Read the following general rules about using articles (a, an and the) in English. Then, when you are ready, try these exercises to practise using them.
Using articles in English
We don't use 'a' or 'the' with plural and uncountable nouns when we make generalisations.
I like cats. (cats in general, not just one)
Specific examples - THE
We use 'the' to talk about specific examples (just one, or many) from a group, when the listener knows which one we are talking about.
I hate the big cat from next door. (only this cat)
I love the three cats which my sister just bought. (only these cats)
Any of a group - A/AN
We use 'a' with singular nouns when we don't care or it isn't important which one we are talking about.
Can I have a cat? (any cat, just one)
There are lots of exceptions to these rules though - see the other articles pages to learn more information.
What's the difference between "a" and "an"?
We use 'an' when the next word starts with a vowel sound (e.g. 'an apple', 'an umbrella') and 'a' for other words (e.g. 'a dog', 'a tree'). The pronunciation is important, not the spelling. For example, we say a university because 'university' is pronounced 'you-niversity'. We say an honest man because 'honest' is pronounced 'onest'.
Now, try these exercises to practise using articles in English.