The “articles”: a, an, and the

These are important, even though their correct use can only really be acquired well by continued immersion in English.  But the following may help understanding.
1.     We say a oran, when we are notnaming a specific thing – just one among many:
She has a dog.
         I use a calculator.
     before a thing, not a specific object, one of a number of the same objects.
2.     We say the when it is clear which thing or person we mean, and the before a thing (a specific object that both the person speaking and the listener know):
         The car over there is fast.
         The teacher is very good, isn’t he?
3.     The first time you speak of something, use a or an, the next time you repeat that object use the.
            I live in a house. The house is quite old and has four bedrooms.
            I ate in a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was very good.
 
4.     DO NOT use an article when you are speaking about things in general
I like Russian tea.
            She likes reading books.
5.     Then, there is the problem of the confusion of the use of these two:
one of the   /    a  ?
Check your knowledge:                                            
“There are a number of elements causing global warming, such as carbon (CO2).  CO2 is mostly the result of the burning of fossil fuels.  It is  
a. one of the main contributors
b. a main contributor 
to total greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”

Which of the two above, a. or b., is “better”? Why? What is the difference in meaning?  Answer: b. is more concise, and is usually sufficient.  But a. may be your choice if your idea is that CO2 is one among many contributors.
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Posted on November 1, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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