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    #1

    a

    After many unsuccessful attempts to master the use of these two __of course after reading many good books like English Grammar in Use, Longman Grammar__ I have come to a conclusion that there is no a strict universal rule which can be applied every time . May be I am wrong, so I find it much more helpful to here others advice from experience in the hope that it will suggest a new and easy way to approach the matter from a different angle as grammar books.


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    #2

    Re: a

    sorry , the title was (a & the)

  1. queenbu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a

    Hello AliAbd
    Let me start by quoting Michael Swan-The correct use of the articles (a/an and the) is one of the most difficult points in English grammar. Does that make you feel better?


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    #4

    Smile Re: a

    Hi queen

    Yes, it does ,but the problem remains unsolved


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #5

    Re: a

    To make you feel worse, I'll tell you my story.

    I used to be at college in the United States many years ago.
    I was not sure about how to use "a / the".
    So I asked a native student if she could explain to me.
    She said, " I don't know how to explain. But we just know how to use them."
    She was not a teacher, but a student.
    But the way she talked was very frustrating to me at that time.

    I agree that articles are some of the most difficult.
    Last edited by siruss; 15-Mar-2007 at 21:22.

  2. queenbu's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a

    Well, That was just a start.
    So... most languages of Western European origin, and one or two others, have article systems very like English. So for students who speak these languages, it's not always that difficult to explain. However, if a student does not fall in the above category, he or she may have more difficulty with the correct use of articles. Most of the important problems are dealt with in the following sections.
    1. articles are determiners
    The articles a/an and the belong to a group of words called 'determiners'. Articles normally come at the beginning of noun phrases, before adjectives.
    2. What are articles used for?
    A/an is called the 'indefinite article'. The is called the 'definite article'.
    Some/any is often used as the plural of a/an. And if we use no article, this has a different meaning from all the others. So there are really four articles.
    Articles are used to show whether we are referring to things that are known both to the speaker/writer and to the listener/reader ('definite'), or that are not known to them both ('indefinite').
    Articles can also show whether we are talking about things in general or particular things.
    3. the='we know which one(s)'
    We say the doctor, the salt or the dogs (for example), when we expect the listener/reader to know which doctor, salt or dogs we are talking about. In other cases, we use a/an,some/any or no article.Compare:
    I've been to the doctor. (You know which one:my doctor.)
    A doctor must like people. (=any doctor at all)
    Could you pass me the salt?
    (The listener knows that it is the salt on the table that is meant.)
    We need some more salt. (not particular 'known' salt)
    Have you fed the dogs?
    (The listener obviously knows which dogs are meant.)
    Do you like dogs? (=dogs in general)
    There's more...


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    #7

    Re: a

    Some/any is often used as the plural of a/an. And if we use no article, this has a different meaning from all the others. So there are really four articles.


    If some /any is used as the plural of a/an, are these sentences not correct?

    1. I have some friend.
    2. I don't have any friend.

  3. queenbu's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: a

    Quote Originally Posted by siruss View Post
    Some/any is often used as the plural of a/an. And if we use no article, this has a different meaning from all the others. So there are really four articles.
    If some /any is used as the plural of a/an, are these sentences not correct?
    1. I have some friend.
    2. I don't have any friend.
    I have some friends.
    I don't have any friends.
    I have a friend.


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    #9

    Re: a

    Quote Originally Posted by queenbu View Post
    I have some friends.
    I don't have any friends.
    I have a friend.

    Tha~nks a lot!


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    #10

    Re: a

    OK,when I say there is no strict rule I have occasion to do so.I will quote this example from the book Advanced Arammer in Use :

    The customer has a right to know where prodcts are made.
    thus we use the because we are talking about a general class.

    but in your example " a doctor must like ppl ", you didnt use the whlile we are talking about a general class too.?!!!

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