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Proper Use of Articles (a, an, the)

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

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 non-specific articles while the latter is specific. 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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