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Section 3: Articles

For people whose first language is English, articles are not a problem, but articles can be troublesome for those learning English as an additional language. Furthermore, the rules for article use are not easily explained nor are they consistently applied. However, there is a general framework in which to think about and use articles.

Here are two facts:

  1. Articles are adjectives (sometimes called determiners); therefore, they are always connected to nouns.
  2. Article use is not dependent on gender or number; you do not have to use anything other than “a/an” or “the”.

Here are two principles for article use:

  1. Articles indicate whether the noun is a specific member of a group or is not a specific member of a group.
  2. Articles indicate whether the noun is defining a generalisation.


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