Listen carefully to these examples. The first sentence is correct, and the other sentences are incorrect.1.
I play soccer and basketball. I like to study English but I don't like math. (Correct)
I play a soccer and a basketball. I like to study a English but I don't like a math. (Incorrect)
My bedroom has a door and a window. (Correct)
My bedroom has the door and the window. (Incorrect)
Please open the door. (Correct)
Please open door. (Incorrect)
Where do you live?
I live in Chicago.
(I live in a Chicago - Incorrect)
And what do you do?
I'm a vet. I help animals.
( I help an animals - Incorrect)
Articles are a kind of adjective, they show how particular or how general a noun is.
There are three kinds of article: the, a/an, and having no article, zero article.
2. A/An - Indefinite Article
A is used for indefinite things. For example:
- I have a book. I don't have a specific book, just any book in general.
- She lives in a house. Again, the house is just a general house, not a particular house.
A is also used only for singular countable nouns. For example:
- A book, a chair, a person, a building, etc.
An has the same meanng as a.
A is used in front of words starting with a consonant sound, such as b, c, d, g, p.
An is used in front of words that start with a vowel sound such as a, e, i, o, or u. For example:
- a bear, a fox, a newspaper.
- an apple, an egg, an umbrella.
An can also be used before words starting with "h".
Sometimes this is optional, for example: a hotel, or "an hotel". Here the "h" sound in hotel is pronounced.
Occasionally this is not optional, for example: an honor, not a honor. The "h" sound in honor is not pronounced, so this word actually starts with the vowel sound "o". As a result, we need to use an.
2. The - Definite Article
The is used for particular, definite things. For example:
The is used for something already mentioned.particular, definite thing. For example:
The is used for a particular, definite thing. For example:
3. Zero Article
Zero article is generally for when something is seen as neither definite or indefinite, it simply exists.
Zero article is used in front of plural countable nouns. For example:
I like eggs. I like an eggs.
Flowers are beautiful. A flowers are beautiful.
Zero article is used in front of singular uncountable nouns. For example:
I like milk. I like a milk.
Soccer is fun. The soccer is fun.
Zero article is used in front of proper nouns. For example:
My name is Jeremy. My name is a Jeremy.
I live in London. I live in a London.
These are guidelines not rules, and usage of all articles depends entirely on the current context and perspective of the speaker. Articles take a long time to master, especially if your native language does not have articles such as in Korean or Japanese. Try to understand what things are definite and what things are not from an English perspective, and as you experience more English your confidence and ability with articles will grow. Good luck!