When to use A and AN | Grammar Lesson (PART 1) Indefinite Articles

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2022-03-29・ 4685

mmmEnglish channel


We are learning how & when to use A and AN - the indefinite articles in English grammar! I’ve got 4 simple rules you must learn plus, some pronunciation practice so you use A & AN naturally when you speak! As always, I’ve included a practice QUIZ at the end 🤓📚☑️💡🤩 to test yourself and help you review what you learned in this lesson! This lesson is PART 1 of a series of lessons, where I’ll teach you everything you need to know about English articles so you can stop making grammar mistakes! PART 2 is all about the definite article (the) and when to not use an article at all! Make sure you subscribe to mmmEnglish (& turn notifications on 🔔)so I can let you know when that lesson is ready for you! Plus, in PART 2 you will be able to download the complete articles worksheet I’ve created for you 📝to practise using English articles accurately! ---------- TIMESTAMPS ---------- 0:00 Introduction 01:38 Indefinite article grammar 05:33 How to pronounce A and AN 06:01 A/AN with singular countable nouns 07:56 A/AN to introduce a noun 09:55 A/AN with non-specific nouns 11:41 A/AN with jobs and job titles 13:25 Common mistakes 14:48 Indefinite Article Quiz #mmmEnglish #HowToUseEnglishArticles #IndefiniteArticles #EnglishArticles #ArticlesInEnglish #EnglishSpeakingPractice #EnglishGrammar #ArticlesEnglishGrammar #EnglishLearning #YouTubeTeacher #EnglishWithEmma Read the full transcript of this lesson on my blog here: https://www.mmmenglish.com/2022/03/29/when-to-use-a-and-indefinite-articles/ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 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 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Take your English skills to the next level: 📚🤓🚀 mmmEnglish Courses 📚🤓🚀 Explore Self-Study English courses here: https://bit.ly/mmmEnglishCourses Or read more below 👀 Prepositions are one of the most frustrating parts about English - but they don’t have to be! I’ve created a course that will help you to master the most common English prepositions - I’ll teach you how to use them in context, study how they are used and (importantly) I’ll help you to practise using them! This course includes grammar lessons PLUS imitation practice (so you get to practise your pronunciation with me too!) Explore our prepositions course here: https://bit.ly/prepositions8x8 👄 Love mmmEnglish imitation lessons? Get HOURS of practice with Emma and complete our imitation training courses! Practise your pronunciation & natural English expressions by imitating a native English speaker. mmmEnglish imitation courses available now: https://bit.ly/mmmEnglishImitationCourse - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Other English Language Tools I recommend! ⭐️Grammarly Grammar Checker: 🤓 Grammarly helps you to see the errors in your writing and your English Grammar by making suggestions and improvements to your writing! Try it for FREE! https://www.grammarly.com/mmmenglish ⭐️Audible 👂📚 Listen to audiobooks to improve your English listening skills (AND your pronunciation!) Listen to thousands of books (all of your favourites are available) Plus… You can try Audible for yourself - get your first audio book absolutely FREE! http://www.audibletrial.com/mmmEnglish Cancel your subscription at any time (but keep your free book forever!) mmmEnglish earns a small commission from affiliates mentioned above. We only promote products and services that we genuinely believe will support our students on their English-learning journey. ❤️ Thank you for your support! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Connect with mmmEnglish Website & Social Media: 🟡Website: http://bit.ly/mmmEnglish 🟢Facebook: http://bit.ly/mmmEnglishFB 🔵Instagram: http://bit.ly/mmmEnglishInsta 👏👏👏 Show your support for Emma & mmmEnglish by subscribing to our channel, liking videos 👍 and commenting to let us know! We love hearing from our students! ❤️ SUBSCRIBE TO MMMENGLISH HERE ➡️ http://bit.ly/Subscribe2mmmEnglish

Instruction

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00:00
Well hey there I'm Emma from mmmEnglish.
00:04
Today we are talking about English articles.
00:07
Those little tiny but super  
00:10
important words that you will need to  use in almost every English sentence.
00:15
Here's the thing, if you're making mistakes  with articles in your spoken English,
00:21
it's unlikely that native speakers will  correct you because, let's be honest,  
00:26
we can usually work out what you mean despite  your mistakes, but they will be noticed.
00:34
There are two types of articles in  English: definite and indefinite.
00:39
Today we're going to focus on the  indefinite article and that is 'a/an'.
00:45
You'll see that when my next video comes out it  is a deep dive into the definite article 'the'.
00:52
So make sure you're subscribed, that you turn  on notifications, so that you don't miss out.
00:58
I want you to be able to watch this  complete package of lessons about articles.
01:04
Let's get into the first one.
01:11
Okay, in this lesson I have four simple rules  to help you use indefinite articles accurately.
01:19
I'm also going to show you how to  pronounce a and an naturally when you speak
01:25
and at the end I have a quiz to help  you practice everything you learn
01:29
just to make sure all of these rules  
01:32
are locked into your memory and you  can use them when you need them.
01:36
Let's start with the basics.
01:38
There are two indefinite articles.
01:40
You should know this by now because i've  already mentioned them. Tell me, what are they?
01:49
A, an. But do you know when and  why we need to use each one?
01:56
We use a with nouns that  begin with a consonant sound.
02:00
A cat. A mirror. A fan. A zoo.
02:06
All of these nouns start  with a consonant: c, m, f, z.
02:12
We use an before nouns that  begin with a vowel sound.
02:17
An apple. An ice cream. An orange. An umbrella.
02:23
So we use an before a word that  starts with a vowel: a, i, o, and u.
02:30
But there is something super important  that you need to remember here and that is
02:36
that we're talking about vowel  and consonant sounds not letters.
02:41
I know it sounds crazy but not all vowel  letters are pronounced as vowel sounds
02:48
and some consonant letters are actually  silent and they're not pronounced at all.
02:54
Let me show you what I mean.
02:56
University. Umbrella.
03:00
So the u in university is pronounced  
03:04
"you". University. As if it's written  with the consonant letter y. That sound y.
03:13
We say university. So the  article we use is a university.
03:20
Now the u in umbrella is pronounced "a". Umbrella.  
03:27
So this time the u is pronounced as a vowel  sound so we need to use an an umbrella.
03:36
It's the same with these two  examples: orange and one-off event.
03:42
So the o in orange is pronounced  o. That's a vowel sound. An orange.
03:50
But the o in one is pronounced  with a consonant sound "w".
03:58
So we need to use a. A one-off event. Got it?
04:04
The same thing happens with consonants that are  silent or they're pronounced as vowel sounds.
04:10
Like in hour where the h is silent. The first  sound in hour is a vowel sound so we say an hour.
04:22
Now if you compare that to  
04:23
hippopotamus. Well the h is not silent.  A hippopotamus. We hear that "h" sound.
04:33
We've talked about how  articles are used before nouns.
04:37
Well sometimes we use other words in  front of a noun, like this adjective.
04:44
The articles that you choose, relate to the  word that comes directly after it in a sentence.
04:51
So we say an hour but a happy hour.
04:57
An umbrella, but a wet  umbrella. Does that make sense?
05:04
if you're not sure you can always  use a good dictionary to tell you how  
05:08
a word is pronounced correctly,
05:11
whether or not the first sound  is a consonant or a vowel sound
05:16
Every time that you learn a new noun in  English, when you learn it for the first time,
05:21
always write it down with the  correct article straight away.
05:26
Learn the article together with the noun and  that way you will never need to think about:  
05:31
which article should I be using?
05:33
And since we're talking about pronunciation,  
05:36
in naturally spoken English we  pronounce this as /ʌ/ or /ə/ not /eɪ/
05:46
and we say /ən/ not /æn/.
05:52
A cat. Not /eɪ/ cat. An apple. Not /æn/ apple.
05:58
So now let's get stuck into the juicy stuff.  The rules. When do we use these articles?
06:05
Rule number one: use the indefinite article  with singular countable nouns. Write this down!
06:13
In many languages the indefinite  article is actually just  
06:17
the number one. There is one book on the table.
06:21
In English it is much more common and more  natural to use a or an instead of one.
06:28
Sure one is used, but generally, it's used  
06:32
to emphasise that something  is singular and not plural.
06:37
If you're not sure whether or not  to use the indefinite article,
06:40
it can be really helpful to think about it  by replacing a or an with the number one.
06:48
A book. one book. It's the same thing.
06:51
But if the noun is plural or it's an uncountable  noun, we can't use it with the number one, can we?
06:59
So we also can't use it  with an indefinite article.
07:03
Okay, I'm going to put up a list  of nouns and I want you to see  
07:07
if you can guess which ones  take a or an as their article.
07:30
A cat. A strawberry. An olive. Children  and friends are plural nouns so 
07:38
we can't use a singular a or an and milk is  uncountable so we also can't use a or an.
07:48
We only use a or an with  singular countable nouns. Got it?
07:55
Rule number two: use the indefinite article  to introduce something for the first time
08:02
To show you what I mean here we're going to  read a little story together. It's very quick
08:27
Notice that each time we introduce a new noun into  the story we use the indefinite article a or an,
08:35
but the next time we refer to the same  noun we use the definite article the.
08:43
The indefinite article helps us to  talk generally about a noun. A woman is  
08:49
one of many it could be any one of them,  there are many women on the planet.
08:56
The woman helps us to be specific  about which woman we're talking about.
09:02
Sometimes it's already clear or it's obvious  
09:05
which noun we're referring to. So we can actually  introduce a noun for the first time using the
09:14
Oh the doorbell's ringing. Did you hear it?
09:19
Sure somewhere in the world right now, in  this moment, a doorbell is probably ringing,  
09:25
but because I said the.
09:28
We can assume that I mean my doorbell is ringing.  My doorbell, in my house not any random doorbell.
09:36
The good news is that my next lesson  here on YouTube will be all about the.
09:42
So make sure you're subscribing and that you  pay attention to the next lesson that I release.
09:48
It's gonna couple with this one nicely and give  you a complete overview of articles in English.
09:55
Rule number three: we use a or an when  describing something that is not specific.
10:02
I've got a little tip to help you  here, to help you understand this rule.
10:07
If you can replace a or an with  any you're not being specific.
10:14
So let's say you walk into a bakery and  you say: "I'd like a piece of cake please"
10:21
Well you know it's a bakery and it's  the morning. There's a whole cake there,  
10:26
and let's say there are eight or  there's ten pieces of cake there.
10:31
You haven't said which exact  piece of cake you want.
10:36
You said "I'll have a piece of cake".  I'll have any piece of cake. It's not  
10:42
important which particular piece it  is as long as I get a piece of cake.
10:47
If there was more than one type of cake you  might want to specify what type of cake you want.
10:54
A piece of chocolate cake or  a piece of carrot cake, right?
10:59
I've got another example for you:  we found a key on the ground.
11:05
So it's a random key. The type of key is not  clear. There was just any old key on the ground.
11:13
But you compare that with  the car key was on the ground  
11:19
or the house key was on the ground  or my keys were on the ground.
11:26
In all of these examples I talked about a specific  
11:30
type of key and in that case we  can't replace the or my with any.
11:38
Alright? Because we're being specific.
11:41
Rule number four: use a or  an with jobs and job titles.
11:47
Now this one might be a little obvious  to you but I want to highlight it because  
11:52
not every language uses articles in this same way.
11:56
I'm particularly thinking about my German  students but who else uses articles like this?
12:03
Do you use articles with jobs in your native  language? let me know down in the comments
12:08
because I think it's probably  way more than i realise!
12:12
In English, when we want to describe  what someone does for a living,  
12:15
we use a or an with the job title.
12:20
I'm a teacher. He's an engineer.  Lucy's a scientist. Daniel's a nurse.
12:27
Why do we need these articles?  
12:30
Because there are millions of teachers and  scientists and nurses all over the world.
12:36
Lucy is just one of many scientists. So  unless you're describing a specific job  
12:43
that is unique to one person, then  we use a or an as the job title.
12:49
The exception to this rule  is when there is only one  
12:53
of this role so in that case, we would use the.
12:58
Elizabeth is the Queen of England, that's  because there is only one Queen of England.
13:05
There is only one President of the United  States. So when an American says "The President"
13:13
you can assume that they're talking about the  only guy in their country that has that job
13:19
and hopefully one day soon it  will be a woman who has that job.
13:23
There is one mistake that I often  hear my students making with  
13:28
indefinite articles and I wonder  if you make this same mistake.
13:35
He's busy man. She's intelligent  woman. That's very expensive car.
13:43
Do you know what's wrong with these sentences?
13:47
Sometimes where there is an adjective before  the noun, it's easy to forget about the article.
13:53
But in English this is wrong. We don't  use adjectives instead of articles.
13:59
We use them in addition to articles. So  they come between the article and the noun.
14:07
He's a busy man. She's an intelligent  woman. That's a very expensive car.
14:15
Okay, so here's the thing. Omitting this  article is not going to stop someone  
14:20
from understanding you but it will be noticeable.
14:23
I know that you want to sound accurate  and natural in English, right?
14:29
These tiny little words are really important  
14:32
and it's a good thing to realise where your  mistakes are, so that you can fix them.
14:38
So that you can improve and you can feel  confident that you're speaking beautiful  
14:43
accurate English every time.
14:46
On that note I've prepared a  little practice quiz for you.
14:50
Are you ready?
14:54
There are four questions. Each question refers to  
14:58
one of the rules that we've  just learned in this lesson.
15:01
You'll see a sentence and you'll need to  complete it by adding the correct article.  
15:06
a, an or even the and sometimes  no article is necessary.
15:28
On the table, there were spoons.  That's a plural noun so no article.
15:37
Bowl, that's a singular countable noun,  
15:40
starting with the consonant sound  so we need to use a. A bowl.
15:46
Fruit is an uncountable noun so again no article
15:51
and tub of ice cream, well that's a singular  countable noun so we use a. A tub of ice cream.
16:15
When we introduce a noun for  the first time, we use a or an.
16:19
So we say an accident. A man. A red light.
16:25
But after that we use the  definite article. The accident.
16:31
We use a red light because we're telling  this story to someone a week later,  
16:36
someone who didn't see the accident so they  don't know which red light the man drove through.
16:43
We have to introduce it as a and if we  mention it again in the story we can use the.
17:02
In this question, we're talking about any  light bulb not one specific light bulb.
17:09
There were ten and I bought one of them.  It wasn't important which one I bought.
17:27
Here we're describing job titles.
17:29
So we use a and an. We use a with  a consonant sound, Ruby is a pilot.
17:38
An with a vowel sound, Jesse is an astronaut.
17:44
Alright! You made it through  to the end of the lesson!
17:47
Well done. You're a very good student!
17:50
I hope that you feel really good  about using the indefinite article  
17:54
now and that you've learned something new,  something that you can put into practice.
17:59
If you've got a question or you just want to say  hello, drop me a comment down below the video.
18:05
Make sure you subscribe to the channel,  
18:08
turn on notifications so that you find  out when the next video is released.
18:13
Remember that video is going to be  all about the definite article the.
18:18
It's going to be part 2 to this one. So  definitely come and check that one out
18:22
and if you want to keep going right  now I've got this lesson for you
18:26
it's a practice speaking with  me lesson, an imitation lesson  
18:31
where you'll get to follow along  and imitate me as I'm speaking.
18:35
Great practice with articles out loud in  spoken natural English. I'll see you in there.
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