Articles Indefinite article

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Indefinite article



Singular countable nouns (when we are not being specific or when we mention something for the first time)

There’s a good film on TV tonight.

Note: Whether we use “an” or “a” depends on the sound, not the spelling:

The news is on TV in an hour.

Being in a film was a unique experience for me.

Definite article



Singular countable nouns (when we are being specific)

Where’s the DVD you were talking about?

Singular countable nouns (when we are talking generally)

The radio seemed amazing to people at first.

Plural countable nouns (when we are being specific)

I didn’t believe the rumours about the prime minister.

Uncountable nouns (when we are being specific)

I followed the advice my lawyer gave me.

Note: We often use “the” when we are talking about something there is only one of:

The sky, the sun, the moon, the Prince of Wales, the North Pole, the World Cup

Zero article



Plural countable nouns (when we are talking generally)

Journalists often face dangerous situations.

Uncountable nouns (when we are talking generally)

News travels fast these days.

Articles in phrases and expressions


Definite article: in the 1990s, in (the) summer, in the morning

Zero article: in 2008, in June, on Friday, at night
People and work

Indefinite article: have a job, work as a...

Definite article: the queen, the principal, the president, the French

Zero anrticle: become president, go to work, be at work, have work to do, he’s French


Definite article: the Alps, the Atlantic Ocean, the River Thames, the Earth, the Arctic, the USA, the UK

Zero article: Mount Everest, Paris, America, Mars, Oxford Street, Lake Superior, Crete
Entertainment and Sport

Definite article: the media, on the radio, play the guitar, go to the cinema, watch (the) TV

Zero article: listen to music, on television, play tennis/football

Definite article: the army, the police, the fire brigade


Definite article: go to the school (as a visitor), be in the first year

Zero article: go to school (as a student), be in class 3B, maths

Indefinite article: take a taxi, catch a/the bus

Definite article: on the bus

Zero artticle: on foot, go home, go by bus


Indefinite article: have a cold / headache / cough

Definite article: have (the) flu / measles

Zero article: have toothache

Public buildings

Definite article: the bank, the tax office, go to the hospital / prison (as a visitor)

Zero article: go to hospital / prison / church (as a patient, prisoner, worshipper)

Task 1: Put a or an, the or no article in the gaps in this letter.

Dear (1) _____ Jo and Ian,

This is (2) _____ picture of (3) _____ hotel we’re staying at. We were lucky enough to get one of (4) _____ rooms overlooking (5) _____ sea and (6) _____ view is lovely. We had (7) _____ good journy over here and (8) _____ children quite enjoyed (9) _____ flight. They’ve got (10) _____ lovely room of their own and they think (11) _____ hotel’s great. In general, we’ve all been having (12) _____ really good time.

Unfortunatelly, Penny got (13) _____ very sunburnt back on (14) _____ first day so she’s had to wear (15) _____ T-shirt since then , but apart from that eveyone’s been fine. Jeremy’s met (16) _____ English boy of about (17) _____ same age and they get on very well. They went into (18) _____ town on their own (19) _____ last night and bought themselves (20) _____ meal. And tonight they want to go out to (21) _____ disco – there are plenty to choose from here.

We’ve spent most of our time on (22) _____ beach so far. (23) _____ sea is really warm and clear so we’ve done lots of (24) _____swimming. Tomorrow we’re going on (25) _____ boat trip to one of (26) _____ islands and we’re going to have (27) _____barbecue on (28) _____ island. I’m really looking forward to that.

Anyway, I’ll give you (29) _____ ring when we get back and we’ll see you (30) _____ next week.

Best wishes,

Sally and Robin

Task 2: Circle the extra word in each line.

Being in the news

1 The many people who appear in the news for the first time

2 find that a sudden fame has a negative effect on their lives.

3 The national press can be an unforgiving and the loss of

4 the privacy that comes with fame is an extra problem at a

5 difficult time. This is especially the case when a someone is

6 in the news because of a tragedy or the serious crime. Just

7 at the moment when you are under a most stress, you find

8 microphones and the cameras in your face. The media have

9 a responsibility to inform the public, but an innocent people

10 are often hurt by the demand for the scandal.

Task 3: Rewrite the sentences correctly, adding articles where necessary.
1. We went to theatre last night and saw great play, although some of acting was bit poor.
2. Give me ring tomorrow before I go to work and we’ll arrange to meet at office.
3. Prime minister told reporter that government wanted to pass law banning hunting.
4. I asked hotel manager where pool was and she directed me to seventh floor.
5. They said on news on radio that Mount Vesuvius, volcano that destroyed Pompeii, could erupt again
6. Car has revolutionised transport and is absolutely vital to economy of most countries.
7. Judge read jury’s verdict aloud and then sentenced accused to five years in prison.
8. Job in media can be quite stressful because of pressure you are under to do things on time.
9. Very few people in 19th century went to school or university and most started work at very young age.
10. I have little time since I gave up karate, so I’m thinking of trying new hobby, like learning musical instrument.

Task 4: Accuracy practice. Compose sentences using the following words. Do not change the order of the words, but add words or change any word forms as necessary.

1. I / need / information / about / computer / code

2. institution / receive / money / for research / malaria

3. Lee / present / analysis / of / situation

4. horizontal / axis / represent / time

5. we / try / find / source / of / problem

Task 5: Correct the articles. Some sentences are already correct.

  1. Google originated in the research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

  2. A marsupial is a mammal, such as a kangaroo, that is carried after birth in a pouch on the mother’s belly.

  3. A good advice for anyone planning to rent a property is to read the tenancy agreement carefully.

  4. James Dyson opened a factory and a research centre in Wiltshire in 1993. A factory produced the first dual cyclone vacuum cleaner.

  5. Insufficient capital is a common reason for a business to fail.

  6. Throughout the 1980s, Marston carried out important research into dying languages.

  7. The number of patients in the hospital in the UK has risen once again.

  8. The Millennium Bridge across Thames was closed for two years while modifications were made to its structure.

Task 6 – Text editing. Edit the following paragraph, correcting any errors in noun phrases. There is more than one way to correct the paragraph. Discuss the reasons for your choices.

During the past decade, developments in computer industry have had an immense* impact on libraries. Not long ago, most libraries maintained* card catalogue of their holdings*. Each time library added book to its collection, someone typed card telling title, author, and subject of book, as well as other information. These cards were then filed alphabetically in the drawers of large cabinet. Library patron who wished to find books on particular subject searched through the drawers of cabinet, and librarians held classes for patron teaching them how to use card catalogue. Such system now seems extremely unsophisticated. Library’s holdings are now listed in computer database. The database includes information on not only the subject, author, and title of book but also its status (whether it is on shelves or checked out*, if checked out, its due date*). In addition, libraries now have databases with information about article found inside books and journal. Librarians continue to hold classes for patron, but the classes are now about how to use computer.

Task 7: Edit the following paragraphs. There may be more than one way to correct the noun phrases. Discuss the reasons for your choices.

Principle of free speech has been an important concept throughout history of United States. Many people argue that maintaining uninhibited free speech is crucial to maintaining our existence as democracy and to maintaining creative spirit within our culture. Others argue that some limits on free speech are appropriate and necesssary for protection of individuals.

Those who advocate limits on free speech frequently cite hate speech as category of speech that should be controlled. They argue that songs and films filled with racial insults are capable of causing significant harm to individuals and that glorification of violence that is found in much contemporary music is dangerous to community. Supreme Court has ruled in past that freedom of speech ends when it creates a clear and present danger to others. Advocates of limits maintain that singing about how good it feels to kill police or to burn down ethnic grocery stores is analogous to falsely shouting, “Fire!” in crowded building. It is dangerous and should be illegal.

Others argue against such limits. They argue that if we place restrictions on what individual are allowed to say, we run risk of inhibiting creativity of artists and of suppressing important discussions. If the government is allowed to decide what words or ideas are considered dangerous or insulting, soon any criticism of the government may be labeled “insulting” and banned. If artist are not allowed to say, write, or sing about hatred and violence, we may not find out what some people are thinking. It is better to expose negative idea and argue against them than to suppress them.

Task 8: Discussion and/or writing

1. Choose a city and describe one of the following. Pay careful attention to article use:

Trafic condition

The educational system

A local festival or holiday

Housing patterns

2. Describe some of the important steps a student can take to prepare for attending a university. Pay careful attention to article use.

3. What do you think are the most important things that money can’t buy? What are some important things that require money? Again, pay careful attention to artice use.

Task 9: Translate the following sentences into English.

1. Ujel nám vlak, protože jsme čekali na špatném nástupišti. Byli jsme na nástupišti 3 místo 5.

2. Tatínek je ve škole na třídních schůzkách.

3. Pokud spácháte závažný zločin, můžete být posláni do vězení.

4. Jablka jsou dobrá pro tvoje zdraví.

5. První světová válka trvala od roku 1914 do roku 1918.

6. Většina lidí věří, že manželství a rodinný život jsou základem společnosti.

7. Všechna auta na tomto parkovišti patří hostům hotelu.

8. Doktoři vydělávají víc než učitelé.

9. Pokud žiješ v cizí zemi, měl by ses pokusit naučit jazyk této země.

10. Dva lidé byli zraněni a byli převezeni do nemocnice.


ACKLES, Nancy M a Steve ELSWORTH. The grammar guide: developing language skills for academic success. New ed., 6th impr. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, c2003, xiii, 246 p. ISBN 04-720-8882-3.

MANN, Malcolm a Steve TAYLORE-KNOWLES. Destination B2: grammar and vocabulary with answer key. 1st publ. Oxford: Macmillan, 2006, 254 s. ISBN 978-023-0035-386.

PATERSON, Ken a Roberta WEDGE. Oxford grammar for EAP: english grammar and practice for academic purposes with answers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 223 s. ISBN 978-0-19-432999-6.

WALKER, Elaine a Steve ELSWORTH. Grammar practice for upper intermediate students: with key. New ed., 6th impr. Harlow, Essex: Longman, 2005. ISBN 05-824-1721-X.

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