Referring to Objects
Articles - Determiners
'A' is an indefinite article used with nouns or adjectives beginning with a consonant (b, d, z, v, t, etc.).
A room full of natural light can make good first impressions come easily.
A taxi driver picks up his favorite fare.
'An' is an indefinite article used with nouns or adjectives beginning with a vowel (a,e, i, o, u).
The bell person lifted an Italian briefcase in one hand and a plastic suitcase in the other.
He wrote an operational guidelines list.
'The' is a definite article used with nouns or adjectives beginning with vowels or consonants.
The car over there is fast.
The teacher is very good, isn't he?
A, An - Usage
Use "a or an" when you introduce an object to a discussion. Remember that your speakers are not familiar with which object you are speaking about. However, the next time you repeat that object use "the".
Poultry farming is an industry.
A lobster must be alive to be considered fresh.
He uses a server in England.
The - Usage
Use definite articles with specific objects that are recognizeed by both the speaker and the audience.
The business centers that weren't up to code collapsed in the earthquake.
The motel had no vacancies.
Definite articles are not used with countries, states, counties or provinces, lakes and mountains except when the country is a collection of states such as "The United States".
He lives in Washington near Mount Rainier.
They live in northern British Columbia.
Definite articles are used with specific bodies of water, oceans and seas.
My country borders on the Pacific Ocean.
Articles are not used when speaking about things in general. When speaking in general, use the plural form for count nouns, and the singular with non count nouns.
Balance is vital for healthy nutrition practices.
Canning is one way to preserve apricots.
Articles are not used when speaking about meals, places, or transport.
He has breakfast at home.
I go to university.
He comes to work by taxi.