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1) Use a before a singular noun.

I've got a brother and a sister. Use an if the noun begins with a vowel.

I've got an aunt in Texas.

2) Use plural nouns or uncountable nouns to talk about things in general. Don't use an article here.

I like cats.

Dolphins are very intelligent.

Crime is increasing.

3) Use the to talk about one particular thing, or a particular group of things.

Books are interesting.

The book on the table is interesting.

Children are noisy.

The children in this class are noisy.

4) Use a to introduce a new thing or person. Use the when you already know this person or thing.

There is a restaurant near my house.

The restaurant serves good food.

5) Use the when there is only one of these things.

The moon is very big tonight.

My dad is the only doctor in our village.

Joe is the best student in the class.

6) Use the when there are many things, but it is clear which one you mean.

Let's go to the pub!

We need to go to the supermarket.

7) Most 'general' nouns do not use an article.

Life is not the same as it used to be NOT: The life… Health is important to everyone. NOT: The health…

We're worried about pollution. NOT: The pollution…

But some general nouns use the:

the environment People are increasingly worried about the environment.

the weather What's the weather like today?

the countryside I love walking in the countryside.

the sea / ocean I'd love to live near the sea.

the radio There's an interesting program on the radio.

the theatre / cinema We went to the theatre last night.

the economy The economy is affecting everyone.

8) If you stick to the rules above, you will be correct in almost all cases. However, there are a few exceptions, and the following are the most useful ones to learn: We don’t use a/an before the names of meals: We had lunch at noon. We don’t use a/an before words like school, prison, or college when we are talking about them in a general way:

I hope to go to college.

He spent three years in prison.

With the word ‘hospital’, there is a difference between British and American English:

My brother’s in hospital (UK) / in the hospital (US).

We use the before the names of shops or places where we go for services when they are the ones we usually go to:

I need to go to the supermarket.

She went to the doctor’s.

Common mistakes:

 -Some students use the when they talk about things in general. I love the romantic films! => I love romantic films!     -Some students use singular nouns without a or the. I want book about the weather. => I want a book about the weather.

 -Some students use the when they talk about things in general. I want the book about the weather. => I want a book about the weather.

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