-count nouns
4. means of transport and communication
5. means institutions of life and society
6. means times of day and night.
7. means of seasons
Examples of zero article with proper nouns.
1. Aaron Aziz is a very great actor.
2. Ayam Penyet restaurant is next to Subway
3. I love to eat Oreo.
Examples of zero article with mass nouns.
1. Mathematic is my favourite subject.
2. My school teachers gave homework everyday.
3. We can gain a lot of knowledge from watching
Examples of zero article with plural count nouns.
1. Frogs have long hind legs.
2. Boys are not allowed to enter Mawar College.
3. Common pets in my neighbourhood is cats.
Examples of zero article with plural non-count
1. Sugar is sweet.
2. We need oxygen in order to live.
3. Water is essential for living things.
• Examples of zero article by means of transport
1. I come to school by car.
2. We went there by train.
3. We communicate with each other by telephone.
Examples of zero article by means of institutions
of life and society.
1. His father is in jail.
2. I go to college 5 days in a week.
3. She live off campus.
Examples of zero article by means of times of
day and night.
1. She turn on the radio at dawn.
2. They have to go back before midnight.
3. She was doing her homework all week.
Examples of zero article by means of seasons.
1. There are snows in winter.
2. Summer is when they are having their break.
3. Autumn is my favourite season.
Examples of zero article by means of meals.
1. It was time for breakfast when he fainted.
2. He always finishes his homework before
3. They had their group discussion after dinner.
1. He was sent to ____ for theft
prison, the prison
2. I like ____ food.
Indian, the Indian
3. Do you like _____ cheese?
Stilton, the Stilton
4. She was born in ____.
France, the France
5. Do you often go to _____?
mosque, the mosque
Provide additional information about the proximity
of the noun to the speaker.
This and These – refer to nouns perceived as
close to speaker (space, position, time)
That and Those – refer to nouns perceived as far
from speaker (space, position, time)
This and That – singular determiners – with
singular countable and uncountable nouns
These and Those – plural determiners – only with
plural, countable nouns
TYPES OF DEMONSTRATIVES
- describes a noun
* Give me the red book.
* Give me that book.
- takes the place of a noun
* That pencil is yours; this is mine
* This book is mine; that is yours.
Demonstrative can behave either as pronouns or
As pronouns, they identify or point to nouns.
- That is incredible!
- I will never forget this.
As determiners, demonstratives adjectivally modify a
noun that follows.
- These (pancakes) are delicious.
- Those (waffles) were even better.
- This (book in my hand) is well written.
- That (book that I’m pointing to) is not good.
A sense of emotional distance or disdain can be
conveyed with demonstrative pronouns:
- You’re going to wear these?
- This is the best you can do?
When used as subjects, it can be refer to objects
- This is my father.
- That is my book.
Position of demonstratives:
• Before the noun
-This milk is pasteurised.
• Before the word ‘one’
- This car looks cleaner than that one.
• Before an adjective + noun
- Do you remember that wonderful day in June?
• Alone when the noun is understood.
- I’ll never forget this.
‘this’ and ‘that’ can function as both adjectives
- This book is mine. (adjective)
- This (one) is mine. (pronoun)
- That book is yours. (adjective)
- That (one) is yours. (pronoun)
TABLE OF DEMONSTRATIVES
1. (Talking about a book in your hand) How could you
buy something like _____?
2. (With a bowl of cherries on your lap) ______ cherries
3. Could you bring me _____ book I left in the garden?
4. I hate ____books which tell you: “ ____ is what you
have to do to become rich.".
5. (About a picture you've just taken from your wallet)
____is my wife.
• Possessive determiners are used to indicate possession of or some
other relationship to the noun.
• Possessive determiners are also erroneously referred to as
possessive adjectives and sometimes incorrectly categorized as
• Possessive determiners are categorized as WEAK possessive
• Unlike possessive nouns, possessive determiners never take an
• The possessive determiners in English are
• The structure to use possessive determiners:
Possessive determiners + noun
I thought my wallet was lost.
How can we get your dog to obey?
His gym shoes are on the floor.
Her marriage was a disaster.
The tiger licked its paw.
Our vacation was fantastic.
The lawyers knew their client was probably guilty.
• The house is mine.
• Is this yours?
• The car will be hers.
____ name is John. This is ____ friend Jason. He's 12.
____ sister is nine. ____ pet is a budgie. ____ name is Dickens. Jason and I go to
the same school. There are 450 boys and girls in ____school. Jason's form teacher
is Mrs. Peterson. She has got a pet, too. ____ pet is a tortoise. Our form teacher is
Mr. Smith. I like ____ lessons. He has two dogs. The dogs love to play in the
garden. Now I have a question for you. What's____ pet?
1. Mr. Brown has got a new car. ____ colour is red.
2. 'Where is Sue?' 'She's washing ____ hands.'
3. Peter is doing ____ homework.
4. My brother and I are tidying ____ things.
5. They are going to the cinema tonight. They have already
got ____ tickets.
6. 'What are you doing?' 'I'm helping ____ friends.´
7. Don't forget to take ____ raincoat. It's raining cats and dogs.
• Tell us how many or how much is being
• A quantifier, as its name implies,
expresses quantity. Quantifiers can be a
single word or a phrase and are used
with nouns. They can be used with both
a countable or an uncountable noun to
express amount or quantity.
• Quantifiers can be divided into 2 categories
- countable quantifier
- uncountable quantifier
Quantifier for Countable noun
• Singular form
- every book
- neither the book
- either the book
- each of the book
- that book
- this book
- which book
Quantifier for countable noun
• Plural form
- many trees
- a few trees
- few trees
- several trees
- a couple of trees
- none of the trees
- some trees
- plenty of trees
- a lot of the trees
Quantifier for uncountable noun
• Because uncountable nouns in English do not have plurals
and cannot be counted in the normal way, quantifiers
are often used as a way of "measuring" them. The basic
quantifiers are some, any, a little, and a lot of, but there
are many more.
• However, they are some quantifiers used for describing this
• They can be classified with measurement quantifiers and
Quantifiers for uncountable nouns
- less sugar
- a little salt
- little happiness
- much sorrow
- more stamina
- some water
- all the money
- enough effort
- a lot of food
- no time
Examples of quantifier for uncountable
( measurement )
– A gallon of … ( gasoline,milk )
– A tank of … ( gasoline )
– A ton of … ( coal )
– A pound of … ( flour,sugar,coffee )
Examples for Quantifier for
– A bag of … (for candy,flour,sugar,rice)
– A bottle of … ( ketchup,beer,cooking oil )
– A box of … ( detergent,salt )
– A can of … ( soda,paint )
– A carton of ... ( ice cream,milk )
“Few” vs “A Few”
“A little” vs “Little”
A few and few, a little and little
These expressions show the speaker’s attitude towards the quantity he/she is
A few (for countable nouns) and a little (for uncountable nouns) describe the
quantity in a positive way:
“I’ve got a few friends” (= maybe not many, but enough)
“I’ve got a little money” (= I’ve got enough to live on)
Few and little describe the quantity in a negative way:
Few people visited him in hospital (= he had almost no visitors)
He had little money (= almost no money)
“Some” vs “Any”
In positive statements.
I gave him some money.
We bought some food.
In negative statements.
She didn’t have any
money. I couldn’t find any
•Some and any are used with countable and uncountable
nouns, to describe an indefinite or incomplete quantity
Structure to form quantifiers from “Some” and ”Any”
Some is used in positive statements:
•I had some rice for lunch
•He's got some books from the library.
It is also used in questions where we are sure about the answer:
•Did he give you some tea? (= I'm sure he did.)
•Is there some fruit juice in the fridge? (= I think there is)
Some is used in situations where the question is not a request for
information, but a method of making a request, encouraging or giving an
•Could I have some books, please?
•Why don't you take some books home with you?
•Would you like some books?
Any is used in questions and with not in negative statements:
•Have you got any tea?
•He didn't give me any tea.
•I don't think we've got any coffee left.
SOME in positive sentences.
a. I will have some news next week.
b. She has some valuable books in her house.
c. Philip wants some help with his exams.
d. There is some butter in the fridge.
e. We need some cheese if we want to make a fondue.
SOME in questions:
a. Would you like some help?
b. Will you have some more roast beef?
ANY in negative sentences
a. She doesn't want any kitchen appliances for Christmas.
b. They don't want any help moving to their new house.
c. No, thank you. I don't want any more cake.
d. There isn't any reason to complain.
ANY in interrogative sentences
a. Do you have any friends in London?
b. Have they got any children?
c. Do you want any groceries from the shop?
d. Are there any problems with your work?
Compound nouns with some- and any- are used in the same way
as some and any.
•Someone is sleeping in my bed.
•He saw something in the garden.
•I left my glasses somewhere in the house.
•Are you looking for someone? (= I'm sure you are)
•Have you lost something? (= I'm sure you have)
•Is there anything to eat? (real question)
•Did you go anywhere last night?
“She didn’t go anywhere last night.”
“He doesn’t know anybody here.”
There is a difference in emphasis between nothing, nobody etc.
and not … anything, not … anybody:
“I don’t know anything about it.” (= neutral, no emphasis)
“I know nothing about it.” (= more emphatic, maybe defensive)
“ Is there anybody who speaks English here?”
“There is nobody in the house at the moment.”
“Does anybody have the time?”
“When I arrived there was nobody to meet me.”
ANY can also be used in positive statements to mean ‘no matter
which’, ‘no matter who’, ‘no matter what’:
“You can borrow any of my books.”
“They can choose anything from the menu.”
“You may invite anybody to dinner, I don’t mind who comes.”
• There is also quantifiers that can be used for
both countable and uncountable nouns
• The quantifiers are tabulated below
Quantifiers that can be used for both
countable and countable
With Countable Nouns
How much? or How
a bit (of)
a number (of)
a great deal of
a lot of
a large number of
a large amount of
a great number of
a large quantity of
a majority of
Singular/Plural Countable nouns
“Much” vs “Many”
• Note: much and many are used in negative and question
How much money have you got?
How many cigarettes have you smoked?
· There’s not much sugar in the cupboard.
· There weren’t many people at the party.
They are also used with too, (not) so, and (not) as
There were too many people at the party.
It’s a problem when there are so many people.
There’s not so much work to do this week.
In positive statements, we use a lot of:
· I’ve got a lot of work this week.
· There were a lot of people at the concert.
There are many people in England, more in India, but
the most people live in China.
Much time and money is spent on education, more on health
services but the most is spent on national defence.
Few rivers in Europe are not polluted.
Fewer people die young now than in the seventeenth century.
-The country with the fewest people per square kilometre must be
-Scientists have little hope of finding a complete cure for cancer
before the year 2,000.
-She had less time to study than Paul but had better results.
-Give that dog the least opportunity and it will bite you.
• Enough is placed before the noun, to indicate
the quantity required or necessary:
“There is enough bread for lunch.”
“She has enough money.”
• Enough is also used with adjectives and adverbs:
“We didn’t have enough time to visit London
“Is there enough milk for breakfast?”
“She has enough talent to become an international
We must bring _____ food to last us the whole week.
I don’t have _____ money experience in work of this sort.
I have only _____ sugar left. It isn’t enough to sweeten the drink.
“ Oh dear!” she sighed. “ The ______ money I earn, the _____
money I save.”
Don’t add _____ salt. I have already put in ____ and the soup is
Lily spilt ______ ink on the floor but made ______ effort to clean
up the stain.
May I taste _____ of the soup that you cooked this morning? How
_____ pepper did you put?
She had ______ work to do than anyone else.
“ Will ten dollars do? Is that be ________ for you?” his father
1. The conference was attended by the leaders of ____
2. _____ of my friends are undergoing training as a pilot.
3. The man complained that _____ boys were stealing
_____ of his mangoes.
4. ______ the girls nor the boys wish to take part in the
debate. They say that they have ____ other things to
5. There are _____ people in the cinema. I don’t think
that we can get ____ tickets
6. She is surrounded by ______ of her friends, yet she
feels lonely. I have _____ idea what she wants
• Cardinal numbers are post-determiners.
• They come after pre-determiners and central
• For example;
A flight takes off or lands once every thirty
seconds from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
In 1976 there was one doctor for every 870
citizens in Japan.
• They come before the noun and any
adjectives in the sentence.
• For example;
We bought those two little red boxes in India
• Cardinal numbers tells how many and are also
known as counting numbers because they
• Hundreds and tens are usually separated by
‘and’ (in American English ‘and’ is not
• For example; 110 one hundred and ten, 1250
one thousand two hundred and fifty.
• Thousands and millions use 1,000 and
1,000,000 always with ‘a’ or ‘one’.
• For example; 1,000 a thousand, 201,000 two
hundred and one thousand.
• Use commas as a separator; 57,458,502.
The Number 1,000,000,000
• In English this number is a billion. This is very
tricky for nations where ‘a billion’ has 12 zeros;
1,000,000,000,000. In English however, it is a
• But don’t worry, these numbers are even a bit
problematic for native speakers for a long time.
The British ‘billion’ had 12 zeros (a number with 9
zeros was called ‘a thousand million’). Now
however, also in British English a billion has 9
Singular or Plural?
• Numbers are usually written in singular.
• For example; two hundred Euros, several
thousand light years.
• The plural is only used with dozen, hundred,
thousand, million, trillion if they are not
modified by another number or expression
(e.g a few, several).
• For example; hundreds of Euros, thousands of
• Ordinal numbers are also post-determiners
and occupy the same position in the sentence
as the cardinal numbers: after predeterminers and central determiners but
before the noun and any adjectives modifying
• For example;
The first textbooks written to teach English as a
foreign language were produced in the
In 1976 the second most visited country was
Spain which had a total of 30 million tourists.
The next monthly prize will be awarded on the
fifth of June.
Last year’s profits reached $56.6 million.
We are expecting further supplies next week.
• Ordinal numbers tell the order of things in a
set- first, second, third, fourth, hundreth, etc.
They do not show quantity. They show only
rank or position.
• But ordinals precede cardinals if they are in
the same phrase.
• For example;
The first two chapters of the book are an
introduction to the whole theory of systems.
• The general ordinals (next, last, further, other,
etc.) generally precede any cardinal numbers
that are in the same phrase.
• For example;
There is plenty of encouragement to be drawn
from the last two years’ performance of the
The other two books you might need to buy are
• Spelling only requires to add th to the cardinal
number; four – fourth, eleven – eleventh.
• Exceptions: one – first, two – second, three –
third, five – fifth, eight – eighth, nine – ninth,
twelve – twelfth.
• In compound ordinal numbers, note that only the
last figure is written as an ordinal number:
• 421st = four hundred and twenty-first
• 5,111th = five thousand, one hundred and
• When expressed as figures, the last two letters of
the written word are added to the ordinal
• first = 1st
• second = 2nd
• third = 3rd
• fourth = 4th
• twenty-sixth = 26th
• hundred and first = 101st
• In names for kings and queens, ordinal
numbers are written in Roman numbers. In
spoken English, the definite article is used
before the ordinal number:
• Charles II - Charles the Second
• Edward VI - Edward the Sixth
• Henry VIII - Henry the Eighth
• These words refer to a group of people or
things, and to individual members of the
• They show different ways of looking at the
individuals within a group, and they
express how something is distributed,
shared or divided.
Examples of Distributives
my, your, etc
Countable noun in the plural
Countable noun in the plural
EXAMPLE OF ALL
All cheese contain protein.
All children need affection.
All the people in the room were silent.
Have you eaten all the bread?
I've invited all my friends to the party.
I've been waiting all my life for this opportunity.
Who's left all this paper on my desk?
Look at all those balloons!
Countable in the
my, your, etc
• EXAMPLE OF BOTH
1. Both children were born in Italy
2. He has crashed both (of) the cars
3. Both (of) my parents have fair hair.
4. You can take both (of) these books back to the library.
my, your, etc
these, those, this,
• EXAMPLES OF HALF
1. I bought half a kilo of apples yesterday.
2. You can have half (of) the cake.
She gave me half (of) the apples.
3. I've already given you half (of) my money.
Half (of) his books were in French.
4. Half (of) these snakes are harmless.
You can take half (of) this sugar.
All, both, half + OF: 'OF' must be added
when followed by a pronoun
• These distributive words are normally used with singular nouns, and
are placed before the noun.
• Each, either and neither can be used with plural nouns but must be
followed by 'of':
• Each is a way of seeing the members of a group as individuals:
Each child received a present.
Each of the children received a present.
• Every is a way of seeing a group as a series of members:
Every child in the world deserves affection.
• It can also express different points in a series, especially with time
Every third morning John goes jogging.
This magazine is published every other week.
• Either and Neither are concerned with distribution between two
either is positive, neither is negative:
• Which chair do you want? Either chair will do.
• I can stay at either hotel, they are both good
• There are two chairs here. You can take either of
• Neither chair is any good, they're both too small.
• Which chair do you want? Neither of them - they're
both too small
-The two brothers love …………………..
-………………….. of them could reach in time.
-Take ………………… of these two shirts.
-………………… of the statements is true.
-I bought these mangoes for five cents …………………..
-They praised …………………. to gain cheap popularity.
-They fought and hurt ………………….
• Sandra N. Elbaum (2001). Grammar in
Context, Boston MA, Heinle & Heinle.
• Mark Harrison (1995). Grammar Spectrum 2:
English rules and practice, Pre-intermediate,
• Edward G. Woods, Nicole J. McLeod (1990).
Using English Grammar: Meaning and Form,