English Lesson: Articles. Review of A & An

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Before moving ahead, let’s take a moment to review the concepts that we have covered so far. For more details, check out the previous three lessons from this week.

Countable and non-countable nouns

There are two kinds of nouns in English, countable & non-countable. Countable nouns can be counted with numbers. A countable noun is a noun that you can count with a number. For example, 1 banana, 2 oranges, 3 dogs, 5 cars, etc. Non-countable nouns cannot be counted with a number. Liquids, like water and milk, group nouns, like fruit and furniture, and abstract words like love and trouble are not countable.

Talking about things in general.

When you want to talk about things in general, use a countable noun in the plural form, or a non-countable noun like this:

  • I like dogs.
  • Bananas are yellow.
  • Fruit is very good for you.
  • Water covers most of the earth.

You can also use a or an before a countable noun when making generalizations, like this:

  • A dog is a good pet.
  • An apple is red.
  • A vacation would be nice.

Talking about one of many

When you talk about something that is non-specific or “one of many”, use a or an before a countable noun, like this:

  • I bought a pen.
  • The zoo is helping an elephant.
  • Did you eat a banana today?
  • I think there is a meeting tomorrow morning.

Other determiners

Singular, countable nouns (like pen, elephant, banana, meeting, etc.) NEVER travel alone. In addition to a or an, you can use a possessive noun or pronoun before such a noun, like this:

  • I have an alligator.
  • I have Naomi’s alligator.
  • It’s her alligator.
  • It’s my alligator.
  • I want that alligator.
  • This alligator is cute!

Ok. That is all for our review.  Tomorrow, we will move on to the. Thanks for studying today!

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