• The Article is a kind of determiner used to
identifies or classifies the noun.
• In the English language, the articles are
classified into 3 kinds:
1. Indefinite articles ( a, an)
2. Definite articles (the)
3. Zero articles (Omission of articles)
I. Indefinite articles ( a, an)
A. “a, an” and common nouns
1. “A, an” are used with countable
singular nouns in general sense.
EX: A small car is more practical than a big one.
2. “A, an” are used with the meaning :
One- each- every
3. “A, an” are used with nouns
of occupation, politic,.. etc.
A teacher, an artist, a spy,…
A politician, a president, a mayor,…
4. A, an are used to refer to illnesses:
I’ve got a headache, a cold, a pain in my heart,….
5. A, an are used in idiomatic
- To be in a hurry, to be at a loss, as a rule,
6. A, an are used after the following
words: what, such, many, quite, half,..
What an interesting story!
Such a beautiful day!
He is quite a good fellow.
Half an hour
Many a (great number) famous film
star has been ruined by drug.
B. “A. an” and proper nouns
1. A, an can be used before a title ( Mr.,
Mrs. Miss,…with a sense of “ a certain
person I don’t know.
A Mr. Dan phoned and left a message for you.
2. “A, an” are used with nouns
of nationality, religion.
Ex: An American, a German, A Chinese,…
A Christian, a Buddhist, An Islam,…
II. Definite articles (the)
A. The and common nouns
A common noun is used with THE when both
the speaker( writer) and listener( reader)
know exactly which one (s) is / are
There are 4 cases in which the speaker
assumes the listener knows exactly which
one (s) is / are meant.
1.There is only one in our world or
1.1. There is only one in our world.
The sun is shining.
We must take care of the environment.
1.2. There is only one in our immediate
surroundings( in our country, neighborhood,
The roses are beautiful.
There is a vase on the TV.
1.3. Even though there may be more than one in
the area, we use the with park, cinema,
movies, bus, and train because we can figure
out that it is the one closest or most
convenient to us, or the one we usually go to.
I took the bus to the town.
I went to the park yesterday.
2. The person or thing is identified in the
context (or conversation) through what has
been mentioned or what is going to be
mentioned, so the reader knows “ which
specific one” is mentioned.
2.1. Text- reference back (what has
I bought a skirt and a dress. The dress is
much more expensive than the skirt.
I took a taxi to the airport today and the
driver told me that the planes were running
2.2. Text- reference forward (what is
going to be mentioned)
She is studying the history of Vietnam.
How did you get the mud on your coat.
3 . There is only person or thing that can
be meant logically. In this case the
word like only, most, first, last, make
clear that only one can be meant.
He is the most popular teacher in this school.
Mary hurt herself on the forehead.
4. The class as a whole is referred to. In
this case one example stands for the
whole class; as a result, “ THE” is used
with singular count noun.
The peacock is the nicest of all animals.
Life would be more difficult without the
B. Proper nouns and THE
Most proper nouns do NOT have an article,
but sometimes, “ THE” is the part of the
name. Here is the list:
1. Plural names:
- People: The Taylors, The Jonhsons
- Countries: The Netherlands, The Midlands, The
- Groups of Islands: The Bahamas, The
- Ranges of mountains: The Himalayas, The
2. Names with the compass point in
The North, The West, The North West,…
3. Names consisting of a common
noun with post modification.
The District of Colombia
The Tower of London
The Great wall of China
The Bank of England
The House of Commons
4. Names consisting of proper nouns
and common nouns
The White House
The Grand Hotel
The British Museum
The Tate Gallery
The British Broadcasting Coorporation
5. Names of water ways, big bodies
Rivers: The Avon, The Nile river, The Thame
Seas: The North sea, The Red sea, The Black
sea, The China sea,..
Oceans: The Pacific, The Atlantic, The Indian
ocean, The Mediterranean,..
Canals: Suez Canal, Panama canal,..
6. Names of people to refer to the people
of that country in a general sense
III. Zero article
A. Zero article and common nouns
Zero article is used with plural countable,
abstract nouns, and material nouns in
Ex: Cats catch mice.
Women are fighting for their rights.
life is short, and art is long.
Gold is valuable metal.
2. Zero article is needed with
names of meals, colors, illnesses,
seasons,… in general sense.
Breakfast is ready.
I like blue.
Influenza often occurs in spring.
3. Zero article is used with names of
subjects, art, sports, games, means of
transport with by, headline news,….
Ex: Chemistry is an interesting subject to learn.
She is studying fine art.
Football is the most popular sport.
They play chess when they have time.
We went there by bus.
Fire in Dong Xuan market is unidentified.
4. Zero article is used with fixed
Arm in arm
Hand in hand
Day by day
Face to face
From beginning to end
From west to east
5. Zero article is used with some
Go to church
Go to school
Go to bed
Go to market
Go to prison
B. Zero article and proper nouns
Personal names: Dr. Watson, President
Calendar items: festivals, months, days of the
Geographical names: Continents, countries,
states, counties, cities, towns, lakes,