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Thread: Articles

  1. #1
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    Default Articles

    It is really hard for me to master English articles(a(an)/the).
    Could anybody show me the simplest explanation for these devils?

    Thank you.

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    Default Re: Articles

    You have probably been trying to understand them by using, and in, short isolated sentences eg
    A dog is in my yard
    The dog is in my yard.

    In writing these sentences, I would be choosing which article to use to convey a particular meaning, and the reader would understand this meaning because of the article I had used. But it is difficult for a learner to fully understand this in isolated sentences.

    Trying looking at this in a whole passage:

    I've been told that dogs are friendly animals. I'm not so sure. They say a dog is man's best friend. I'm doubtful. I have a friend who has a dog and it's not very friendly to me. Whenever I go round to my friend's house, the dog runs out of the house and growls and barks. Dogs are 'friendly' and I'm a man - so why isn't the dog acting more like my best friend when I call?

    I have used 'dog' several times, sometimes with an article, and sometimes without. To help me and other respondents to your thread understand your difficulties, why don't you tell us which one's you don't understand. Why did I not use an article at times? Why did I sometimes use 'a' and sometimes 'the'?
    Last edited by David L.; 22-Apr-2008 at 10:44.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Articles

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    You have probably been trying to understand them by using, and in, short isolated sentences eg
    A dog is in my yard
    The dog is in my yard.

    In writing these sentences, I would be choosing which article to use to convey a particular meaning, and the reader would understand this meaning because of the article I had used. But it is difficult for a learner to fully understand this in isolated sentences.

    Trying looking at this in a whole passage:

    I've been told that dogs(in general) are friendly animals. I'm not so sure. They say a dog(in general) is man's best friend. I'm doubtful. I have a friend who has a dog and it's not very friendly to me. Whenever I go round to my friend's house, the dog(the particular dog mentioned) runs out of the house and growls and barks. Dogs(in general) are 'friendly' and I'm a man - so why isn't the dog(the particular dog mentioned) acting more like my best friend when I call?

    I have used 'dog' several times, sometimes with an article, and sometimes without. To help me and other respondents to your thread understand your difficulties, why don't you tell us which one's you don't understand. Why did I not use an article at times? Why did I sometimes use 'a' and sometimes 'the'?

    Thank you, David.
    I think I understand the usage of articles found in the passage above, as I've shown in the parentheses.

    Maybe, in my opinion(please correct me if I'm wrong),

    ★"a(an)" is used when the noun first appears in the sentence(the listener doesn't know which one the speaker refers to).

    ★"the" is used when the noun has appeared before(the listener usually knows which one the speaker refers to. The information on the noun has been shared between them.)

    Then, what about the articles in these sentences below?

    a.We often go to the sea.
    b.I usually play the guitar after breakfast.
    c.The earth goes around the sun.

    Thank you.

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    Default Re: Articles

    It is really hard for me to master English articles(a(an)/the).
    Could anybody show me the simplest explanation for these devils?

    Thank you.


    For all future posters of threads:
    Can you see how important it is to be as clear as possible when asking for help? Based on the information above, I've gone completely down the wrong track, back to basics with this post.
    The query is, there seem to be exceptions when 'the' is used which I don't understand, such as :
    We often go to the sea.
    b.I usually play the guitar after breakfast.
    c.The earth goes around the sun.


    Then I wouldn't have spent half and hour for nothing formulating the earlier response!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Articles

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    It is really hard for me to master English articles(a(an)/the).
    Could anybody show me the simplest explanation for these devils?

    Thank you.

    For all future posters of threads:
    Can you see how important it is to be as clear as possible when asking for help? Based on the information above, I've gone completely down the wrong track, back to basics with this post.
    The query is, there seem to be exceptions when 'the' is used which I don't understand, such as :
    We often go to the sea.
    b.I usually play the guitar after breakfast.
    c.The earth goes around the sun.


    Then I wouldn't have spent half and hour for nothing formulating the earlier response!

    I'm really sorry I've taken so much of your precious time.
    I'll try to be as clear as possible when asking for help from others
    in this forum. Perhaps my English is not that good.

    Sorry.

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