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1. When we talk about a thing or a person without being specific, we use: a --> When the following word (name, adjective, adverb) begins with a consonant an --> when the following word begins with a vowel

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Examples: a book

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a waiter

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a talented singer

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a high mountain

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an apple

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an actress

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an unusual dress

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an expensive car

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Watch out! There are exceptions: I ) We use "a" before a vowel when the following word is pronounced with the sound /ju/

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II) We use "an" before voiceless "h". In other words, when we do not pronounce the "h"

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Examples: a university

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a European coin

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an hour

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an honest woman

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2. We use the definite article "the" to talk about something specific or unique. The blue jacket is in the wardrobe

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The moon rotates around the Earth

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We also use "the" before nouns of oceans, seas, rivers, mountains, ranges of mountains and countries with plural names.

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The Pacific Ocean is larger than the Mississippi

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Has he ever climbed the Everest?

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They haven't been to the United States yet

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To talk about families and nations, we also use "the": The Kennedies have been into politics for decades The French fought against the Germans in World War II

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Watch out! We never use articles in these cases: * before proper names of people, and most cities and countries Audrey went to England and visited London

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* before names of games, sports, school subjects, meals and languages He likes ludo but he prefers football

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We have Geography at 9 and Music at 10 A. M.

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The English have a lot of calories for breakfast

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She has studied English, French, German, Italian, Arab and Chinese at the School of Languages

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* When we talk in general about plural nouns of people or things. Look at these examples. I like films but I didn't like the film he directed last year Skirts are one of my favourite clothes but I have never worn the skirt of that shop

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1. Countable nouns are those we can count. Five people Two laptops Three oranges Two hands Five potatoes Ten CDs

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2. Uncountable nouns are those we cannot count. They have no plural forms. We cannot say: a milk, nine meats, two butters We must say: some milk, some meat, some butter

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As we cannot count those entities, we can make add words such as a piece of, a loaf of, five kilos of, a tube of... Five loafs of bread A slice of cheese, two loafs of bread, 500 grams of meat Six cans of beer

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We use SOME in affirmative sentences with uncountable nouns and with countable plural nouns. Remember that uncountable nouns only have a singular form. There were some guitars in the room. (countable)

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There are some taps in the bathroom. (countable) There is some cheese on the wooden board. (uncountable) There are some chips next to the hamburguer. (countable)

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Remember: In affirmative sentences with a singular noun, we use “a” or “an”. There is a bench in the park. There was an owl in the forest. There is an orange on the table There is a river in the valley

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We use ANY in questions and negative sentences with both countable plurals and uncountable nouns. Are there any skateboards near the two men? (countable) Has the cashier got any money? (uncountable)

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It’s late. She hasn’t got any time for the meeting. (uncountable) There are some strawberries In the baskets but there aren’t any peaches. (countable)

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Remember: In negative sentences and questions, we use “a” or “an” for singular countable nouns. Is there a goal in the football pitch? There are some jars in the cupboard but there isn't a kettle

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Certain nouns can be countable and uncountable: ice- cream, fruit, coffe, tea, pudding, cake, fish… There is a birthday cake on the table. Have the children eaten any cake? There are some fruits on the dish but I haven’t had any fruit lately.

Tags: quantifiers

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