The basic knowledge of articles

大家好,今天让我们一起来学习冠词articles。学习对象有定冠词definite articles 和不定冠词indefinite article以及零冠词zero article.


  1. Definite and indefinite articles
  2. Zero article

Step by step:

  1. Indefinite article—a/ an + [C, sing.]
  2. an apple  a university  an umbrella  an hour  an honest child  an X
  3. number—one

Rome was not built in a day.   Wait a minute.   I bought a new car last year.   Can I ask a question?

There are a thousand students in the school.  Would you like a cup of tea?   Half an hour

  • Did you stay in Beijing only one night?   Do you want one apple or two? (emphasize the number)

One day you’ll see me again.   Close one eye and then the other.

  1. a certain thing, not specific

There is a woman outside.  He lives in a small city.   She told us a funny joke.  A man called you last night.  Can you open a window?   Give me a book.

  1. categories

She is a Chinese student.   Beijing is a big city.   He is a nice person.   He is a pilot.  A mouse is a small animal.   A horse runs fast.   A snake is a dangerous reptile.

  1. Definite article—the + [U]/[C, sing. /pl.] used to mean a specific thing
  2. specific thing(s), not the other

Where are the guests?   Put the table in the corner.   The bus has left, we have to wait for the next.

Give me the salt.   Take the pills three times a day.   Don’t touch the red boxes.

  1. second time to mention a specific thing

He bought a new car last year, but the car broke yesterday.   I have a blue pen and two red pens, the red pens are five dollars.   There was a tree outside the house, the tree was planted a hundred years ago.

I heard a man singing in the room, but the man stopped when I came in.

  1. categories—the + [C, sing.]

The Internet has made the world smaller.  The horse is a useful animal.   The orange is a kind of fruit.   The snake is very dangerous.    The computer is important to us.

  1. unique things in the world

There is a rainbow in the sky.   The moon goes around the earth, and the earth goes around the sun.

The weather in Antarctic is the worst in the world.

  1. a category of people—the + adj.

The rich live better than the poor.   These seats are for the disabled.   We should care for the old and the young.  Lives are hard for the unemployed.

  1. the same:  We live in the same street.   Are the two leaves different? No, they are the same.
  2. Zero article—used to mean things in general
  3. abstract nouns generally, “the” if specifically

Practice makes perfect.  I wish you happiness.  He is interested in pop music.  His words are full of strength.   Thank you for giving me new hope.

  1. material nouns generally, “the” if specifically

Do you like tea or coffee?   We can’t live without water.   They are digging for gold.   It will have heavy snow tomorrow.   Cold air came in from that window.

  1. general categories—[U] and [C, pl.]

Horses were used in ancient wars.   Snakes are very dangerous.   We moved to a new house last week and now we need furniture.   Cars run faster than buses.

  1. weekday, month, some holidays and three meals

I arrived here on Monday.   He was born in June.   October 1st is National Day.   Merry Christmas!

Come and have breakfast/ lunch/ dinner with us!

  1. some countable in abstract use

He is old enough to go to college.   He is at school/ home now.   You should go to hospital at once.

The thief was sent into prison for a year.


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