The articles “a,” “an,” and “the”are difficult for many non-native speakers of English to learn to use properly.
Some of the rules that govern article usage are very subtle; only years of experience with the language will enable you to understand and apply these rules. However, Table 3 will help you eliminate many errors in article usage from your writing. In order to use Table 3, however, you have to understand two concepts: countability and definiteness. These concepts are explained in detail below. The last part of this handout, beginning on page 7, discusses article usage with proper nouns as well as the difference between “a” and “an.” At the very end of the handout is an exercise that you can do to test your understanding.
Articles Usage - The Writing Center At Rensselaer 4508 Sage Lab 518/276-8983 firstname.lastname@example.org www.rpi.edu/web/writingcenter