English Grammar Overview - Parts of Speech - Articles


And now we'll have a look at our articles. We can divide articles into these groupings: indefinite, using a or an, definite, using the, and oftentimes referred to as the zero article, is actually the absence of an article all together. With the indefinite article, we use it in a nonspecific way. "This is a pen," it's one of many pens. When using the definite article, we use it in a specific way. "This is the pen I'm using." We also use the indefinite article when mentioning something for the first time. "I have a boy and a girl." We use the definite article when mentioning that same thing an additional time or any additional times we mention it. So "I have a boy and a girl. The boy is eight and the girl is six." With the zero article, we don't use an article at all. We use it to talk about things in general or when we talk about all things together. So here, I would not use a or an, and I would simply say, "Pens are used for writing," or "Children go to school." When looking at articles, we have to remember that they always precede nouns. When looking at "a versus an", many people consider this to be a differentiation between spellings. The noun will either start with a vowel or a consonant. More accurately, this should be described with how the noun sounds. Does it start with a vowel or a consonant sound? Let's look at the two words "hour" and "university". While "hour" starts with an H, it actually sounds like it starts with a vowel sound. The resulting sentences are "I'll be there in an hour." Again, that's "an hour". "University" starts with a U, a vowel. However, it sounds like it starts with a "y", "university". However, when we write it or when we say it, we say it with an "a", the a article. An example sentence could be: "Cambridge is a university in England." And finally, let's take a look at our conjunctions. Conjunctions are linking or joining words, for example: and, but, and or. Take these two sentences. Independent clauses: I like fish. I don't like shrimp. We would use "but" in here. So, we could easily make one sentence: "I like fish but I don't like shrimp." If I wanted to say that I like fish, I like shrimp, I would simply say "and": "I like fish and I like shrimp." "Or" could be used in giving choices, such as in the question "Do you like fish or shrimp?"

Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

Unit 2 touches on some of the important basics of grammar which make up a sentence (or speech) like nouns, adjectives, verbs etc. A definition and outline of rules governing these parts of speech was given together with examples for better understanding. However, it is noted that some exceptions to these rules could not be discussed in detail due to time and scope of study constraints. I found the unit challenging as we are so used to forming sentences daily without thinking much of the rules or terminology. A good "refresher" nonetheless.