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ESL forum > Teaching material > a,an,the    

a,an,the



hema.chandra
India

a,an,the
 
my students were very clear with a and an usage but as soon as I introduced the ,I found they were not very clear with "the" as article.any short explanations that I can do with the kids ,pl help.
thanks

6 Jul 2012      





ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

Dear Hema Chandra,
 
The following is part of a Worksheet that I use.  I Hope that it helps.
 

    �a� or �an�, is called the indefinite article because the thing (noun) to which it refers is NOT definite, is NOT certain.  We do NOT know for certain which particular thing we are talking about.

    �the�, is called the definite article because the thing (noun) to which it refers IS definite, IS certain.  We DO know for certain which particular thing we are talking about.

 

�a� or �an�                                                   �the�

We use �a� or �an� the first time we mention something, then afterwards we use �the�.
                     � �There was a man outside my house.  The man was with a friend.  The friend was wearing an olive-green coat.  Under the coat he had an umbrella.  The umbrella had a badge on it.  The badge had a picture on it.  The picture was an elephant.  The elephant was on top of a castle.  The castle was on fire.  The fire was burning an orange flag.  The flag had a badge on it.  The badge had a picture on it.  The picture was ��
                     � �For my breakfast I had a banana, a cup of tea and an egg.  Then I read a letter from my mother.  The banana and the tea were excellent but the egg was bad.  The letter from my mother was wonderful.  I was very happy!�

 

We use �a� or �an� when the listener DOESN�T know which thing we are talking about.  We use �the� when the listener DOES know which thing we are talking about, when it is clear what we are talking about.
                     � �Peter sat on a chair.�  (We DON�T know which chair it was!)
                     � �Peter sat on the chair near the open window.�  (We DO know which chair it was!  It was the chair near the window which was open!)

 

When a word begins with the sound of a consonant, �a�, �b�, �c�, �d�, �e�, �f�, �g�, �h�, �i�, �j�, �k�, �l�, �m�, �n�, �o�, �p�, �q�, �r�, �s� ,�t�, �u�, �v�, �w�, �x�, �y�, �z�, the indefinite article is �a�.  The definite article is �the�, pronounced with a very slight vowel-sound, like th�.

 

When the word begins with the sound of a vowel, �a�, �e�, �i�, �o� or �u�, (or silent �h�), the indefinite article is �an�.  The definite article is �the�, (but it is pronounced �thee).

 
LES

7 Jul 2012