Know When to Use the English Language Articles a, an, or the

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Hello! Thank you for watching VisiHow! In this tutorial, we'll be discussing when to use the article "a" or "an" and "the".

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Steps

  1. 1
    In English, we have two types of articles.
    Those are definite and indefinite.
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  2. 2
    The definite article is "the".
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  3. 3
    The indefinite articles are "a" and "an".
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  4. 4
    If you would like to know when to use "a" and "an" before nouns, please refer to another VisiHow video.
    The video is available at Know When to Use the English Indefinite Articles a or an. For now, we'll be discussing when to use the definite article versus the indefinite articles.
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  5. 5
    The definite article is used when we are referring to something that is specific, known, or unique.
    We can take a look at the following two sentences:
    • "A dog is in the park."
      If we say "a dog", we may not know which dog we are talking about it. It could be any dog. It could belong to any person or to no one at all.
    • "The dog is in the park."
      If we say "the dog", we have a specific dog in mind. It could be ours or a dog about which all of the persons in the conversation know. In this case, we would know exactly which dog is being referred to in a sentence.
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  6. 6
    We can also use the definite article "the" when we are referring to unique nouns.
    This can be applied to a specific place such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sears Tower, or the Atlantic Ocean. There is only one original place of each. There is only one real, unique, and original place out of several Eiffel Towers, several Sears Towers, or several Atlantic Oceans. We should use "the" before these places. This is not an absolutely firm rule, and there are some exceptions. Generally, we can use the definite article "the" before something that is original and unique.
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This does conclude the brief tutorial on when to use the English articles "a" or "an" and "the". If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please leave them in the space below.

Video: Know When to Use the English Language Articles a an or the

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