When to use the articles a/an/the

Learn to properly use articles for English language learning

If you are like most English language learners then you have difficulty with the proper use of definite and indefinite articles such as a/an/the. This is a very common problem with learning English as a second language but besides reducing your accent this is probably one of the quickest ways to improve your English language skills to speak English like a native speaker. The articles a/an are known as indefinite articles. They are indefinite because we use these articles when we don’t know specifically what item/object/person etc. that we are talking about. Think of it as appropriate to use these (a/an) when we mean “any” or “any one will do”. For example we want to eat an apple but there either aren’t any available, we don’t know how many are available or perhaps there are several available. In this case we would say that “I would like an apple.” The article the is known as a definite article. Is it definite because we are speaking of a very specific item/object/person etc. Now suppose that we know of a specific apple, such as the one we see someone holding or perhaps we know that there is a choice between one orange and one apple. In this case we can say “I would like the apple.” If we were to say that “I would like an apple.” in this case then we might be speaking about “the” apple or any other apple in general so we must be specific and say “the” apple. If you would like more practice with this and other English language lessons please try a Skype English lesson today.

Please feel free to study more about the proper use of articles at the following link:

Proper use of articles in the English language (more information):

Using articles with the English language

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