How to use English Articles: THE, AN, A (& NO Article)

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2022-04-12・ 4714

mmmEnglish channel


Learn when to use THE definite article in English! This lesson will help you practice using A, AN & THE plus I’ve made you a cheat sheet to help you study when *not* to use an article in English! Get it here: https://learn.mmmenglish.com/english-articles-workbook In this lesson: ☑️ Pronunciation practice ☑️ Grammar Rules & ☑️ Workbook to help you practice what you learnt! (insert link) This lesson is PART 2 in a series of lessons about English articles. PART 1 focused on the indefinite article (A & AN) - watch it here https://youtu.be/cX12FsLMf3c (and practise with the quiz at the end of the lesson!) Make sure you subscribe to mmmEnglish (& turn notifications on 🔔)so I can let you know when a new English lesson is ready for you! ➡️ http://bit.ly/Subscribe2mmmEnglish Read the full transcript of this lesson on my blog here: https://www.mmmenglish.com/2022/04/11/how-to-use-english-articles/ ---------- TIMESTAMPS ---------- 0:00 Introduction 02:16 How to pronounce THE 05:40 Use THE with previously mentioned nouns 06:51 Use THE to be specific 09:58 Use THE with unique nouns or titles 11:19 Use THE with superlative adjectives 12:42 DON’T use THE not in general statements 14:43 DON’T use THE with proper nouns 18:07 Use THE with geographical nouns 19:26 A common mistake with articles! #mmmEnglish #EnglishArticles #The #THEdefiniteArticle #HowToUseEnglishArticles #HowToSayTHE #HowToPronounceTHE #EnglishArticles #ArticlesInEnglish #EnglishGrammar #ArticlesEnglishGrammar #EnglishGrammarLesson #EnglishLesson #EnglishWithEmma - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - HEY LADY! 🙋‍♀️ Helping women to succeed in English! https://bit.ly/hey-lady-trial Build fluency and confidence in a supportive women-only community where you will: Practise having real conversations with real people! Get support and guidance from our amazing coaches! Meet and make friends with English-speaking women around the world. Have fun, stay motivated and above all - ENJOY speaking English! ✨ Hey Lady! is the NEW way to experience English and build the fluency you need for success! If you are a woman, or you identify as a woman, and you have an intermediate to advanced level of English, you are welcome to join. 😍Get started today with a 10-day FREE trial! Click here 👉 https://bit.ly/hey-lady-trial - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More English Language Tools I recommend! ⭐️Improve your English pronunciation and expression by imitating a native English speaker: https://www.mmmenglish.com/imitation ⭐️Try Grammarly Grammar Checker - it's FREE! https://www.grammarly.com/mmmenglish ⭐️English Listening practice - Try Audible for FREE! http://www.audibletrial.com/mmmEnglish - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Find mmmEnglish here: mmmEnglish Website: http://bit.ly/mmmEnglish On Facebook: http://bit.ly/mmmEnglishFB On Instagram: http://bit.ly/mmmEnglishInsta SUBSCRIBE ➡️ http://bit.ly/Subscribe2mmmEnglish (New lessons every Friday!) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - TRANSLATE THIS VIDEO! Do your friends a favour and help to translate this lesson into your native language! Contribute subtitles translations here: Your name will be featured underneath the video 😝

Instruction

Double-click on the English captions to play the video from there.

00:00
Hey there! I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!
00:04
This lesson will help you to  use English articles correctly.
00:08
In my last lesson we talked  about indefinite articles and  
00:13
I will link to that one at the end  of this lesson in case you missed it.
00:17
But today I'm going to teach you  how to use the definite article  
00:22
the and when you should use no article at all.
00:27
Many of my students make mistakes with  articles especially when they speak. 
00:32
Are you one of them?
00:34
They're tricky little buggers!
00:36
This lesson is definitely one to watch, and  I've also created you a worksheet that you can  
00:41
download and help you practise and review  everything that we learn in this lesson.
00:46
Plus my lesson from last week  about the indefinite article.
00:51
I highly recommend you grab it and you use it to  review and to practice what we go through today.
00:57
It includes all of the tricky rules that we talk  about in this lesson with examples but it also  
01:04
has a little quiz and some practice questions  to help you put what you learn into practice.
01:10
Let's dive into the lesson.
01:18
How articles are used in your  native language will have a big  
01:22
impact on the types of mistakes that  you make with articles in English.
01:26
So it's really important that you try not to  directly translate in your head with articles.
01:32
You need to learn the way that  we use articles in English  
01:36
and that is exactly what we're here to do today.
01:38
The definite article in English is the.
01:42
Last week we learned that the indefinite  article a or an can be used with singular nouns,
01:51
but this one, can be used  with most types of nouns.
01:55
We can use it with singular nouns,  the woman is sitting over there.
02:00
We can use it with countable nouns,  the people in the queue are frustrated  
02:06
and uncountable nouns the  information she gave me was false.
02:14
Cool huh!
02:15
Before we get stuck into the rules,  let's talk about pronunciation,  
02:20
because there are actually two different  ways to pronounce this word in English.
02:25
Both start with the consonant sound
02:32
So the position of your tongue is really  important. Make sure it's coming through.
02:42
It's a voiced sound so you should get  the tickle on your tongue, that vibration  
02:47
when you make this sound. So the first way  to pronounce it is the with a schwa sound,
02:56
and the second way to pronounce it is the the.
03:01
But when do we use each sound?
03:04
We use the before nouns that start with a  consonant sound: the car, the unit, the bookshelf.
03:14
The u in unit is a consonant sound at the start.  It's pronounced /'ju:nit/. Unit. The unit.
03:24
I want you to have a practice with me:  the, the car, the unit, the bookshelf.
03:36
So now, can you guess when we use the?
03:41
Before nouns that begin with  a vowel sound. You're right!
03:45
So now that you know, it's easy to remember  this, the relates to a longer vowel sound.
03:52
The apple, the elephant, the orange, the hour.
04:00
Yes, we have the h consonant  sound. That is silent. So the first  
04:07
sound that we hear in the  word hour is a vowel sound.
04:12
So we say the hour
04:14
Now I want you to try it with me: the, the  apple, the elephant, the orange, the hour.
04:27
Now there is something else that happens here  in connected speech when native English speakers  
04:33
use the definite article  followed by a vowel sound.
04:38
I want to know if you can hear it. Listen  carefully, there is an extra sound:  
04:45
the apple, the elephant, the orange, the hour.
04:54
In order to link words together, speak with a  natural flow and speak quickly, native speakers  
05:01
will add a little /j/ sound between those vowel  sounds, and I've got a whole lesson about it.
05:08
You can get to it up here, after this lesson.
05:11
So you'll hear it between those vowels.  The apple. yapple. The apple. Right?
05:19
It's very soft, but that little  extra sound can potentially  
05:25
mean that you misunderstand or you don't quite  hear a word as you expect it to in English.
05:31
So it's worth keeping that in mind.
05:33
Okay pronunciation: tick!
05:36
Now let's talk about when you  should use the definite article.
05:41
Rule number one: use the with nouns  that have already been mentioned before.
05:49
I talked about this a little in my last  lesson about the indefinite article. 
05:54
When we mention a noun for the very first  time we use a or an, but after we mention it  
06:03
for the first time, we can use the because  it's clear which noun we're talking about.
06:10
I saw a woman on the tram this morning. The  woman was wearing a red coat and a blue scarf.
06:19
So you can see that the noun woman  is mentioned twice here, but we use a  
06:26
first because we're mentioning  the woman for the first time.
06:29
We can use the so that it's clear  which woman we're talking about.
06:35
Okay, but how about this noun here? hmm
06:41
Didn't I just say that we use a and an to mention something for the first time?
06:48
I did. But this brings us to Rule Number 2.
06:52
We use the to be specific. When I say, the  tram, I'm talking about a specific tram.
07:01
I'm talking about the 8am tram  that I take to work every morning.  
07:06
I'm talking about the tram that I was on.  I'm not talking about any random tram.
07:12
When I say, the boss is giving me a hard time,  
07:16
I'm talking about a specific boss.  My boss. The boss that I work for.
07:23
So when I say, the boss is giving me a hard time,  
07:27
I'm assuming that you, the listener or the  reader, you know which boss I'm talking about.
07:35
Either because it's obvious or because  it wouldn't make any sense otherwise.
07:41
It wouldn't make much sense if I was  talking about your boss or just any boss  
07:46
in another company. Why would  they be giving me a hard time?
07:52
You can assume that I'm going to be talking  about the boss that I work for. My boss.
07:58
Let's look at a few more examples.
08:01
We can say a museum, any museum compared  to the British Museum. A specific museum.
08:11
We can say a hotel and mean any hotel, compared  to the Ritz Hotel. Which is a specific hotel.
08:20
We can apply the same logic to  people too. A pilot, means any pilot,  
08:27
compared to the specific pilot who is  flying the plane that I'm talking about.
08:34
We can say an engineer,  who's working on the project.  
08:38
Any engineer. He's one of many. There are  many engineers, compared to the lead engineer.
08:46
There's only one of them. The  lead engineer is specific. 
08:51
You get the idea right?
08:52
We can also use the to talk  about specific times of day. 
08:58
The morning, during the afternoon and the evening.
09:03
But you need to watch out because  for whatever reason in English we say  
09:09
at night. We don't say at the night.
09:13
Morning, evening, night, this can kind of get a  little tricky with articles, with prepositions.
09:20
There are often some pretty crazy rules in  English around how to use these words accurately.
09:27
I did want to give a little shout out to my  prepositions course. It is a complete package of  
09:34
amazing lessons about English prepositions.
09:37
Lots of practice, lots of imitation practice  included as well so that you learn the rules  
09:43
but also how to use them in spoken English  naturally and sound like a native speaker.
09:50
The link to check out the course and  to try one of the modules for free  
09:55
head down to the description  and you'll see it right there.
09:58
Rule Number 3: we use the  with unique nouns or titles.
10:04
When there's only one of something, the  sun, the moon, the President, the Queen.
10:13
Of course there is more than one president in  the world. There's also more than one queen,  
10:19
but there is only one President of the United  States. There is only one Queen of England.
10:27
So when we're using a noun that can be generic  
10:30
or unique. we need to look for the  context of how it's being used.
10:35
Actually, names or titles that  are formed with this same pattern:  
10:41
the something of something, they all refer  to something that is specific or unique.
10:47
The CEO of my company. The Prime Minister  of India. The capital of Australia.
10:54
All of these nouns are unique.  There's only one capital city  
10:58
in my country. There's only  one Prime Minister in India.
11:04
So using the definite article in this situation  
11:07
helps us to define the noun  that we're talking about.
11:12
Alright, this next one is  one that I hear my students  
11:15
messing up quite a bit so I'm  gonna walk you through it slowly.
11:18
Rule Number 4 is use the  with superlative adjectives.
11:25
When we use a superlative adjective to describe  a noun, that noun instantly becomes unique.
11:32
Only one thing can be the biggest, or  the tallest, or the best and I want to  
11:38
give you an example taking a look at our  planet Earth within the solar system.
11:44
Earth is big. It's bigger than Venus,  
11:48
but both Neptune and Uranus are bigger  than Earth. Which planet is the biggest?
11:56
Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system.  
12:00
Only one planet can be the biggest, or the  smallest, or the nicest, or the furthest.
12:07
When we compare nouns in this way, remember  that by using the superlative adjective,  
12:13
your noun instantly becomes unique.
12:16
There is only one and therefore  that means you need to use the.
12:22
Okay this is where things get a little dicey.
12:25
Sometimes, the trickiest part about using  articles is knowing when not to use one.
12:32
This part of the lesson is  definitely the hardest part  
12:36
to teach because there are some exceptions  that we need to talk about. But here goes
12:41
Rule Number 5: don't use an article,  any article, in general statements.
12:49
Let's have a look at some general statements  and I'll show you just what I mean.
12:55
Good friends always listen. Sloths  are lazy animals. Fruit is sweet.
13:04
So these are all general statements. I'm talking  
13:07
generally about the characteristics  of good friends, sloths and fruit.
13:14
Did you notice that all of these nouns  are either plural or they're uncountable  
13:20
and we do this to talk generally about something.
13:24
But we can still use an article  to make general statements.
13:29
We can say a good friend always listens.  Notice that friend is now no longer plural  
13:37
but what I mean here is that every  individual good friend listens.
13:44
That's what any one good friend does.  So this statement is still general,  
13:50
it's just two different ways  of saying the same thing.
13:53
On the other hand, if I change this sentence to:  
13:58
the fruit is sweet, well then I'm  talking about some specific fruit.
14:04
Maybe it's the fruit on the table, or  the fruit in the bowl, or the fruit that  
14:09
I bought from the market and fruit in this  context refers to a plural uncountable noun.
14:16
It refers to all of the  fruit in the bowl. The apple,  
14:21
the banana, the strawberries, the  pineapple, they are all sweet.
14:25
So by adding the article, the meaning  changes from being general to being specific.
14:33
Fruit in general is sweet in summer. The  fruit that we ate yesterday was very sweet.
14:40
Don't use an article with these proper nouns.
14:44
Proper nouns are nouns that name a specific  place or person or organisation. In English,  
14:52
they are always written with a capital  letter, because they're very important.
14:57
In general, we don't use articles with proper  nouns... uh well if only it was that simple.
15:06
This one is probably the trickiest rule  in this lesson. So I want you to focus.  
15:12
I want you to come back here.  Focus on what I'm talking about,
15:15
and because this section is so tricky, I've  also made you a little cheat sheet with  
15:20
different types of nouns that don't use articles,
15:24
particularly some of the exceptions and I have  linked to that down in the description below.
15:30
Don't use the with names of people. I saw the  Frances the other day. No. However, you can  
15:40
use the when you're talking about a group of  people who have the same name like a family.
15:47
Then we would use the and the  plural form of that family name.  
15:53
I bumped into the Smiths the other day.
15:57
So when I say the Smiths, I mean more than  
16:00
one member of the Smith  family. They were all together.
16:04
We also use the to refer to a  group of people from the same  
16:08
country, like: the Japanese are  punctual, the Italians are passionate.
16:14
Don't use the with place names  
16:18
India, Turkey and Malaysia are all part of  Asia. We don't say the India or the Asia.
16:26
This is true for most countries and continents,  but there are a few important exceptions.
16:31
So I recommend that you learn the rule but  
16:34
then you learn the exceptions  because there are just a few.
16:37
Firstly, countries that use kingdom,  republic or union in their name  
16:44
use the. The United Kingdom, The  Republic of Congo, The European Union.
16:52
Country names that are plural also  use the. The Netherlands, The United  
17:00
States of America, and some  countries that are made up of  
17:04
multiple islands like: the Philippines  or the West Indies. They all use the.
17:11
Don't use an article with streets or parks or  lakes when you're specifically naming them.
17:18
We're staying at Federation Square on Flinders  Street. Albert Park is just a few minutes away.
17:26
This rule can sometimes trip people  
17:28
up because when we reference a public place  without using its name, we can use the.
17:36
You know, the park across the road. What a view!  
17:39
The lake looks stunning at sunset. But  when we name that park or that lake  
17:47
we don't use the article. Victoria Park is across  the road. Lake Como looks lovely at sunset.
17:55
Ooh last tip! We have just learned not to use the  
18:00
with country names towns and cities but there  is a different rule for geographical nouns.
18:07
Rule Number 7 is: use the definite  article with these geographical nouns.
18:13
With mountain ranges, like the Himalayas or the  Alps these names refer to a group of mountains  
18:22
right however single mountains like Mount Everest  or Mount Fuji are used without an article.
18:32
A single mountain, no article.  Groups of mountains, use the.
18:38
Let's take a look at some other examples of  geographical nouns. Canals, rivers, seas,  
18:49
oceans, valleys and deserts.
18:55
These nouns are good ones to learn together in  chunks because the rules are a little confusing,  
19:02
trying to understand them  could send you a little crazy.
19:07
But learning the noun together with the  article that it's used with is going to help.
19:12
It's going to stop you from thinking and  asking the question and just more naturally  
19:18
know and remember, oh that's right,  it's not Himalayas, it's The Himalayas.
19:24
Here's one final mistake that I often hear  my students making with the definite article.
19:32
He hurt the foot yesterday. Do you sometimes make this mistake too?
19:38
In English, we use possessive determiners.  In this context we use my, your, his,  
19:45
hers, ours, theirs with body parts.
19:50
He hurt his foot yesterday. Not he hurt the foot.  
19:56
She washes her hands often  not she washes the hands.
20:02
I bumped my head not I bumped the head.
20:08
Well done you made it all the way  through to the end of the lesson.  
20:11
You should be feeling like an article pro now!
20:15
There are two little things. Make sure  you grab that workbook that I've created  
20:20
for you. It's got all of these tricky rules.
20:22
It's a little bit like a cheat sheet  
20:24
that helps you to know when to use an  article, when not to use an article,
20:29
plus there's some practice activities  and a little quiz to help you  
20:33
lock all of the knowledge  everything that you learned  
20:37
into your memory so that you can draw  on it and use it when you need to.
20:41
If you want to put your new skills to the  test, I've got a little homework task for you.
20:47
I want you to pause the video,  tell me about your hometown  
20:52
down in the comments. Describe  it with some geographical nouns.
20:57
Tell me something that is generally  true about the people who live there  
21:02
and something that is specific  about your upbringing or your family
21:07
and if while you're writing you  need to go back and review one of  
21:12
the rules that we went through, use  the chapters in this video to help  
21:16
you go back, skip back to that section  and find the answer that you need.
21:20
That is exactly why I put those chapters there,  
21:23
so it's easy for you to come back to  and use my lessons to help all the time.
21:28
If you've got a question about this  lesson or you just want to say hello  
21:33
drop me a comment down below this video  and thank you so much for watching.
21:39
Check out these lessons next. See you in there!
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