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The indefinite article - a The indefinite article is the a is the same for all genders.

a boy, a girl, a cat The indefinite article has no plural form. a boy - boys We use an if the following word starts with a vowel. the following word starts with a consonant a boy a school a girl Mind the pronunciation of the following word. a unit This u sounds like a consonant, so we use a. Use of the indefinite article a/an - before phrases of time and measurements (per week/weekly) We have English 4 times a week. I go on holiday twice a year. Our car can do 220 kilometres an hour. Tomatoes are $2 a kilo. - before phrases of jobs My father is a car mechanic. - with a noun complement He is a good boy. - before phrases of nationality Bruce Springsteen is an American. - half/quite We need half a pound of sugar. This is quite a good story. The definite article - the The definite article the is the same for all genders in singular and in plural. the boy, the girl, the cat, the computers If the following word begins with a vowel, we speak [ ], if the following word begins with a consonant, we speak [ ]. [ ] [ ] an uncle This u sounds like a vowel, so we use an. the following word starts with a vowel an aunt an old school an American girl

the following word starts with a spoken consonant the girl the book the school

the following word starts with a spoken vowel the English girl the orange book the old school

the unit Here a [ ] is pronounced at the beginning of the word.

the uncle Here a [ ] is pronounced at the beginning of the word.

We have listed some examples in the following table. There you can see when we use the definite article and when we don't. without the definite article (zero article) general words (indefinite) Life is too short. I like flowers. names of persons on the singular, relatives Peter and John live in London. Aunt Mary lives in Los Angeles. public buildings, institutions, means of transport (indefinite) Mandy doesn't like school. We go to school by bus. Some people go to church on Sundays. with the definite article general words (definite) I've read a book on the life of Bill Clinton. I like the flowers in your garden. family names in the plural The Smiths live in Chicago. public buildings, institutions, means of transport (definite) The school that Mandy goes to is old. The bus to Dresden leaves at 7.40. The round church in Klingenthal is famous.

names of countries in the singular; summits of names of countries in the plural; mountain mountains; continents; towns ranges; regions Germany, France; Mount Whitney, Mount McKinley; Africa, Europe; Cairo, New York single islands Corfu, Bermuda, Sicily parks; lakes; streets Central Park, Hyde Park; Lake Michigan, Loch Ness; 42nd Street, Oxford Street months, days of the week (indefinite) The weekend is over on Monday morning. July and August are the most popular months for holidays. the United States of America, the Netherlands; the Highlands, the Rocky Mountains, the Alps; the Middle East, the west of Australia groups of islands the Bahamas, the British Isles, the Canaries name with of-phrase; oceans; seas; rivers the Statue of Liberty, the Tower (of London), the Isle of Wight; the Atlantic (Ocean); the Mediterranean (Sea); the Nile, the Rhine, the Suez Canal months, days of the week (definite) I always remember the Monday when I had an accident. The August of 2001 was hot and dry.

We use the seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, winter) with or without the definite article. in summer or in the summer The American English word for autumn >fall< is always used with the definite article.

Sometimes we use the article and sometimes we do not. It often depends on the context. Watch the following example: The student goes to school. The mother goes to the school. In the first sentence we do not use the definite article, in the second we do. The student goes to school for its primary purpose, so we do not use the article. The mother might talk to a teacher, for example. She visits the school for a different reason. That's why we use the definite article in the second sentence.