Joined: 07 Oct 2008
|Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:12 am Post subject: I don't understand how to use arcticles
|Hi everyone! I'm Russian, I began to study English quite recently, so I can't figure out how to use arcticles... In Russian language we use none, you know... So I often use them in incorrect way or forget to use them at all
Please, explain to me how you use them...
And I have a question... Are these things really so significant? Will entire sentence make sence if I I forget about arcticles
Sorry for mistakes:-)
Joined: 28 Mar 2006
|Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:58 am Post subject:
|Ok I can try....
Yes the sentence will make sense, although the meaning may change slightly. And it will not sound natural to an English speaker.
There are two articles in English..
"a" and "the"
("an" is the same as "a" but used before a word that starts with a vowel.)
Take the sentence
"Adam can see a dog"
This means it could be any dog. We are not talking about a specific dog.
"Ivan is looking for his dog. Adam can see the dog"
In this case we are talking about a specific dog. Adam can see Ivan's dog.
(Often we use 'the' when refering to an object that has already been spoken about. This indicates we are still talking about the same object.)
If the sentence was:
"Ivan was looking for his dog. Adam can see a dog"
It would mean that Adam can see a dog, but it could be any dog. It might not be Ivan's dog, it could be a different dog.
When to use articles
In English you almost always indicate a quantity when talking about an inanimate object... If there is only one, use "a" or "the" based on the rules above.
Adam gave Anna a flower (it could be any flower)
Adam found a flower he gave Anna the flower. (talking about a specific flower)
Adam gave Anna two flowers.
Adam gave Anna some flowers
Notice that we always say how many flowers there are.
A couple more examples...
"A man gave Anna a flower." (We don't know who the man is, it could be anyone).
"Anna met a man. The man gave Anna a flower. "
(In the second sentece we are refering to a specific man (the man Anna met), so we use 'the'.)
Hope that helps a little...
Joined: 07 Oct 2008
|Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:25 pm Post subject:
|Thanks a lot, atreides
Your explanation helped me much
I find all these things difficult though
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
|Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:04 pm Post subject:
|Nice job, Atreides! You explained that better than any of my grammar teachers could. Anyway, I recently saw a movie called "The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice" yesterday, and one of the main characters is ex-KGB and doesn't use articles. For example, he says, "Dracula always was bestseller." The correct English is "Dracula always was a bestseller." The movie also includes a little bit of Russian, which I had fun translating!
So, to answer your second question, you don't need to use articles. English speakers will still understand you. But as not to stand out, it is to your benefit to learn them.
Joined: 16 May 2009
|Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:49 pm Post subject:
|Something to note about the word "an:" it goes before vowel SOUNDS, not necessarily vowels. For example, the letter "M" is a consonant, but you say "an M" because it begins with a vowel (em). A Universal Serial Bus's abbreviation is "USB," but you say "a USB" or "a U" when talking about the letter U, because it's pronounced "yu" (ю). See?
I really can't explain "the" and "a/an" too well. I think the explanation above is pretty good. If you learn the basic concepts, you'll eventually see how English speakers use it. Honestly, I hate the English language. It's my native language, but when I think about it, I really can't stand it. It's so random.
Joined: 07 Apr 2009
|Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:56 pm Post subject:
|English isn´t my native language, but I understand that "a/an" is the same as "one" for example:
when you say: "Я знаю одну девушку" - you can translate it as "I know one girl" or "I know a girl". This is the best example I know for "a". You use "an" instead of "a" when the next word begins with vowel, just like in russian when you say "Я ем борщ СО сметаной". instead of "...С сметаной"
Joined: 23 Jul 2009
|Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:39 pm Post subject: using articles
|i hope this simplifies what has been previously stated
we have two articles in english
indefinite - a; OR an (if written OR spoken when the next word or sound starts with a vowel)
we use a or an when the object (noun) is not specifically defined as in give me a book = any book will do
[b]we ONLY use a or an with singular nouns,
but NOT with people or place names,
NOR with liquids,
NOR with substances like sugar, salt etc - when we use some (which is not defined (any amount will do) [/b]
definite - the (used when the object or objects is or are known to both speaker/writer and listener/reader)
(we don't use the with people or place names)
the is used in the plural as either a definite or indefinite reference
have you got the books could mean - have you got the books we are taking to the library - OR it could mean have you got the books not the plates
AND to make things worse
you might want to read books by shakespeare - NOT the books by shakespeare which would mean you want to read ALL his books
AND using articles when there is an adjective before the noun
i like red hats - means just that
i like the red hats - means not the other colour hats
Hope that's understandable
i am english and have been an english teacher for many years - hope its ok