This is a continuation lesson on articles.
So far, you have already learned about the indefinite articles a and an.
Let's look at those rules again.
A and an are used, one, with singular count nouns, two, to give general facts, three, to talk about things that aren't specific, and four to introduce something for the first time.
Let's highlight Rule Number Two, Giving General Facts.
What is another way to give general facts?
From the previous video, I gave the following two examples.
A computer is much faster now compared to 20 years ago.
An elephant has very big ears.
It's possible to take away the indefinite article which means there is no article.
The zero with a line through it is called zero article or null article.
Both are correct names.
Then change the noun to plural form.
In other words, the example would become, computers are much faster now compared to 20 years ago.
Elephants have very big ears.
Again, making the noun plural is a way to give facts.
Going on to Rule Number Three, we know that we can use a and an with nonspecific singular count nouns.
But is it possible to talk about non-specific plural nouns?
Yes. I may be making a fruit salad with my friend and I ask her hey, do you have bananas?
Do you have apples?
As you can see, there are no articles before bananas or apples.
I'm not asking for specific bananas or apples.
What happens if you want to talk about something specific?
You can use the.
The is what is called the definite article.
For example, let's use the same sentence from the previous video.
You can use a computer to write your report.
But let's change a to the.
To make it easier to understand, let's listen to a dialogue between a mother and daughter using that sentence to give a better context.
>> What homework do you have?
>> I have to write a report on the State of California.
>> That will take a long time to write.
You can use the computer to write your report.
>> In this conversation the use of the indicates that both the mother and daughter are thinking about the same computer and most likely there is only one computer in their home.
Perhaps you may wonder if the can be used with plural nouns.
Yes, you can.
For example, >> How is your report going?
>> It's okay.
Can you help me Mom?
Can you go to my room and get the books that are next to my bed?
>> All right, all right.
>> Thanks. >> Here you see that the is used with the plural count noun, books.
The daughter wanted specific books from her room.
Not the books on the bookshelf or the books on the chair.
She wants the ones next to her bed.
While we are talking about types of nouns, let's think about non-count nouns.
Can we use articles with non-count nouns?
Here are a couple of non-count nouns.
Milk and cheese.
A and an do not work with non-count nouns.
But, how about the definite article the?
Let's continue the conversation between the mother and daughter.
>> Mom, I'm really thirsty.
>> Well, what do you want to drink?
Do we still have the chocolate milk from yesterday?
>> I think so, do you want anything to eat?
>> Yeah, how about the cheese that grandma gave us?
>> Ok >> As you heard,
it is possible to use the with non-count nouns.
From what I said before, the chocolate milk and the cheese are specific ones that both the mother and daughter know about.Okay, one more point related to this.
What if I just want to talk about milk and cheese in general?
With count nouns we can either use a and an or make the noun plural as I mentioned earlier.
However with non-count nouns you cannot use a or an.
Also you cannot make milk or cheese plural.
Instead, you just keep it in the same form.
In other words, there is no article.
Here are two sentences that give general information about both things.
Milk contains a lot of calcium and is good for your bones.
Cheese is often found in western salads.
There is a zero before both nouns, to remind you that there are no articles.
Okay, we are ready to move onto the last rule.
We often use a and an, when we introduce something for the first time.
Something that the listener is not familiar with.
After we have introduced it, what should we do?
Can you guess?
I will give you a hint.
After we have mentioned it, that means the thing becomes specific.
Yes, you use the.
In the last video you might remember the conversation about the speaker
seeing an elephant on a safari.
I had said that the listener doesn't have the same image of the elephant that I, the speaker, have.
But it doesn't matter since the elephant is not specific.
However, after I have talked about the elephant for the first time, I don't need to use a anymore.
I can use the.
Let's take a look at my safari trip again but this time with more information.
When I went on a safari I saw an elephant.
The elephant was drinking water from a river.
The river's water seemed very dirty.
I also say cheetahs running after a zebra.
I tried to run and get a picture of the cheetahs, but I fell and dirt got all over my pants.
I went to the river and tried to wash off the dirt, but it wouldn't come off.
It got dirtier.
Since you already heard about the elephant in the first sentence, I used the in the second sentence because it is now referring to a specific elephant.
The elephant that I just told you about.
I also introduced river in the second sentence so, I used a river.
But when I continue to talk about the river after, I use the.
In the example, elephant and river are singular count nouns.
I also used a plural count noun, cheetahs, and a non-count noun, dirt.
For both there are no articles.
However, with second mention, I still add the.
Whew, that was a lot of information, but you did it.
Please review the articles chart handout carefully.
Remembering when to use a and an the and no article takes a lot of practice.
But don't give up.