What is an article? the words a, and, and the
a special kind of adjective found in front of nouns in sentences
The Article “the” used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular it also refers to a particular member of a group For example, if I say, "Let's read the book," I mean a specific book. If I say, "Let's read a book," I mean any book rather than a specific book.
The Article “the” "The dog that bit me ran away.”
Here, we're talking about a specific dog, the dog that bit me. "I was happy to see the policeman who saved my cat!” Here, we're talking about a particular policeman. Even if we don't know the policeman's name, it's still a particular policeman because it is the one who saved the cat. "I saw the elephant at the zoo.“ Here, we're talking about a specific noun. Probably there is only one elephant at the zoo.
The Articles “a” and “an”
used to refer to a non-specific or non-particular member of the group "My daughter really wants a dog for Christmas.” This refers to any dog. We don't know which dog because we haven't found the dog yet. "When I was at the zoo, I saw an elephant!” Here, we're talking about a single, non-specific thing, in this case an elephant. There are probably several elephants at the zoo, but there's only one we're talking about here.
Special rule for “a” and “an”
Using a or an depends on the sound that begins the next word.
When to use “a” a + singular noun beginning with a consonant: a boy; a car; a bike; a zoo; a dog a + singular noun beginning with a consonant sound: a user (sounds like 'yoo-zer,' i.e. begins with a consonant 'y' sound, so 'a' is used); a university; a unicycle
When to use “an” an + singular noun beginning with a vowel: an elephant; an egg; an apple; an idiot; an orphan an + nouns starting with silent "h": an hour
Let’s practice… I want ____ apple from that basket. an
I borrowed ____ pencil from your pile of pencils and pens. a My daughter is learning to play ____ violin at her school. the Please give me ____ cake that is on the counter. Our neighbors have ____ cat and ____ alligator. a, an
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