A, An or The?
When do we say "the dog" and when do we say "a dog"?
The and a/an are called "articles". We divide them into "definite" and "indefinite" like this:
We use "definite" to mean sure, certain. "Definite" is particular.
We use "indefinite" to mean not sure, not certain. "Indefinite" is general.
When we are talking about one thing in particular, we use the. When we are talking about one thing in general, we use a or an.
Think of the sky at night. In the sky we see 1 moon and millions of stars. So normally we would say:
- I saw the moon last night.
- I saw a star last night.
Look at these examples:
Of course, often we can use the or a/an for the same word. It depends on the situation, not the word. Look at these examples:
- We want to buy an umbrella. (Any umbrella, not a particular umbrella.)
- Where is the umbrella? (We already have an umbrella. We are looking for our umbrella, a particular umbrella.
- Now try yourself:
- I have car.
- Tom is teacher.
- Is there dictionary in your backpack?
- That is excellent book.
- Do you live in big house?
- I ate thick, juicy steak.