Advanced English Grammar

 

 

Learning English Grammar



For those learning grammar, English articles never receive more than a thought or two. In fact, article exercises are usually not needed for students at the advanced level of the English language.

That said, I thought it prudent (i.e., a good idea) to include some basic information about articles in the English language here.

You can briefly look over what follows and think of it as a 'mini' refresher course. The truth is, English articles often cause students learning English grammar some real difficulties.

Other pages in this site give you some background information regarding the use of the definite and indefinite articles, a/an and the.


Learning English Grammar - Definite Article 'THE'

1. 'The' is omitted before the following:

a city, a country, [in the singular] a continent: Detroit, France, Europe
[But in the plural: The Netherlands] 

Exceptions: The United Kingdom, The Hague 


2. a family name in the singular: Mr White 

[But in the plural: the Whites OR: the White family] 

3. a mountain,  a lake [in the singular]: Mt  Olympus, Lake Michigan 

[But in the plural: the Alps, the Rockies, the Great Lakes, etc.] 

4. an island [singular]: They went to Tahiti. 

[But in the plural: The Philippines, the Canaries, the Falklands, etc.] 

5. a meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner 

I rarely ever miss dinner. 

6. a color, a game: 

Green is my favorite color. Football is my favorite game. 

7. a language (when the word ‘language’ is not used): 

Is Greek difficult to learn? [BUT: Is the Greek language difficult to learn?] 

8. a street, a square, a park: 

Maple street, Freedom Square, Central Park 

9. Most magazines, periodicals: 

National Geographic, Newsweek, Car and Driver [BUT: The Economist] 

10. a bridge, station, airport: 

Mackinaw Bridge, Kings Cross Station, Heathrow Airport 

11. airlines, companies: 

British Airways, Swiss Air, Sony, Ford 

12. illnesses, diseases: diabetes, cancer, hepatitis, etc. 

[But we say: (the) flu, (the) measles, (the) mumps] 

13. a bank, store, theater, hotel or restaurant when it is in the genitive 

(the apostrophe before the 's' is sometimes omitted): [McDonald’s, Woolworth’s, Harrows] 

14. a planet: Venus, Jupiter, etc.

15. a title: Doctor Smith, Professor Todd, President Bush, Captain Cook

16. heaven, hell, paradise: 

I can assure you that heaven and hell are real and do exist. 

17. means of transport with the word ‘by’ before them: 

by car, bus, taxi, train, etc.
[BUT: in his car, in a taxi, on the bus, on a bike] 

18. the word work meaning ‘place of work’: 

She’s still at work and won't be home for some time. 

19. percentages, fractions: 

Ten per cent of the population don't have internet access.
One half of the flights were canceled due to bad weather. 

20. a noun + number: 

Your train leaves from track 3. I’m staying in room 333. 


Learning English Grammar  *** NOTE 1***

Don’t use ‘the’ before uncountable nouns, abstract nouns, or plurals in general statements.

I like coffee. [NOT: …the coffee.]

Good health is important. [NOT: The good health…]

Bananas are good for you. [NOT: The bananas…]

The IS USED before the following:

1. a hotel, movie theater, theater, gallery, museum:


the Mirage (hotel), the Harbor (theater). the Multiplex (cinema), the Van Gogh Museum
 

2. a river, sea, ocean, gulf, desert: 

the Nile (River), the Red Sea, the Pacific (Ocean), the Sahara (Desert), the Gulf of Mexico 

3. a ship, canal: 

the Titanic, the Suez Canal 

4. objects considered to be unique: 

the Parthenon, the Pyramids 

5. some organizations: 

the UN (The United Nations) [But if an abbreviation is pronounced as a word, then there is no article] UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Fund) NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) 

6. plural nationalities ending in 'sh', 'ch' or 'ese': 

the English, the French, the Japanese [But ‘the’ is optional with plural nationality names ending in 's': (the) Germans, (the) Greeks, etc. 

7. a singular countable noun to refer to all things of that type in general: 

The computer is a valuable office tool. OR: A computer is … OR: Computers are … 


Learning English Grammar  ***NOTE 2***


'The' is optional:

i) with seasons.


He is leaving in (the) summer.
 

ii) with the word TV. 

I watched a movie on (the) TV. 


Learning English Grammar - Indefinite Articles a/an


1. 'a' is used before a consonant sound:


a university student, a one-horse sleigh
 

2. 'an' is used before a vowel sound: 

an hourly wage, an heirloom, an egg 

3. It is used in expressions like the following: 

30 miles an hour, 90 cents a pint, twice a day, $1.00 a gallon 

4. Would you like a drink? 

I’ll have a coffee, please. 


The indefinite article is generally NOT USED before uncountable or abstract nouns:


anarchy, fun, assistance, lightning, behavior, luck, chaos, permission, confusion, progress, damage, propaganda, evidence, scenery, excitement thunder, first aid, work (= one’s job) etc.

Example: Did you give him permission to leave? 

NOT: Did you give him the permission to leave?

 

Learning English Grammar Exercises

 

** Learning English Grammar... ARTICLES PRACTICE


Correct where necessary -- remove or add the right article.


1. The Greek islands are beautiful in the summer.


2. Did you visit Van Gogh Museum?


3. I always go to work by my car.


4. The fish you bought wasn’t fresh.


5. Can you tell me what happiness means to you?


6. They’re wealthy enough to be staying at Ritz Hotel.


7. She’ll be arriving at the Kennedy Airport.


8. You must see Colosseum while in Rome.


9. How much does gallon of gas cost?


10. The Himalayas are spectacular.


11. Your son has made a very good progress.


12. What’s showing at Beck’s Movie Theater?


13. The ancient Greek and the Latin are referred to as dead languages.


14. There was an interesting article in The Washington Post today.


15. The diabetes can be very dangerous.


16. Everyone says he is honest man.


17. I used to work out at a gym twice the week.


18. Do you have an evidence to support your claims?


19. Microwave oven is handy to have in the home.


20. Approximately the twenty per cent of the crops were destroyed by the unseasonable weather.


** Learning English Grammar... ARTICLES ANSWERS


1. The Greek island are beautiful in the summer.

  the
2. Did you visit ^ Van Gogh Museum?

  in OR: by car
3. I always go to work by my car.


4. The fish you bought wasn’t fresh.


5. Can you tell me what happiness means to you?


6. They’re wealthy enough to be staying at ^ Ritz Hotel.


7. She’ll be arriving at the Kennedy Airport.

  the
8. You must see ^ Colosseum while in Rome.

  a
9. How much does ^ gallon of gas cost?


10. The Himalayas are spectacular.


11. Your son has made a very good progress.


12. What’s showing at Beck’s Movie Theater?


13. Ancient Greek and Latin are referred to as dead languages.


14. There was an interesting article in The Washington Post today.


15. Diabetes can be very dangerous.

  an
16. Everyone says he is ^ honest man.

  a
17. I used to work out at a gym twice the week.


18. Do you have evidence to support your claims?

  A
19. ^ Microwave oven is handy to have in the home.


20. Approximately twenty per cent of the crops were destroyed by unseasonable weather.

Mastering the above will mean you know plenty about the correct usage of articles in the English Language. For more information about learning English grammar click on the preceding link.



Learning English grammar is doable for those who take the time to do it right. We here at Advanced English Grammar are dedicated to helping those learning English grammar by providing great information along with sound practical advice and useful exercises.

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