THE (The Definite Article) Is Weird – English Grammar for TOEIC & LIFE

MIchael Grammar, YouTube English Lessons Leave a Comment

A/AN and THE…the three little words in English that give many English learners a headache! Well, today, I want to let you know that I feel your pain. THE is weird. THE is one of the weirdest words in English and I have the proof in this YouTube English lesson. I’m going to talk about when we do and don’t use THE in talking about water on the earth. I hope you like it…if you do, please take a minute and subscribe to my YouTube Channel!

Using THE – English Grammar Lesson

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

I like animals. I sometimes go to the animal shelter in my neighborhood and play with the dogs. I saw a cute dog and a cute cat yesterday. The dog was white with a brown spot on his nose. The cat was black, with some white on his belly. Using the can be tricky for a lot of English grammar students, so today I want to show you how we can use the and how we think about using the. I’d like to focus this lesson on when we use the in the following situation. When we believe the listener knows exactly what noun we are talking about, we use the. There are five such situations. Use the because there is only one of these in the world: The president is going to London next week. The moon is full tonight. The mayor of NYC is Michael Bloomberg. Use the with a superlative adjective, because here too, there is only one of these in the world: Jack is the most experienced salesman in the company. The Empire State Building is the tallest building in New York. That brand of coffee is the cheapest one, but it tastes good Use the …

English Lesson: Articles with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Michael Grammar 6 Comments

English Lesson: Articles with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner As I’m sure you know, food is one of my highest joys in life. I especially love breakfast. There is something about breakfast food like eggs, toast, and bacon that makes me feel good. My sister, on the other hand, likes brunch. The brunch at a hotel in town is very good, and we go there once in a while to have it. As for dinner, I like a variety of restaurants. From steak to sushi, I’m happy going out seven days a week…if I could. The nouns we use for meals (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper) sometimes take an article, and sometimes don’t.  Do you know the rules? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson: When breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper are used to refer to our everyday meals, they is no article. I can skip lunch, but I need to have breakfast each morning. Paul invited me to have brunch at his house on Sunday. What do you usually have dinner? When breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper are used to refer to special events, or set meals at restaurants, then you need to …

English Lesson: Articles. When to Use “The”

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I saw a man and a woman today. The man was very short, and the woman was very tall. The man was carrying a newspaper. I don’t usually read the newspaper. The news is generally bad anyway, so why bother.   We spent some time this week talking about nouns and the indefinite articles a and an. Click here if you need to review. Today, let’s talk about the definite article, the. There are three basic rules for using the. Talking about specific or particular things When a noun represents a specific or particular thing, use the. Compare the following sentences: 1. I ate a banana. (It’s not a specific banana, just one of many) 2. I ate the banana I bought yesterday. (It’s a specific banana – the banana I bought yesterday) 1. We had a meeting this morning.  (It’s not a particular meeting, just one of many) 2. We had the budget meeting this morning (It’s a particular meeting – the budget meeting) 1. Jenny gave me a nice pen. (There are many pens, Jenny gave me one) 2. Thanks for the nice pen you gave me. (The nice pen is specifically the one you gave me) Mentioning …

English Lesson: Articles. Review of A & An

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

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 …

English Lesson: Articles. Talking in General with Nouns II

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I like fruit. I try to eat some fruit every day. This morning I had a banana and some grapes. I often have fruit with yogurt. I had some time this afternoon so I went to the supermarket. I wanted to get some bananas, but they were too green. 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. When we talk about things in general we use “a/an” for a singular countable noun, the plural form of the countable noun, or a non-countable noun like this: A tomato is red. A banana is yellow. A cloud is white Tomatoes are red. Bananas are yellow. Furniture is expensive. Fruit is healthy. In the above examples, we are talking about tomatoes in general, and fruit in general. We are not talking about any specific fruit or tomatoes. We are talking about all tomatoes and all fruit. Another way that we talk about things in general is when we talk about things we like. When we do, we use the plural form of a countable noun or a non-countable noun. Here are some examples: I like bananas and grapes. Jack …

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 …

English Lesson: Articles & Countable / Non-Countable Nouns

Michael Uncategorized 1 Comment

Do you like bananas? I had a banana this morning. It was cold because I put it in the refrigerator last night. I like cold bananas. I like all kinds of fruit, especially grapes and oranges. I had an orange this morning too. When I was a kid, I always had cold cereal with milk for breakfast. Now I like to have yogurt, and sometimes just toast. I want to spend some time with you talking about articles. English has three articles; a, an, and the. Articles come before a noun, like this: I had a banana this morning. In order to understand articles, you need to understand nouns. A noun is a person, place, or thing. Words like banana, refrigerator, car, and dog are nouns. There are two kinds of nouns in English, countable and non-countable. A countable noun is a noun that you can count with a number. For example, 1 banana, 2 oranges, 3 dogs, 5 cars, etc. However, there are nouns that you cannot count with a number. Liquids, like water and milk are not countable.  Group nouns, like fruit and furniture are not countable. Abstract nouns like love and trouble are not countable. Nouns like …

English Lesson: Using “The” Article II

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Today, lets look at the next part in this mini-series of lessons dealing with the. I will probably have another set of lessons on articles in the future. For many students, articles are one of the most difficult topics. One of my students said articles the hardest thing under the sun! What do you think?  As I mentioned in yesterday’s lesson, there are three articles in English; a, an, and the. Today I want to show you a few more uses of the that I think should be easy to remember. Why don’t you take a look at the paragraph above once more, and then check out the lesson below. Here are some key points: The is the definite article. The has many uses, but I can say that in general, the is used before nouns that represent specific things. Here are some more examples where the is always used. Try to memorize these combinations: The + Last, Next The last time I went to Turkey, I stayed in Istanbul. Please look at the next sentence in this lesson. The + Future & Past I will probably have another set of lessons on articles in the future. In the past, …

English Lesson: Using “The” Article

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The first time I travelled to Japan, I was by myself and spent three weeks there. I tried to eat a variety of different things, because I didn’t want to eat the same thing every day. The only thing I didn’t eat was American food. The morning meals were interesting, because many of the inns I stayed at served a traditional breakfast of soup, steamed rice, and grilled salmon. It was a bit strange the first time, but I got used to it by the rest of the trip. In English, there are three articles; a, an, and the. Today I want to show you a few uses of the that I think should be easy to remember. Why don’t you take a look at the paragraph above once more, and then check out the lesson below. The is the definite article. The has many uses, but I can say that in general, the is used before nouns that represent specific things. Here are some examples where the is always used. Try to memorize these combinations: The + First The first time I travelled to Japan I was by myself. I like to take the first cup of coffee from …