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A is used before a singular countable noun

beginning with consonant sounds
An is used before countable nouns
beginning with the vowel sounds (a,e,i,o,u)
exception for u and h

If there are descriptive words before the
noun, then the article must follow the first
letter of the first descriptive word
a big umbrella
an ugly picture
an extraordinarily clever child

When to use a/an



Everyone wants to get a job after A job means any job and does
he or she graduates.
not refer to something specific.

I have a pet. The pet is a cat.

We use a pet and a cat when we

introduce something for the first

There is a pen on the table.

She talked to a man last night.

We do not know which pen.

We do not know which man.

I am a student. She is a doctor.

We use a/an with the name of a

We use a/an to name a common

A market is a busy place.

Exercise 1
1. Mr Lee has _____ car, and his wife has two.
2. My sister has just bought ______ new umbrella.
3. Please lend me _____ pencil so that I can do this
4. I went to see _____ film last night.
5. If u want _____ interesting job, join the police.
6. Have you spoken to _____ Australian?
7. Haji Karim is _______ kind man.
8. She lives in _____ house by the river.

We use the with nouns:
1. when referring to a particular/specific person,
thing or quality

the colour of chalk

the teacher that wears blue shirt

He didnt like the shirt I gave him.

2. when referring to things we have
mentioned before:
I have bought a watch. The watch costs
me RM200.

We saw a car across the road. The car hit

a child.
I used a pencil. The pencil was provided
by the hotel.

3. before a noun which there is only one

the sun
the world

the sky
the Great Wall of China

the Eiffel Tower

4. Before top posts or positions (in which the
name of the person is not mentioned)
the King

the Prime Minister

the Principal

the President

5. Before a superlative

the best, the tallest, the smartest

6. Before an ordinal number
the first, the second, the fifth, the last
7. In certain expression of time, except night,
dusk and dawn

in the morning, in the evening, in the 1920s,

at the beginning

8. When referring to the following: mosques,
universities, cinemas, theatres and offices
Jane like to go the cinema for movies.
Father is going to the office.

9.When referring to public places and amenities

I am going to the police station.
His house is located in front of the railway

10. When it is clear from the situation which person
or thing we mean.
Lets go to the library. (the library in your
I got into a taxi. The driver asked me where I
wanted to go. (which driver?)

11. Before names of:

- rivers (the Kinabatangan River)

- seas (the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea)
- oceans (the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific ocean)
- range of mountains (the Himalayas)
- groups of islands (the Philippines)

- hotels (the Pan Pacific Hotel, the Quality Hotel)*
- restaurants (the Bora Ombak, the Damai Indah)*
- museums (the National Museum)
- countries which include the words united, union or
republic (the United Kingdom, the United State)

12. Before special events
Only the best athletes can compete in

the Asian Games.

Spain is the new winner for the
World Cup.

13. Before names with of:
The University of Malaya is situated in
Kuala Lumpur.
I have been to the Tower of London many

The University of Oxford is one of the best

universities in the world.

14. Before ministries
He works for the Ministry of

The Ministry of Defence is
responsible for our countrys safety.

When articles are not used..



1.When the noun is plural and a. Bats are blind creatures.

it refers to something in
b. Boys can run faster than
2.When the noun is
uncountable and it refers to
something in general


3.Before names of people

Syuhada and Ain are my


4.Before continents

Is Asia the largest continent?

5. With names of towns

Georgetown is beautiful and



Plants need water to

make food.
Some people say tea is
good for you.

6. Before names of mountains Mount Everest is the highest
mountain in the world.
7. With transportation (with
the preposition by)

I usually go to work by bus

but sometimes I go by taxi.

8. Before names of games

He can play tennis and

badminton very well.

9. Before languages

I can speak Malay, Chinese,

Japanese, and French.

10. Before names of roads

Turn left before Jalan


11. Before meals

She had fried rice for

breakfast, lunch, tea and