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3

Definite and
Indefinite Articles

An African Safari

Focus on Grammar 5
Part III, Unit 8
By Ruth Luman, Gabriele Steiner, and BJ Wells
Copyright 2006. Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Trip
Trip to
to Kenya
Kenya
Look at the
letter. Fill in
the blanks
with
a, an, the or
no article.
Explain your
answers to
a partner.
You will check
your answers
at the end of
the
presentation.

Dear Marta,
We took ____ most wonderful trip last
month. We went on ____ great safari.
____ safari was in Kenya and we saw
____ lions and ____hippos up close!
____ experience was great. ____
only problem was my husband was
bitten by ____ mosquito, but since we
had taken malaria medicine before
we came, ____ Dr. Matuka said
he would be okay.
Love, Gloria

Indefinite
Indefinite Article
Article 11
When we dont have a particular person, place, or thing
in mind, we use non-specific nouns. Use the indefinite
article a/an with non-specific singular count nouns.

Id love to hold
a baby lion.

any baby lion;


no particular lion
in mind

Indefinite
Indefinite Article
Article 22
A noun is often indefinite the first time a speaker
mentions it. It is usually definite after the first mention.
1st Mention

We went on a safari
last year.
2nd Mention

The safari was very


educational.

Zero
Zero Article
Article 11
Use zero article (no article) with non-specific plural
count nouns and non-specific non-count nouns.
Non-Specific
Plural Count Noun
Zero Article

Hippos feel at
home in water.
water
Non-Specific
Non-Count Noun
Zero Article

Meerkats are very interesting


animals to watch.

Generic
Generic Nouns
Nouns
A noun is generic when it represents all members of a
class or category. There are three ways to use count
nouns generically.
zero article + plural count noun

1. Cheetahs are predatory animals.


indefinite article + count noun

2. A cheetah is a predatory animal.


zero article + non-count noun

3. Water is essential for all animals to survive.

Zero
Zero Article
Article 22
Use zero article before the names of people or their
titles, names of most countries, and habitual locations.

Kanika spends four days a


week at work and two days a
week in school.
Ambassador Mukasa was born in
Tanzania but spent most of his life in
Kenya.

Practice 1

Look at the sentences. Complete


them with an indefinite article or no
article. Explain your answers to a
partner.

A zebra came right up to me!


Example: _____
1. We stayed in _____
a nice lodge. _____ game reserves
usually have lodges nearby.
2. That kind of bird is usually found in _____ Zambia.
an elephant up close?
3. Have you ever seen _____
a great vacation.
4. This is _____
a game warden.
5. I would love to be _____
6. A: Do you often see _____ warthogs at game reserves?
B: Oh, yes. There are some right over there.

Definite
Definite Article
Article 11
A noun is definite when we know the particular person, place, or
thing being talked about. Use the definite article the with noncount nouns and singular and plural nouns that are definite.

The
vultures
have found
something to
eat.

Yeah, I see
them. Lets
get closer
and take a
picture.

Definite
Definite Article
Article 22
Use the definite article with nouns that describe
something unique.

Nanyuki, Kenya, is
located on the equator.
There is only
one equator.

Definite
Definite Article
Article 33
An adjective can often make a noun represent something
unique. Examples of such adjectives are right, wrong,
first, only, and the comparative and superlative forms.
Superlative
Adjective

Unique
Adjective

That is the tallest giraffe Ive


The first giraffe is
ever seen!
eating.

Definite
Definite Article
Article 44
The definite article is used with the names of public
places, some countries, and many geographical
regions or features.

friends
from
the Netherlands
IMy
went
to the
library
to
Kenya is located along
are visiting
Tanzania
this year.
learn
more about
Kenya.
the Indian Ocean.

Practice 2

Look at the letter again and fill in the


blanks. Did your ideas on article usage
change? Check your answers.

Dear Marta,
the most wonderful trip last
We took ____
a great safari.
month. We went on ____
The safari was in Kenya and we saw
____
____ lions and ____hippos up close!
The experience was great. ____
The
____
only problem was my husband was
a mosquito, but since we
bitten by ____
had taken malaria medicine before
we came, ____ Dr. Matuka said
he would be okay.
Love, Gloria

References
References
Copyright 2006 Pearson Education
and its licensors. All rights reserved.