Using articles effectively demonstrates your ability to use English naturally and accurately. However, like many things, it can be confusing. In addition, there are many languages that don’t use articles at all, making it a new concept for many learners of English. Check out the tips below and start using articles like a pro.
How to use articles (video included)
These are indefinite articles.
- You use these when you mention something or someone for the first time. For example:
I bought a new car yesterday.
I got attacked by an animal yesterday.
- You can use them to show that someone or something is one of a larger group.
It is a beautiful car.
- You use a/an when you say what someone’s job is.
She is a doctor.
He is an astronaut.
- Only used for countable nouns
I have some information NOT I have an information.
This is the definite article.
- We use the after we have already mentioned someone or something for the first time or if the context has already informed the listener of what is being talked about. Let's see the following examples:
The car is beautiful and fast. (The car which we already talked about that I bought yesterday.)
The doctor gave me some medicine. (Not just any doctor, but the doctor I saw yesterday.)
Let’s watch the movie. (The movie that is mentioned before.)
- Can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns
- Use the when there is only one of someone or something. For example:
The moon is very bright tonight.
The president of the United States has made a new trade deal.
- Use the with superlative adjectives. For example:
The tallest man in the world.
- We don’t use articles when talking about things in general. For example:
Water is good for you.
- When talking about sports and games. For example:
Do you want to play football later?
- We don’t use articles before the names of countries.
- We don’t use articles before the names of languages.
- We don’t use articles when describing meals. For example:
I had fish and chips for dinner.