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Level 1: Lesson 6


Level 1 is the first workbook in the elementary series. Lesson 6 teaches about determiners, specifically articles. Determiners are words that go with nouns. Articles are determiners that indicate the specificity of a noun.

Transcript

A Form-Function English Grammar

Level 1

Lesson 6

Determiners: Articles

What is a determiner? What is an article?

Determiners are words that go with nouns. But determiners do not describe nouns. Instead, determiners provide other information about nouns such as which one, whose, where, and how many.

Articles are one kind of determiner. Articles tell if a noun is specific or general. Three articles in English are the, a, and an.

Look at the sentence A child is eating an apple in the backyard. This sentence has three articles: a, an, and the. A goes with the noun child. An goes with the noun apple. The goes with the noun backyard.

A and an are indefinite articles. The articles a and an go with singular nouns that are general and nonspecific.

For example, if I say, “Hand me a spoon please,” I am asking for any spoon in general, not a specific spoon. I am also asking for one spoon because the article a goes with singular nouns.

The difference between a and an is that a goes before a consonant sound and an goes before a vowel sound. For example, the noun book starts with the consonant sound [b] and thus takes the article a. The noun eraser starts with the vowel sound [i] and thus takes the article an.

Also notice that the spelling does not affect whether a noun takes a or an, only sound. The noun ukulele starts with the vowel letter <u> but the consonant sound [ju] and thus takes the article a. The noun hour starts with the consonant letter <h> but the vowel sound [ɑʊ] and thus takes the article an.

The (or the) is a definite article. The article the goes with singular or plural nouns that are specific.

For example, if I say, “Hand me the spoon please,” I am asking for a specific spoon. I know that you know which spoon I want.

The article the can go with singular or plural nouns. For example, the leaf and the leaves. The band and the bands.

So, what are determiners? What are articles?

Determiners are words that go with nouns. But determiners do not describe nouns. Instead, determiners give information about nouns such as which one, whose, where, and how many.

Articles are one type of determiner. Three articles in English are the, a, and an. The (or the) is a definite article. A and an are indefinite articles.

The definite article the tells that a noun is specific. The can go with singular or plural nouns.

The indefinite articles a and an tell that a noun is general or nonspecific. A and an go with singular nouns only. A goes with nouns that start with consonant sounds. An goes with nouns that start with vowel sounds.

Now practice your knowledge of articles by completing the exercises in Lesson 6 of A Form-Function English Grammar: Level 1, pages 24 through 27.

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