Bài 1: Mạo từ trong tiếng Anh (Indefinite and Definite Articles in English)

Indefinite and Definite Articles in English


Topic: An introduction to articles

This is the lesson in two parts

Part one learning the rules.

Do you know what a knick – knack is?

I‘ll bet you have a knick – knack and you don’t even know it.

A Knickknack is a small decoration

It’s an object we use just for show

Some people call knick - knacks dust collectors because these objects just sit and collect dust

I have a lot of knickknacks

And I keep some of them right here on my bookshelf

I’m going to show you a few

This is a vase

And this is a candle

Here is a doll

And this is a box

Do you know what this is?

It’s a photo cube

And this is an angel.

Let’s first talk about The Indefinite Articles A and An.

We use the articles with singular nouns as in a vase, a box, an angel

Singular nouns are countable nouns

We can count vases

We can count boxes

we can count angels

A singular noun means one thing or person

A vase - one vase. A box - one box. An angel - one angel.

We use an indefinite articles to identify, classify or define a noun by that I mean for naming something or telling what kind of thing it is

If you don’t know what a knick - knack is

I can define it for you.

A knickknack is a small decoration.

We use indefinite articles to make a general reference – the speaker is not talking about a specific thing or person

This is important to understand indefinite articles are used to make a general reference .

You may wonder why we have choices of two Indefinite articles A and An

It’s hard to do with pronunciation.

We use A before a singular noun that starts with consonant sound as in a candle, a doll.

Candle begins with a consonant sound / k /, candle

.Doll begins with a consonant sound / d /, doll

Now we may have a singular noun or by itself or the noun can be a phrase as in a beautiful doll

We are still talking about one doll, a doll but we have the adjective "beautiful"

Beautiful begins with a consonant sound / b /, beautiful so we need A, a beautiful doll.

Use An before a singular noun that starts with a vowel sound as in an angel

Now look at the next example, Hour.

Hour starts with the letter h but we don’t pronounce the letter H

The first letter that we pronounce are O and U

That's vowel sound. That's why we say an hour not a hour

An hour is correct

Also the noun may appear in noun phrase as in an interesting knick – knack

Interesting begins with vowel sound so we say an interesting knick – knack

We’re going to play a little game now

I’m going to test your memory

Look closely because I want you to remember where all my knick - knacks go

Do you think you can remember?

Let’s see!

If you recall, I have a vase, a candle, a doll, and a box, an angel, and a photo cube

Okay, so now the fun part!

Do you remember w here does the box go?

Here, The box goes here… on this shelf.

Do you remember where the candle went?

Up here. The candle goes up here

How about the vase?

Do you remember?

The vase goes up here

How about the photo cube?

It goes here…on that shelf

How about the angel?

The angel went over here

.And the doll?

Over here

Did you get them all right?

Let’s begin to talk about how the Indefinite and Definite Articles are different?

A and an are indefinite articles

We often use them before a singular noun the first time we mention it

THE is a definite article

We use it before a singular noun after the first mention

THE makes a noun specific – it is known and understood by the speaker and listener

So one very big difference between indefinite and definite articles is that the definite article “The” is used in specific sense, for specific reference

Note how we have one definite article they can be pronounced two different ways

Pronounce THE as /ðə/ before a consonant sound as in the vase

Pronounce THE as /ði/ before a vowel sound as in the interesting vase

Listen again /ðə/ the vase, /ði/ the interesting vase.

As you know, this is a box

It’s a Russian box

And the lid has a beautiful painting

I’m not sure if you can see it but it’s very beautiful

Note that we use the definite article “The” with the noun that is specific from context which is that mean, it means we use THE even in the first mention of a singular noun if the particular thing or person is known or understood by both the speaker and listener

For example, you heard me say

This is a Russian box

The lid has a beautiful painting

I say "lid" for the first time

I use the definite article “Thethe lid

Why? Because you know what I am talking about

You understand which specific lid I’m speaking up

The lid of Russian box . ..

Let me tell you a little bit more about some of the knick – knacks

As I said, this is a vase

.I use the vase for bookmarks .

.I like to collect bookmarks because I like to read

This is a candle

And as you know, candles are made of wax

This candle is special because it has leaves

The leaves were pressed into the wax

Do you see?

I think this is a beautiful doll

I brought it back from Russia

As you can tell by the traditional clothing

By now I hope you have better understanding of Indefinite and Definite Articles but there is the third choice no article

One book, a teacher talk about the zero article it means that no article is used

No article is needed before uncountable nouns used to make general reference

For example, candles are made of wax

Wax is noncount or uncountable noun

We can’t count it

And I’m talking about wax in general

I’m not talking about a specific wax or particular kind of wax

Candles are made of wax.

We also use the zero article before plural nouns again when making a general reference

For example, I use the vase for bookmarks

I’m talking about bookmarks in general

I’m not talking about any particular bookmarks, just bookmarks in a general sense

.I use the vase for bookmarks

Let’s talk a moment about proper nouns

A proper noun is the name of a particular person, place, or thing

A proper noun begins with a capital letter, in upper case letter

The zero articles are often used before proper nouns

For example: Jennifer, YouTube, Russia

We don’t say the Jennifer, The YouTube, The Russia

So the zero article is used before people first names, before most companies names as well as before most names of countries

We can add after that cities and states as well

Let's play the memory game one more times

Can you remember where everything went?

I took all the knick – knacks off the shelves

Let’s see if you can remember

How many knick – knacks did I have on the top shelf?

There were two: The candle and The vase

Do you remember how many knick – knacks I had on the next shelf – the second shelf?

Four

.The photo cube went here

The box went here

The doll went over here

And the angel went right there

I would like to explain one more guideline

Some words make a noun specific or unique, meaning one of the kind. There is nothing else like it

.If the noun is specific or unique, we use the definite article The

For example, what was on the top shelf? The next shelf? The second shelf?

Words like top, next, and second make a noun specific

What’s the most interesting object?

A superlative adjectives like the most interesting make a noun unique.

Let ’s review

Here a short exercise to test your understanding

Identify general references

Read the statements of the five highlighted phrases and blue

Three may general references which one are there……

Here they are: A knick – knack, a small decoration and dust collectors.

Identify specific references

Five of the six highlighted phrases are specific

Everything but bookmarks is specific references

Identify countable nouns of the four highlighted phrases to give examples of countable nouns

A photo cube and candles are countable nouns.

Identify proper nouns if you read the three statements and look at the highlighted phrases your find all they want example

The proper noun is Russia

It is written with the zero article

Which uncountable noun is used in a general sense?

Wax in the first sentence is used in a general sense.

Which uncountable noun is used in a specific sense?

Clothing in second sentence is used in a specific sense, the tranditional clothing.

Which noun is specific from context?

Clothing is again the answer

The traditional clothing is the clothing on the doll

We understand from the context which clothing is being talk about


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