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.

Posted on November 1, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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