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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 9 RULES OF ARTICLES - A, AN, THE or 'THEE' ? - Use and pronounce correctly every time!

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Hello everyone and welcome back to english with lucy

today I am going to teach you how to use the articles a and and the

Correctly, I am going to show you the nine rules for using these articles

this includes when you should use them when you shouldn't use them and

Very importantly the pronunciation. I know a lot of my students

struggle with the pronunciation of these articles we will discuss when to use a and when to use a

when to use an and when to use n and

Went they V and when to say that this can be very confusing for my students

So I'm happy to clarify this for you. This lesson will really help you with your grammar and your pronunciation

but if you'd like to improve your grammar and your pronunciation skills

even further then I highly recommend the special method of

Reading a book whilst listening to the audiobook version at the same time

This can really help you. So let me explain

Take a book that you have already read in English or a book that you would like to read in English and read it again

whilst listening to the audiobook version from audible

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Reading alone will not help you with your pronunciation

The way a word is spelt or written in English

Doesn't necessarily tell you how to pronounce it in English

But if you listen to a word as you read it

Your brain will start making connections and the next time you read that word

You'll know how it's pronounced and the next time you hear that word. You'll know how it's spelt

This is such an effective method and the best part is you can get one free audiobook

That's a 30 day free trial on audible. All you have to do is click on the link in the description box and sign up

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Right. Let's get on with the lesson

rule number one the pronunciation of a and an I

believe that you should


pronunciation over grammar at the beginning

This is because it is

Fairly easy to unlearn bad grammar habits, but it's very very difficult to correct bad

Pronunciation habits, you should learn good pronunciation from the very beginning. This is something that I think many teachers miss a

And and that may seem like very simple words

But you would be amazed at how many mistakes are made with these words

Let's talk about a first

in British English the standard most common pronunciation of a is

Ah, ah

This is the schwa sound

Practice with me watch my mouth shape. Ah, ah

It's quite a short sound and it's a push of air a push of voice

my mouth is open, but my muscles are relaxed a

Abed a cat a dog

You will also hear us occasionally say eh, eh

My mouth starts like this and

It changes into the e sound. Eh, eh

So we have two options, uh or a

So we know that a is the standard most common form so when do we use eh-eh

Is the strong form of the article?

we use a when we are stressing or

Emphasizing something look at the difference between a and a in

context I

Might ask for a drink by saying could I have a drink?

Could I have a drink?

but I'm given two drinks so I might say I

asked for a drink I asked for a drink I

am emphasizing

that I wanted one drink a drink not two drinks a

Is used for emphasis

There is also another possibility that you might not read in the grammar books

But I think it's important for you to understand it you

might hear us say a

When we are contemplating or thinking about what we are going to say next

for example, I

think I'll have a

Coffee it doesn't sound as nice to go. I think I'll have


listen to native speakers and see if you can notice if they say a

when thinking of what to say next in place of a

Now I've been talking about British English

But what about American English in American English a is more commonly used

but it can be regional you will probably hear both a and a used but a

Might be more common

Now these are not strict rules. You will hear people using a and as they please

Especially if it helps in the flow of their conversation

this is all the same for an and

In British English we are much more likely to say earng. That's the same sound with

after it earn

This is a weak

Unstressed form because earn tends to be an unstressed word

however, if we do want to emphasize

the article then we might say an


We might also say an if we want to

elongate the article for contemplation as we did with a

the same for an and


Would like an ice cream. I'd like an ice cream. I would like an

This isn't as common in American English and is more commonly used

Rule number two

This refers to the pronunciation of that

Should it be the or should it be V?

I have so many students asking me about this. My inbox is full

normally in general we say the

the it's the

Sound with the schwa



however, when the article comes before a vowel sound

We say V


That's the the sound

that's the

sound with the e


The bag the bag the cat the cat

the hand the hand

the maid the maid

but if a vowel sound follows

the apple the Apple

V only

V only

V end

the end


v yuba

Now, can you notice?

that I am inserting a

yeah sound in between V and

The following word that begins with a vowel sound

This is called

Intrusion and you can learn more about it in my connected speech video that really help you with your pronunciation and your fluency

It's important to remember that we say V before a word that starts with a vowel sound

Not just a vowel letter

for example

University its first letter is a vowel but its first sound is not a vowel sound

University the first sound is the yep sound

So we say the University of the University

The same for the universe the universe

We also use V when we want to emphasize something

It doesn't matter what sound the following word begins with if we want to

Emphasize it and we can say V

For example, if somebody told me that they met the Queen yesterday

I might say what you met the Queen. I'm emphasizing

V V Queen

Let's move on to rule number three

use a before consonant sounds and an

before vowel sounds

let's take a look at when to use a

we use a or

before words that begin with a consonant sound a

hand a man a brother a sister a

big dog

we use an

before words that begin with a vowel sound

for example an apple an elephant an

excellent idea an


this actually makes it easier for you to say a event a

Apple is quite hard in my opinion

Now, let's move on to rule number four

Use a and an with countable singular nouns only

Countable nouns are nouns which have both a singular and a plural form

They can be counted

one bag

200 cats

uncountable nouns

Cannot be counted

here are some examples of a and an with countable nouns a

sunset an open door an

amazing play a

hole a

university degree

I'm using a instead of earn because although university is spelt with a vowel sound

it doesn't start with a vowel sound a

University degree a

euro an MSc I'm saying earn a

MSC because the letter M is

pronounced M

Clearly but it begins with a vowel sound

Here are some examples of uncountable nouns nouns which can't be counted water

salt tea

Anger love

Darkness I

Can't say I have four angers. It's uncountable. It can't be counted

you can say I'd like to waters or

three coffees

This is because I am implying

That I would like two glasses of water or two cups of coffee. I'm talking about the unit's

So a and n can be used with singular countable

nouns only

Singular because we can only use a and n to talk about one thing or person at a time

The however can be used with all kinds of nouns

The anger the whole the European Union the end

Let's move on to rule number five

Use a or an to talk about something that is unknown to your listener

Use the to talk about something that is known to your listener

This might sound quite complicated, but I'm sure I can make you understand it

Listen to this example. I

Have a dog and a cat

The dog is golden and the cat is ginger. I

Say a dog and a cat in the first sentence

Because that is the first time that I'm mentioning them to my listener

They are unknown to my listener in

The second sentence I say the dog and the cat

because they are already known to my listener the listener knows which dog and which cat I'm talking about a

And an are called indefinite articles because they refer to something that the listener doesn't know about

The is called a definite article

Because it refers to something that the listener does know about

Let's take a look at another example. I

bought new

hat last year

Hat was red

It should be I bought a new hat last year the hat was red

This was fairly easy because I was only talking about one hat

But what if I want to talk about more than one hat or more than one object or person?

If I wanted to talk about more than one hat or a specific number of hats

then I wouldn't be able to use a or an

for example

I bought some new hats last year or I bought three new hats last year

the second sentence

the hats were read I

Say three hats or some if I don't want to specifically mention the amount of hats

the is used because you know, which hats I'm talking about in these examples we have used a

And/or some in the first sentence in the second sentence

We have used the because our listener knows what we're talking about

But we don't always have to do this

Sometimes our listener will automatically understand what we're referring to so we can just use that

for example

Can I use the toilet?

Can you shut the door?

You know which toilet or which door I'm talking about when I say this

The door might be in the room the toilet might be the only one in the building or the nearest one

Another example the woman with the blonde hair is my mother. I

Say the woman first, but then I give information to identify her. So, you know exactly which woman it is

Let's move on to rule number six

Use a or an to talk about things that aren't specific

For example

Do you have an eraser I'm talking about any eraser

but if I say

Do you have the eraser I gave you last week then?

I'm talking about one specific eraser, or I want to go on a cruise. I

Don't mind which cruise I'm just talking about any cruise. It's non specific

However if I'm talking about a specific cruise that I saw advertised

I would say I want to go on the cruise we saw advertised

So a and an for being

nonspecific and the and the for being specific

Let's move on to rule seven

use a and an to talk about the category type or

profession of something or someone

Here are five simple examples

Elaine is a feminist. That is how she defines herself. It's her category. I guess I

am a teacher

It's my profession a teacher

I hear a lot of students say I am teacher. I am scientist. I work as teacher

I work as scientist. It's always a teacher a

scientist I

Know in other languages this is different

But in English remember we use a and an when we're talking about category type or profession

he is an engineer our

Tractor is a John Deere. That's its type or its make its category

He is an attractive man

now let's talk about rule number eight if you want to talk in general using plurals or

uncountable nouns

Don't use an article

For example

leather belts are


When I don't use an article

I'm talking about leather belts in general

If I say the leather belts are expensive. I'm talking about a particular kind or brand of leather belts

another example

Do you like gin?

Gin is an uncountable noun

I'm asking you if you like gin in general


Not asking you if you like this particular brand of gin if I wanted to ask that I would say do you like the gin?

Another one knowledge is a blessing. I'm talking about knowledge in general


Let's move on to rule number nine. And this is a big one. It's going to be hard to complete in just one lesson

But I'll try my best

Rule number nine is know when to not use an article

Many of my students struggle with knowing when not to use an article and there are some rules there are also

many exceptions

I'm going to talk to you about quite a few important rules and I'll also try to insert the many exceptions

Firstly in general. We don't use articles with proper nouns

for example first names


William when

Muhammad, I'm sorry if I didn't say when correctly

I really wanted to include it because I know a lot of my students have that name

Help me with my pronunciation if I if I didn't do that correctly

holidays, for example Christmas Easter

Mother's Day we wouldn't say the Christmas the Easter or the Easter

when talking about geography

Articles are generally not used but there are quite a few exceptions

But in general we don't use articles for countries like Canada or England

For States or counties like, California or Bedfordshire?

For cities like London or Mumbai

for towns like a boot or


for continents like Africa or Europe

for single Lakes like Lake, Ontario or Lake Tahoe and

For single mountains like Mount Everest or Mount Fuji

There are exceptions. For example, we say the Ukraine the Congo the

United States the United Kingdom

the Philippines

The Czech Republic if you can think of anymore put them down below in the comment section

We also don't use articles for sports for example running

football badminton


gymnastic, I

Don't say I play the football I say I play football


English Spanish, I do Arabic. I don't learn the Arabic I learn

Arabic for universities

Harvard Cambridge

Westminster Business School, that's where I went

however, if the university name begins with the word

University then we do use there the University of York the University of Reading

We also don't use articles for places

locations or streets

for example home work school

Main Street the British equivalent of Main Street

High Street, we do use an article with the high street what is on the high street?

There are many exceptions as well

We say the bank the cinema the hospital the dentist the doctors the post office

We don't use articles for a noun plus a number for example

platform 9 and 3/4 or room 101 and


Acronyms in general we don't use articles with acronyms for example NASA NATO

However, if the letters are pronounced individually in the acronym then we do use an article the UN

the EU

the US

But that is not used before university acronyms as in UCLA and MIT. Oh

My god, are you ok after all of that information

Thank you so much for participating in my lesson. I love having you as my students

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