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A, an, and the: how to use articles in English


Many learners of English have problems with articles (the words aan and the), especially when they don’t exist in their own language. This blog looks at some of the basic rules.

The number one rule is this: if a word is countable (e.g. one book, two books), you must always use an article (or my, his, etc.):


I read a book. √

I read book.

This is true even if there are adjectives before the noun:

He drives an old car. √

He drives old car.

Never use or an with a word that is plural (e.g. books, trees) or uncountable (e.g. water, advice):

I asked her for advice. √

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