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A and An.
A and An mean one. We use a or an to show there is one thing that we didn't know before.
The words "A" and "An" are called indefinite articles.
E.g. A dog walked along the road. (This is the first time we have seen or heard about this dog.)
E.g. I would like a coffee. (I want one coffee. I haven't seen the coffee yet.)
We use an before vowel sounds (a, e, i, o, u). "An" means the same as "A".
E.g. An apple. An egg. An Indian restaurant. An orange. An umbrella.
E.g. An hour. (We use "An" because we don't say the "h" sound.)
E.g. A university. (We use "A" because university starts with a "y" sound.)
E.g. A green apple. (The "A" goes before the "g" sound for green.)
E.g. An orange bag. (The "An" goes before the "o" sound for orange.)
We use the to show that we already know about the object or objects.
The word "the" is called the definite article.
E.g. A man and a woman were talking. The man was drinking coffee.
We use "the" because we know the man. He is the man that is talking to the woman.
We are talking about one man.
E.g. A man and a woman were talking. A man was drinking coffee.
Here there are two men. One man was talking with a woman. Another man was drinking coffee.
We would usually use the word "another" to make this clear.
E.g. The girl was washing some plates. The plates were white.
Here you can see that we can use the word "the" with two or more objects.
This That These Those.
The words "this", "that", "these" and "those" are used to point to things.
"This" is used to show something we can reach.
E.g. This chair is broken.
"That" is used to show something we can see, but not reach.
E.g. That house is on sale.
"These" is used to show two or more things we can reach.
E.g. These plates are clean.
"Those" is used to show two or more things we can see but not reach.
E.g. Those cars are going too fast.
When we talk about people, we use "this" and "these" if the people can hear us.
If they cannot hear us, we use "that" and "those".
E.g. This is Chris. He is my manager.
E.g. That man outside is the driver.
E.g. These are my sons; John and David.
E.g. Those people upstairs work in the accounts office.
A plural noun or an uncountable noun can appear without an article. A proper noun usually has no article.
A plural noun is used to mean two or more things. E.g. men or dogs.
An uncountable noun is something that we measure. E.g. Water or rice.
A proper noun is the name of a person or animal or place that there is only one of. E.g. David or France.
When we use a noun without an article we mean all of the objects.
E.g. Oil is black. = All oil is black.
E.g. Windows are made from glass. = All windows are made from glass.
When we use a proper noun we are only talking about one person, animal, place or group.
E.g. Mike is happy with his new job.
However, when we talk about about rivers, bridges or some countries that we know we usually use "the".
E.g. The river Nile is the longest in the world.
E.g. The Golden Gate Bridge is in San Francisco.
E.g. The United Kingdom is in Europe.
E.g. Tower bridge is in London.
Each and Every.
"Each" and "Every" mean all. They are used before singular nouns.
E.g. There were five men at the table. Each man had a cigarette.
All of the men had a cigarette.
E.g. The field was full of cows. Every cow had a bell on its neck.
Each cow had a bell on its neck.
Each and Every mean the same thing, but "every" can join other words.
Each one. Everyone. Everywhere. Everybody. Everything.
We can use the word "all" before plural or uncountable nouns.
E.g. All houses must have a door.
E.g. All coffee is grown in a hot climate.
E.g. Not all tea is grown in Asia.
We can use the word "most" before plural or uncountable nouns.
E.g. There were ten dogs. Most of the dogs were black.
This means that 6, 7, 8 or 9 dogs were black.
E.g. Most tea is grown in Asia.
90% of tea is grown in Asia.
We can use the word "some" before plural or uncountable nouns.
The word "some" can be used for two objects or as much as half of everything. It can also mean a small number;
maybe 3, 4 or 5.
E.g. Some houses on our street have three floors.(levels)
E.g. Would you like some tea?
E.g. I saw some birds in your garden.
"Some" can join other words.
Somebody, Somehow, Someone, Sometimes, Something, Somewhat and Somewhere.
Any has almost the same meaning as some, but it is used in a different way.
We use "any" for negative statements and to ask if something is present.
E.g. I don't want any coffee, thank you.
E.g. Do you have any coffee left?
"Any" can join other words.
Anybody, Anyhow, Anyone, Anything, Anyway, Anywhere.
We use the word "other" to talk about a different group, person, animal or object.
"Other" goes before plurals or uncountable nouns.
"Another" goes before singular nouns.
E.g. Some people were drinking coffee, other people were drinking tea.
E.g. One man was talking with a woman. Another man was drinking coffee.
The word "no" can go before any noun. It means none of.
E.g. No dogs are allowed in the kitchen.
E.g. No man can escape death.
E.g. There is no food left in the house.
"No" can join other words.
Nobody, No-one, Nothing and Nowhere.
Numbers can go before countable nouns.
E.g. One house on the street has a red door.
E.g. There are three bridges in my village.
Which. What. Whose.
"Which", "What" and "Whose" can go before nouns to make questions.
E.g. Which car do you like?
E.g. What food do we need to buy?
E.g. Whose pen is this?
The words "my", "your", "his", "her", "its", "our" and "their" can go before nouns.
You can learn more about them here.
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