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Proper Use of Articles (a, an, the)

Updated: Mar 10


Articles create a never-ending source of headaches for non-native English speakers, much as particles in Japanese are for non-native Japanese speakers.

English employs three articles: a, an, and the. Japanese and Russian lack articles altogether, while Portuguese uses them far more frequently than does English. Accordingly, these grammatical elements give non-native English speakers many headaches, but they are not as difficult as they seem.


The first two are indefinite articles while the latter is definite. That is, the first two are used to indicate any member of a group of things, while the latter designates a particular or specific thing.




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