English Lesson: Articles. Talking in General with Nouns

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I like dogs. I think dogs are great pets because they are loyal to their owners and always have love to give. I have a dog now, and I had a dog when I was a child. Cats are also popular pets. I like cats, but not as much as dogs.

Today, let’s continue the discussion on articles and nouns. I suggest you have a look at yesterday’s lesson first before checking today’s.

A noun is a person, place, or thing. In English, when we talk about things in general, we use the plural form of countable nouns or a non-countable noun. Here are some examples:

  • I like dogs. → Dogs in general, not any particular dogs.
  • Bananas are yellow.  → Bananas in general, not any particular bananas.
  • Fruit is very good for you. → Fruit in general, not any particular fruit.
  • Water covers most of the earth.  → Water in general, not any particular water.

When you want to talk about one thing, when that one thing is not unique or particular, you can use a or an before the singular, countable noun. The noun is “one of many.”

  • I have a dog now. → There are many dogs in the world, I have one of them (one of many dogs).
  • I ate a banana. → There are many bananas in the world , I ate one of them (one of many bananas).
  • I went to a meeting yesterday. → There are many meetings, I went to one (one of many meetings).
  • I saw a movie. → There are many movies, I saw one of them (one of many movies).

Singular countable nouns, like dog, banana, meeting, movie, cat, hand, desk, car, boy, tree, and alligator are never alone in a sentence. So for example, we cannot say, “This is dog”. The word dog needs something before it as a determiner. You can use an article or a pronoun, like this:

  • This is a dog.
  • This is the dog.
  • This is my dog.
  • This is our dog.
  • That dog is mine.

All of the above examples are possible, but we cannot say, “This is dog.” Singular, countable nouns never travel alone. These nouns are never alone in a sentence. Let’s take a moment and study the sentences from the opening paragraph of this lesson:

  • I like dogs. ← I like dogs in general, not any particular dog.
  • I think dogs are great pets. ← Here I am talking about dogs and pets in general, not any particular dog or pet.
  • They are loyal to their owners. ←This talks about owners in general, not a particular owner.
  • They always have love to give. ← Love is non-countable, and I am talking about love in general, not any particular love.
  • I have a dog now. ← There are many dogs in the world, I have one. (one of many “dogs”)
  • I had a dog when I was a child. ← Here we have again, one of many “dogs.” Also, there are many children, I was one of them (a child).
  • Cats are also popular pets. ← Cats in general and pets in general, not a particular cat or pet.
  • I like cats, but not as much as dogs. I like ← Cats in general, not a particular cat. Also I am talking about dogs in general, not a particular dog.

This is a lesson about articles. A basic lesson. We will continue this series next time. I know that articles can be confusing, but at the same time I am sure if you take some time to go over this material, you’ll get it. Feel free to leave a comment or question below!

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