In this lesson, learn the 7 rules for using articles in English correctly. Also see - MOST COMMON MISTAKES IN ENGLISH & HOW TO AVOID THEM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Dax90QyXgI&list=PLmwr9polMHwsR35rD9spEhjFUFa7QblF9
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Hello and welcome. In this
lesson, I will teach you the
seven rules that you need to
know for using articles in
English correctly. Articles are
the words ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the’.
There is a final quiz at the
end of the lesson for you to
test your understanding.
OK, the first rule is about
where to use ‘a’ and where to
use ‘an’. So rule number one is
use ‘a’ before a consonant
sound, and ‘an’ before a vowel
So in all of these words – you
see that they start with a
consonant sound. Cat starts
with /k/, dog
starts with /d/, boy with /b/,
girl with /g/, house with /h/
and tree with /t/.
So we say ‘a cat’, ‘a dog’, ‘a
boy’, ‘a girl’, ‘a house’, ‘a
tree’ etc. Notice that in
natural speech, we don’t say
‘a’, we say ‘uh’ – like ‘a
In this next set of words, you
see that, they all start with a
vowel sound – apple starts with
/ae/, engineer starts with /e/,
ice-cream with /ai/, old with
/o/, umbrella with /uh/.
So we say ‘an apple’, ‘an
engineer’, ‘an ice-cream cone’,
‘an old womman’, ‘an umbrella’
and so on. In speech, we don’t
say ‘an’, we say /ən/.
Let’s do a small exercise. You
see ten items on the screen.
For each one, I want you to say
if you would use ‘a’ or ‘an’
before it. Stop the video,
think about it, then play the
video again and check.
OK here are the answers. Did
you get them all right? I want
to focus on items number seven
to ten because these are a
little tricky. Number seven is
‘a university’ because even
though ‘university’ starts with
the letter ‘u’ the first sound
of the word is not a vowel
sound. We don’t say
/ooniversity/. We say /yoo-nə-
vər-si-ty/ so that first sound
is a /y/ sound, which a
consonant sound, so we say ‘a
Number eight is similar. The
word ‘European’ starts with a
/y/ sound, so ‘a European
In number nine, the spelling
has an ‘h’ at the start but
that ‘h’ is silent. We don’t
say /hau-ər/, we say /au-ər/.
The first sound is an /au/
sound which is a vowel sound,
so this is ‘an hour’. In the
same way, in number ten, we say
MA. ‘M’ starts with an /e/
sound which is again a vowel
sound, so ‘an MA in English’.
OK let’s move on to rule number
two: Use ‘a’ and ‘an’ ONLY with
singular, countable nouns.
We say that a noun is countable
if we can count it – one, two,
three, four etc.
All of these words on the
screen are countable. We can
say one elephant, three cars,
ten teachers, five hundred
onions and so on. Now if you
talk about one person or thing,
like one elephant or one
car, then that’s called a
singular noun and if you say
ten teachers or five hundred
onions, those are called plural
Uncountable nouns cannot be
counted in this way. Nouns like
water, sugar, milk, love,
anger, knowledge are some
examples. If you think about
it, you cannot say “I drank
four waters” or “I want eight
milks”. To a person, you can
say “I love you” but you can’t
say “I have five loves for you”
– that doesn’t make any sense.
So these are all uncountable.
Alright, so the rule is - you
can only use ‘a’ and ‘an’ if
you’re talking about one person
or one thing.
Let’s do another quick
exercise. Here are ten items
again. This time, you see ‘a’
or ‘an’ before the nouns, but
some of these are wrong. They
should NOT have ‘a’ or ‘an’
before them. Stop the video,
identify the mistakes, then
play the video again and check.
OK, here are the answers.
Number three is wrong because
‘shirts’ is a plural and you
cannot use ‘a’ or ‘an’ before a
plural noun. Number five is
wrong because ‘happiness’ is
uncountable, so again, ‘a’ or
‘an’ cannot be used there. The
same goes for number six –
water is uncountable. Number
nine is wrong because ‘doctors’
is a plural – you can say ‘a
doctor’ but not ‘a doctors’.
And finally, in number ten,
advice is an uncountable noun –
so you cannot ask for ‘an
Now a quick note here: the
article ‘the’ can be used with
all kinds of nouns – singular
or plural countable nouns, and
OK, so let’s now talk about how
to choose between ‘a’ or ‘an’
Here’s rule number three: Use
‘a’ or ‘an’ to talk about a
person or thing unknown to your
listener. And use ‘the’ to talk
about a person or thing known
to your listener.
For example, “My sister has two
computers: a PC and a laptop.
The PC is quite old but the
laptop is brand new.” I say ‘a
PC’ and ‘a laptop’ because
that’s the first time I’m
mentioning the two computers.
That is, until this point, they
are unknown to you, the
Hey there, I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Let me know if you have any questions. Also check out:
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hello Ganesh thank you for your valuable time to help us... would you mind asking you why movies is used to article "THE" not being fixed expression (We don’t go to the movies now as often as we used to.) i would like to ask in the comments as soon as you see my question in the comment
Before watching this video, I had watched many other videos on the articles, and I was feeling uncomfortable with the use of articles. However, Your video has lowered my confusion, and I believe that now I can write in English language with a few or no article mistakes. Thanks a lot for your valuable efforts, and I do not know that how I should express gratitude towards yours help. Again thanks a lot. May God bless you.
Very good evening sir..i just completed the last exercise and i am bit confused about some of them. They are point 4) why no article before children. I used "the". Point 6) i used no article in both the blanks but on contrary answer was an and a. Point 7) again I used the before life but ans was no article. Please clear my doubts regarding this. Rest all the blanks i filled were correct..i loved the way teach. Its really good.
It is really very disappointed that after watching the best article learning video, some people still dislike this video!!!!!
I think they are aliens 😁
But for me it is very helpful. Thanks sir for making our English more absolute and correct.
Without any speck of doubt i say you are the best english teacher in world even you explain and make us understand better than briton teachers. Stay blessed i think you hail from southern india. I m your admirer from Pakistan.
Can anyone plz clear my doubt... punjabi is *an* official language of punjab or punjabi is *the* official language... ?? If we go with rules.. an is correct. .. but i have read "the official " many times.... plzz clear this doubt
To all the people reading my comment here, listen one thing very carefully.
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There are two meanings of exercise: (a) physical activity generally; in this use, exercise is uncountable (b) particular physical activities like jumping jacks, jogging or burpees; in this use, exercise is a countable noun.
Because, see the above example, there are something you missed. That's the CEO of "our" company, that means we know about the company already. According to the lesson, this is one of the rule of using articles. That tells us, if we know the object then we can use "the" before noun and also CEO is not a proper noun, rather than it is a short form of some big words. I think you can feel it.
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