Summary: Using Indefinite and Definite Articles before Nouns

The following is a recap of the basic rules for using articles before nouns in English.

1. Countable or Non-countable Nouns

Countable nouns are objects that come in discrete units and thus can be made plural. If the noun is singular, it usually requires an indefinite article (a, an or some). If the noun is plural, it requires no article.

Non-countable nouns are objects that cannot be divided into discrete units and thus cannot be made plural. They require the indefinite article some, an expression of quantity (a piece of, a lot of), or no article before them.

2. Countable Nouns Acting as Non-countable Nouns

In general, you can rely on rule #1 to classify nouns, but, as with all rules in English, there are exceptions! You must consider the meaning of the noun in the context of the sentence. Some countable nouns can act as non-countable nouns.

3. Using the Definite Article the before Nouns

Once a noun is identified to the reader, then the next time it appears in the sentence or paragraph you can use the definite article the before that noun.

Congratulations! You have completed the tutorial on using articles before nouns. For any questions or comments, please send them via E-mail to the instructor.

Return to Using Articles

[ Scientific Writing Courses | Writing and Editing | Software Documentation ]

[ On-line Writing Instruction | Test Yourself! | On-line ESL Instruction ]

[ Home | Contact Us ]

Copyright 2008-2009 Biotext Writing Consultants