Articles in English

Posted on May 11 2016 - 3:52am by Zdenda
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For students who do not use articles in their mother tongue it is incredibly difficult to learn to use them correctly in English. In fact, it is very difficult to teach them use the articles at all. That is why I often spend a lot of time teaching definite and indefinite articles in English.

In this post I will sum up the materials and experience I have gathered to teach the difficult grammar. You will find here an infographic, an original exercise and an interactive quiz.

Articles in English – infographic

I always start at the beginning. I teach the basic usage of the indefinite articles A and AN.

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Indefinite article
Print the following infographic and explain the usage of articles in English to more advanced students.

articles complete mind map

Here is a short explanation of the infographic. If a student decides what article they should use they should start from the point in the upper-right corner. Find a noun and the place where the article should go. Then go to the segment 1 and go around till you find a rule to apply. Once you apply a rule, move on in the text. If you get to number 8, use the indefinite article.

Another explanation goes like this:
Articles usage eng
The basic rule is that you should use an article in front of each noun. If you speak about something for the first time you should use the indefinite article A/AN. The article AN is used if the words starts with the letters A, I, O or E. If the word starts with U or H you have to pronounce the word. If the pronounciation does not start with /j/ or /h/ then the article AN is used again.

We do not use the indefinite articles in front of plurals or uncountable nouns because the meaning of the indefinite article is one.

If we speak about the same thing again we use the article THE and it does not matter whether the thing is countable or uncountable.

Articles in English – worksheet

I came up with the following type of exercise when I was at university (which is a very long time ago). However, it is still good. Print the worksheet and students should insert the articles into the gaps. Most of the gaps will remain empty.

Articles – worksheet

Articles in English – quiz

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The following quiz can help your students practise the articles either at school or at home. The quiz consists of two parts. In the first part, students should click where the articles belong. In the second part, students have to write the articles into the gaps. The students will be rewarded with a game after each part of the quiz they pass. The quiz is in HTML5, so it will play on all desktops and mobile devices.

Articles – quiz
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1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Erlinda 01/11/2016 at 12:23 pm -

    I am surprised that this page is saying uncountable verbs have no articles! I thought that uncountable nouns could the definite article “the”. for example “the milk” or “the water”. Is this correct?

  2. Zdenda 05/11/2016 at 4:11 am -

    Yes, it is correct. Uncountable nouns have no indefinite articles. Definite articles can be used.

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