Articles: A, An, The (2)
Lesson 3. Second lesson on articles "a", "an", "the". This lesson is more in-depth and methodical. Also covers the use of "zero article" in greater detail than Lesson 2.
< Back to main menu
Welcome back in this lesson we going to check how articles work with countables and with uncountables.
What we'll do is take each of the three types of articles, one by one, to see if they work with countables or with uncountables – or with both.
So let's start with the first of the three types – 'a' / an'.
And the first question is can we use 'a' / 'an' with countable nouns? For example, can we say 'an apple'?
'Apple' is countable of course and the answer is yes we can.
'A' / 'an' is fine with countable nouns.
Other examples are 'a cat', 'a dog' and so on.
Now, do remember that we can only use 'a' / 'an' with countables in the singular. We can't say 'a cats' or 'a dogs' for example.
* * * * *
Next question: can we use 'a' / 'an' with uncountables? For example can we say 'a bread'?
The answer is no we can't. Just like we saw in the last lesson we can't use 'a' / 'an' with uncountables – only countables
So let's summarise what we have so far. 'A' / 'an' is for countables only, singular only. The example is 'an apple'.
* * * * *
Next type of article is 'zero article' and it's the same questions as before.
First question is – can we use zero article with countable nouns?
Let's go back to the same example we were using before which is 'apple'.
So, can we say for example 'I love apples' with the zero article <here>?
The answer is yes we can. Zero article is fine with countables.
Other examples are:
'I love books', 'I love animals' and so on.
All with no article – or 'zero article' in front of them.
Notice also that all of these countable nouns have the plural: 's'. We can only use zero article with the countables in the plural.
* * * * *
Next question is: can we use zero article with uncountable nouns?
The example we had before was 'bread'. So can we say 'I love bread' with the zero article, again, before the noun?
The answer is yes we can. Zero article is fine with uncountables.
Other examples are: 'I love rice', 'I love milk' and so on – although do remember from last lesson that we can only use uncountable nouns in the singular. We can't say 'breads', 'rices', 'milks' and so on.
So let's now add to our summary page: Zero article is for countables and uncountables.
In the countable we can use zero article in the plural only – so 'I love apples', with the zero article <here>.
And in the uncountable it's in the singular only. So 'I love bread' and zero article is <here>. In fact uncountables are always singular anyway.
* * * * *
So let's turn finally to the third type of article which is 'the'. Same questions, first one is: can use 'the' with countables?
For example can we say 'the apple'? The answer is of course yes we can. 'The' is fine with countables.
Other examples are 'the cat' and 'the dog'. Now, you can see here that all of these are in the singular. Can we put these nouns into the plural – for example 'the apples'?
The answer is again, yes we can. 'The' for countables is fine for plurals as well. Other examples are 'the cats' (plural), 'the dogs', and so on.
* * * * *
Final question: can we use 'the' with uncountable nouns? For example can we say 'the bread'?
And the answer is yes we can. 'The' is fine with uncountables. Other examples are: 'The rice', 'the milk' and so on.
Uncountables are of course singular only.
Let's finish our summary page now.
'The' is for countables and uncountables. For countables it can be in the singular and the plural.
So we have 'the apple' and 'the apples'.
And for uncountables it's always in the singular. So, 'the bread' is the example here.
So that's the end of this lesson. Here is the PDF for you to download, and as you can see, it has all the examples we've looked at in this lesson.
Join me in part two for the practice exercises, and in the next lesson we're going to start on the special uses of 'Zero Article and 'the'.
Now these are really important lessons and they come with lots of pictures to help you remember the examples given in the lessons.
* * * * *
Next lesson: Zero Article - special uses
Nouns: Countables, Uncountables (1)
Articles (2) (3) | (Zero Article 4) | The: Special Uses (5)
There is, there are (6)
Quantity: Some, Any (7) | Many, Much, A lot of (8) | A few, a little (9)
Prepositions of time: In, On, At (10)
The Present: Present Simple (11) | Present Continuous (12)
The Past: Past Simple (13) | Past Continuous (14) | Present Perfect (15)
Irregular Verbs (16)
The Future: Future Simple (17) | Future Plans (18)
Phrasal Verbs (19) (20)