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Unit 1Articles

The use of articles in English is complex, and there are a lot of exceptions that need to be remembered and learned.

Here are the basic rules.

  1. A/an

Use a/an to refer to a singular countable noun which is indefinite either we dont know which one, or it doesn't matter which one.

They live in a lovely house.

I'm reading a good book at the moment.

Shes expecting a baby.

Use a/an to describe what something or someone is.

That's an instrument for measuring distance.

Shes a lawyer.

  1. The

Use the before a singular or plural noun, when both the speaker and the listener know which specific object is being referred to.

They live in the green house on top of the hill.

The book Im reading is all about the emancipation of women.

Mind the baby! Shes near the fire.

The sweater I bought is blue.

Use the before a noun if it is the only one (the Queen, the Earth, the Atlantic). Also use it with certain public places, especially when referring to them in a general way:

I went to the theatre last night.

I have to go to the bank.

It should also be used when referring to general groups of people (the French, the rich and famous)

  1. Zero article

Use no article with plural and uncountable nouns when talking about things in general.

Compare the use of articles in the following sentences.

Money is the root of all evil. (general)

Put the money on the table. (specific)

Love conquers all. (general).

The love I have for you will last for ever. (specific)

Gas is cheaper than electricity. (general)

I forgot to pay the bill, and now the gas has been cut off. (specific)

  1. Final points

Notice the difference between the use of articles in the following sentences:

My daughter is at school.

The meeting will be held at the school.

I go to church on Sundays.

The firemen went to the church to put out the fire.

He was rushed to hospital immediately.

Im going to the hospital to visit him.

The use of the emphasises the place simply as a building. The use without the suggests that the place is being used for its proper function as an institution, i.e. a place of learning, healing etc.

Pubs, hotels, theatres, and cinemas usually have the

the Prince William

the London Hilton

the Albany Empire

the Odeon

Some geographical areas have the.

seas the Mediterranean

rivers the Seine; the Mississippi

island groups the Seychelles

mountain groups the Alps

deserts the Sahara

Streets, roads, and squares etc. in towns usually have no article.

Oxford Street

Portobello Road

Hyde Park

Leicester Square

Victoria Station

Other nouns which take no article are:

lakes Lake Superior, Lake Victoria

countries Spain, Norway, China

continents Asia, Europe

The following types of noun take no article when referred to generally:

games squash, football, chess

academic subjects medicine, literature, physics

abstract nouns freedom, understanding

meals dinner, tea, breakfast

Compare these sentences:

Do you prefer hockey or football?

The football they play in America is different from the kind they play in England.

Dinner is usually at eight oclock.

The dinner they served yesterday was the best I remember.


  1. Fill each gap (if necessary) with a suitable article.
  2. - Whats her job?

- Shes ___ teacher.

  1. Britain is ___ island.
  2. Excuse me, can I ask ___ question?
  3. What do you usually have for ___ lunch?
  4. Is there ___ life on Mars?
  5. Can you tell me ___ time, please?
  6. ___ air is so fresh today.
  7. She has ___ long brown hair.
  8. Is she ___ English?
  9. Wheres ___ bag? Its gone!
  10. Would you like ___ coffee?
  11. She works six days ___ week.
  12. In this exercise you have to put in a / an or the.

Example: There was __a__ man and __a__ woman in the room. _The_ man was English but _the_ woman looked foreign. She was wearing __a__ fur coat.

  1. This morning I bought _____ newspaper and _____ magazine. _____ newspaper is in my bag but I dont know where _____ magazine is.
  2. My parents have _____ cat and _____ dog. _____ dog never bites _____ cat but _____ cat often scratches _____ dog.
  3. I saw _____ accident this morning. _____ car crashed into _____ wall. _____ driver of _____ car was not hurt but _____ car was quite badly damaged.
  4. When you turn into Lipson Road, you will see three houses: _____ red one, _____ blue one and _____ white one. I live in _____ white one.
  5. We live in _____ old house in _____ middle of the village. There is _____ beautiful garden behind _____ house. _____ roof of _____ house is in very bad condition.
  6. Read these sentences carefully. Some are correct, but some need the (perhaps more than once). Correct the sentences where necessary.

Examples: Everest was first climbed in 1953.Right

Milan is in north of Italy.Wrong the north of Italy

  1. Last year we visited Canada and United States.
  2. Africa is much lager than Europe.
  3. South of England is warmer than north.
  4. We went to Spain for our holidays and swam in Mediterranean.
  5. Tom has visited most countries in western Europe.
  6. A friend of mine used to work as a reporter in Middle East.
  7. Next year we are going skiing in Swiss Alps.
  8. Malta has been a republic since 1974.
  9. Nile is longest river in Africa.
  10. United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Unit 2 Prepositions

Prepositions of place and directions

Main points

  1. You normally use prepositional phrases to say where a person or thing is, or the direction they are moving in.
  2. You can also use adverbs and adverb phrases for place and direction.
  3. Many words are both prepositions and adverbs.
  4. You use prepositions to talk about the place where someone or something is. Prepositions are always followed by a noun group, which is called the object of the preposition.

abovebelowinoppositethroughamongbeneathinsideoutsideunderatbesidenearoverunderneathbehindbetweenonroundHe stood near the door.

Two minutes later we were safely inside the taxi.

Note that some prepositions consist of more than one word.

in betweenin front ofnext toon top of There was a man standing in front of me.

The books were piled on top of each other.

  1. You can also use prepositions to talk about the direction that someone or something is moving in, or the place that someone or something is moving towards.

acrossintopasttoalongontoroundtowardsback toout ofthroughupdownThey dived into the water.

She turned and rushed out of the room.

  1. Many prepositions can be used both for place and direction.

The bank is just across the High Street. (place)

I walked across the room. (direction)

We live in the house over the road. (place)

I stole his keys and escaped over the wall. (direction)



  1. You can also use adverbs and adverb phrases for place and direction.

abroadhereundergroundeverywhereawayindoorsupstairsnowheredownstairsoutdoors~somewheredownwardsthereanywhereSheila was here a moment ago.

Cant you go upstairs and turn the bedroom light off?

Note that a few noun groups can al

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