Grammar AnalysisDefinite and indefinite articles

What is an article?
Basically, articles are either definite or indefinite. They combine to a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun.

 The definite article is "the".

 The indefinite article is "a" / "an".

 The indefinite article "a" or "an":

 The article "a" / "an" is used when we don't specify the things or people we are talking about:

 I met a friend.

 I work in a factory in New York.

 I borrowed a pencil from a passenger sitting next to me.

 The indefinite article "a" is used before a consonant sound:

 a dog.

 a pilot

 a teacher.

 a university


Although 'university' starts with the vowel 'u', it is not pronounced as such. It is pronounced as a consonant sound /ˌjuː.nɪˈvɜː.sə.tɪ/.
The indefinite article "an" is used before a vowel sound:

 an engineer.

 an elephant.

 an athlete

 an island

 an oven

 an olive tree

 an umbrella

 But notice: 

 a one-sided building

 a unit

 a uniform

 a universe

 NOTE: There are no indefinite articles with the plural:

 dog is an animal. (singular)

 Dogs are animals. (plural)

 What beautiful flowers!

 The article "a" / "an" is used with jobs and professions:

 He is postman.

 His mother is an engineer.

 She is an English teacher.

 The article "a" / "an" is used with frequencies:

 They study English three times week.

 He does karate twice week.

The definite article "the":

It's used when the speaker talks about a specific object that both the person speaking and the listener know.

The car over there is fast.

The president of the United States is giving a speech tonight.

When we speak of something or someone for the first time we use "a" or "an", the next time we repeat that object we use the definite article "the".

I live in a house. The house is quite old and has four bedrooms.

I ate in a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was very good.

 No article:

1. Do not use an article with countries, states, counties or provinces, lakes and mountains except when the country is a collection of states such as "The United States".

He lives in Washington near Mount Rainier.

They live in Northern British Columbia.

They climbed Mount Everest.

2. We do not normally use an article with plurals and uncountable nouns to talk about things in general:

 He writes books.

 She likes sweets.

 Do you like jazz music?

 She ate bread with butter in the morning.

 Countable and uncountable nouns:
Using English articles with countable and uncountable nouns may be confusing.

"The" can be used with uncountable nouns, or the article can be dropped entirely as mentioned above.
1. "The two countries reached the peace after a long disastrous war" (some specific peace treaty) or "The two countries reached peace after a long disastrous war" (any

2. "He drank the water" (some specific water- for example: The water his wife brought him from the kitchen) or "He drank water." (any water)
It is unusual to use a/an for uncountable nouns. You can't say "I'd like a milk."

 "a"/"an" can be used only with countable nouns.

 I'd like a piece of cake.

 I lent him a book.

 I drank a cup of tea.


 GrammarAnalysis: used to+ infinitive

 Affirmative: We use "used to"+infinitive to talk about habits in the past. 

 She used to be a long distance runner when she was younger.

 I used to eat meat but I became a vegetarian 5 years ago.

 Sarah used to drink coffee. Now she prefers tea.

 Pierre used to fly from Paris to London. Now he takes the train.

 I used to drive to work but now I walk. It’s healthier.

 I used to work in an office. Now I go out to meet my clients.

 Interrogative: Did+subject+ use to+ infinitive...?

 Did he use to drive to work? 

 Did you use to go to school with your father? 

 Negative: subject+did notuse to+ infinitive...

 He didn't use to walk to work.

 Sarah did not use to drink tea.

Pierre didn't use to take the train from Paris to London.




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