Articles - the same or different?

The following sentences demonstrate when and when not to use def/indef articles in English. Think how you would say the sentence in Spanish. Is it the same or different (S or D)?

  1. There is a Chinese restaurant and a pizzeria near where I live. The Chinese restaurant is usually quiet but the pizzeria is always busy. (When we first talk about something we use "a", the second time we mention it we use "the")
  2. (a) Do you know who the Prime Minister of Britain is? (b) The Titanic sank in 1912. (c) Have you ever seen the Loch Ness monster? (We use "the" when the person or thing referred to is unique)
  3. (a) X: I'll wash up.       Y: No, just put everything into the dishwasher.   (b) I haven't read the newspaper today.   (We use "the" when it is clear what we are referring to)
  4. (a) The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell. (b) The pigeon is a fascinating bird. (We use "the" to talk about a generic class of things)
  5. (a) Is the Amazon longer than the Nile? (b) I prefer the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. (c) The Loch Ness is famous all over the world.  (We use "the" for names of rivers, seas, oceans and deserts but we use no article before names of lakes)
  6. (a) I like going hiking in the Sierra. (b) She goes to the Canary Islands every year. (c) Not many people have climbed the Mount Everest.  (We use "the" before mountain ranges and island groups but we use no article before mountains)
  7.  The South of England is much wealthier than the North. ( We use "the" for directions)
  8. The United Kingdom has been part of the European Union since 1972. ( We use "the" before countries that have common nouns)
  9. (a) The Scots are much friendlier than the English. (b) I prefer Scottish people to English people.  (We use "the" before national groups but we don't use an article if we use an adjective to describe people)
  10. That was the worst film I've seen this year. (We use "the" before superlatives)


  1. She's a lawyer. (We use "a" before (singular) jobs)
  2. (a) I have a dog and two cats. (b) Can you buy me a packet of cigarettes and a some milk, please?  (We use "a" before singualar countable nouns; we don't use "a" before uncountable nouns)
  3. I drove more than a hundred miles. (We use "a" before 100, 1,000, 1,000,000)
  4. (a) What a beautiful day! (b) What horrible weather! (c) He is such a fool to marry her. (d) That's such a good news. (We use "a" with exclamations  before singular countable nouns but without "a" before uncountables)


  1. (a) I love the animals. (b) The English food is awful. (c) I think the health is more important than the happiness. (d)He studied the law at university.  (e) The children were well-behaved. (f) (speaking about a specific meal) The pasta was delicious. (We use no article when talking about uncountable, plural or abstract nouns in thier general sense, but if we specify what we are talking about we use "the")
  2. (a) Do we have class the next Monday? (b) The July is usually a hot month. (c) She didn't come to class the last week. (d) Are you going to work the Monday before Xmas? (e) This is the last month of English classes.  (We don't use an article with days or months generally speaking; we only use "the" when we specify)
  3. (a) The Europe is small compared to the Africa. (b) The Portugal is next to the Spain.  (c) Is the Sydney the capital of the Australia? (We don't use an article before names of continents, countries, cities...)
  4. (a) My school is on the Serrano street. (b) The M30 wasn't busy this morning. (We don't use an article with names of streets but we do use "the" before motorways)
  5. (a) I stayed at the home. (b) What time did you arrive at the home last night? (c) Are you coming to the class on Tuesday? (d) I went to the bed late. (e) I usually finish the work at 8.  (f) He left the school at eighteen but he didn't go to the university. (g) She goes to the church every Sunday. (h) Are you still at the school? (i) He's very ill. He's in the hospital. (He's a patient) (j) The church is near the university. (the buildings) (k) He's at the hospital. (visiting a patient there). (We don't use articles with "familiar" places)
  6. What do you have for the breakfast? (we don't use an article before meals)
  7. (a) I get to the work by the train. (b) I go on the foot. (We don't use an article to say how we get to places)




Can you now translate the following sentences?

1. Mi peor día es el miércoles.
2. Prefiero el té al café.
3. Ella es la persona más simpática que he conocido en mi vida.
4. ¿Tienes trabajo la semana que viene?
5. La gente es más amable en el norte del país.
6. Me voy a la cama temprano esta noche.
7. ¿Cuándo fue que España se convirtió en miembro de las Naciones Unidas?
8. Él es contable. Trabaja en la empresa de su padre desde que terminó la universidad.
9. La montaña más alta en el Reino Unido es el Ben Nevis.
10. No me gustan las películas de terror.
11. El alcalde hizo un discurso sobre la criminalidad.
12. ¡Qué nombre tan bonito!
13. ¿Quién se comió el pastel de chocolate que estaba en la nevera?
14. Me dan miedo las arañas.
15. El rey está en el hospital por una operación de cadera.
16. ¿Cómo es el tiempo en las islas baleares en agosto?
17. La gente joven no demuestra respeto por los ancianos.
18. Más de mil personas fueron a la manifestación.
19. ¿Puedes decirme a qué hora sale el próximo tren a Londres?
20. El paro es un problema enorme en muchos países.

Comments

Laura Grande said…
Hy Graham,
It´s probable that I Have a lot of mistakes.
1. My worst day is Wednesday.
2. I prefer tea to coffee.
3. She is the most kindle people that I have never known.
4. Will have you job next week?
5. People are friendlier at the east of country.
6. I´m going to go to bed early this evening.
7. When was Spain member of the United Nations?
8. He is accountant. He works in his father´s company since he finished University.
9. The highest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis.
10. Horror films doesn´t like me.
11. The mayor made a speech about criminality.
12. How beautiful name!!
13. Who ate the piece of cake from de fridge?
14. Spiders afraid me.
15. The King is in the hospital for his hip surgery.
16. What is the weather in Balears islands?
17. Young people don’t show respect for elderly people.
18. More than one thousand people went to the demonstration.
19. Could you tell me the departure time for the next train to London?
20. Unemployment is an enormous problem in a lot of countries.
ANDREA said…


1. My worst day is Wednesday.
2. I prefer tea to coffee.
3. She is the most kind people that I have never met in my life.
4. Will have you work next week?.
5. People is more kind in the north of the country.
6. I am going to bed early tonigth.
7. When was Spain to become in a member of the United Station.
8. He is an accountant.he works in his father company since he finished the University.
9. The highest mountain in UK is Ben Nevis.
10. I don't like horror films.
11. The mayor made a speech about crime.
12. What a beautiful name!
13. Who ate the chocolate cake which was in the fridge?
14. I'm afraid spiders.
15. The king is in hospital for a hip operation.
16. How is the weather in Balearic Islands in August?
17. young people do not show respect for ederly.
18. More than a thousand people went to the protest.
19. Could you say me what time the next train go out?
20. Uneployment is a huge problem in many countries.

ANDREA
Graham said…
Hi Laura and Andrea,

It isn't an easy exercise but you both did pretty well.

1. Both correct.

2. Both correct.

3. She is the nicest / kindest person that I have ever met.
Be careful with superlatives.
That was the best meal I have ever had.
It was the most difficult exam I have ever done.

4. Will you have (any) work next week? / Do you have (any) work next week?

5. People are friendlier / kinder in the north of the country.

6. Both correct.

7. When did Spain become a member of the United Nations? When did Spain join the UN?

8. He is an accountant. He has worked in his father's company since he finished University.
Be careful with Present Perfect + for / since.

9. The highest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis.

10. I don't like horror films.

11. The mayor made / gave a speech about crime.

12. What a beautiful name! (What + nouns! / how + adjectives!)

13. Who ate the chocolate cake which was in the fridge?

14. I'm afraid of spiders
.
15. The king is in hospital for a hip operation.

16. What is the weather like in the Balearic Islands in August?
What + be + subject + like? LEARN THIS CONSTRUCTION.

17. Young people do not show respect for elderly people / the elderly.

18. Both correct.

19. Could you tell me what time the next train leaves? (Laura's question is correct)
What is the difference between go out and leave?

20. Both are correct.

Most of your mistakes weren't about articles.

Well done!


Anonymous said…
Hi, Graham, I´m Sandra
This is my different sentences:
1- My worse day is Wednesday.
2- I prefer tea to coffee.
3- She is the nicest person that I have met in my life.
4- Do you have a job next week?
5- People are more frienly in the nort of the conuntry.
6- I go to bed early this night
7- When it was that Spain became a menber of the U.N
8- He is an accountant he Works in the company´s father since He finishs the university.
9- The highest mountain in the UK is the Ben Nevis
10- I don´t like horror films
11- The mayor made a speech on crime
12- That lovely name
13- Who the chocolat cake that was in the fridge ate
14- I´m afraid of spiders
15- The King is in hospital for a hip operation
16- How is the weather in the Baleares in august?
17- Young people don´t show respect for the ederly people.
18- More tan 1000people went to the demostration
19- Can you tell me what time the next train to London?
20- Unemployment is a huge prolem in many countries.
Graham said…
Hi Sandra,

It's Graham :-)


These are my sentences:

1 My worst day is Wednesday.

4 Do you have work next week?

5 People are friendlier in the north of the country.

6 I am going to bed early tonight.

7 When did Spain become a member of the UN?

8 He is an accountant. He has worked in his father's company since he finished university.

9 The highest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis.


12 What a lovely name!

13 Who ate the chocolate cake that was in the fridge?

16 What is the weather like in the Balearic islands in August?

17 Young people don´t show respect to the elderly.

18 More than a thousand people went to the demostration.

19 Can you tell me what time the next train to London is?