Article Summary


fuzzy bee

Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced 

""A" – unspecific vs. "A" – specific



Making a violin requires more than technical knowledge. (unspecific – any one)

We gave a violin to the music school. (specific)



A comet appears to have a tail as it streaks through the sky.(unspecific)

A comet was seen in the western sky last night. (specific)



This is a global business.   /ˈg/ 

This is an electronic business. /ɪ/

The company has an NIH grant.   /ˈɛn/ 

The director has a university e-mail address./ˌyu/

The director has an unlisted e-mail address. /ʌn/

"The" – Class



The wolf is a nocturnal animal. (unspecific—the class)

Wolves are nocturnal animals. (unspecific—all in general)


The Lion

The lion sleeps much of the day. (unspecific – the class)

A lion sleeps much of the day.  (unspecific – any one)

All – plural nouns


salami - specific one

Salami is very salty. (indefinite – all in general)

The salami I just cut is very salty. (definite)

"The" – identified nouns


Puzzle Piece

This is a puzzle piece. The piece fits into a puzzle.
(first mention)move over (second mention)


puzzle piece fitting into puzzle

This is a puzzle.  The pieces are inside the box. 
(first mention) — (an expected part of an already mentioned item)


holding puzzle piece

The part on top is here.  (identified by modifier)

The part that I am holding is a corner.  (ident. by clause)

The part you see is a corner. (ident. by clause)


the last piece

Hand me the piece.   (ident. by both see or know it)

Hand me the last piece. (ident. by being unique, the only one)

"The" / "A" – nationality


an Englishman

He is an Englishman. (unspecific)

He is English. (adjective of nationality)

The English are northern people. (specific nationality)



the blind

The blind need accessible walkways.

The English  were proud of their team.

Do you want a large or small coffee.  I'll have the large.

The latter will be much better.  In fact,  it's the best.

"The" – Expressions


The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a beautiful landmark.  (specific)


Bay Area Satellite

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I live on the Peninsula.

I live in the coastal hills.


Map of U.S

She lives in France.

I live in the United States of America.

He lives in the Netherlands.


milk and cookies

She ate one.  (a cookie)

Then she ate another (one more)

Then she ate the others (the rest)


boy student

Most students ask questions.
Most of the students in my English class ask questions.

A number of the students ask questions.
The number of the students who ask questions is low.

Article Practice


Dog with a red ball

I have a dog
The dog  is very playful.

The dog has a ball.
The ball is red.


college grad

The kids who are starting college this fall across nation were born in 1994.

They do not remember .....



The Mississippi
The Mojave Desert

The Vietnam War (but not WWII)

The 4th of July (but May Day)
The Renaissance  



He is the most convincing actor.

He is the least likable character.

It was the saddest movie ever.


suitcase on wheels

Editing practice


Greek amphora

The history of furniture reflects the history of the culture...

History of furniture reflects history of culture.


Chez Panisse

"Chez Panisse Café " is a less-expensive alternative to Alice Waters' restaurant "Chez Panisse".




 phone friends

A friend called. / *Friend called. 
Friends called.

This / that friend called.
These / those / some / three friends called. 

A hair is on your sweater.
Hair makes a guy look young.  



We went to San Francisco in 2009.
We went to San Francisco in June.
We went to San Francisco on June 19, 2009, at noon.


cable car

We stood in the street.
We stood on the sidewalk.
We stood at the corner.