English Articles – A, An, The, Zero Article – 5 Common Mistakes

Hi everyone. I'm Jennifer from English 
with Jennifer. If you didn't know before,   I'll tell you now that I love grammar. I think 
it's because I like organization in my life,   and knowing that language makes use of 
structures is very comforting to someone like me.   Word order, for example, tells us that words fit 
together neatly, logically, and predictably. But   even if you don't share my love for grammar, 
you still probably appreciate patterns.   Patterns are all around us. There are patterns 
in the clothes we wear, like plaid or stripes. Or   how about patterns in music? Think of a song that 
you like. It has patterns of musical notes and an   underlying rhythm.

The balance between repetition 
and variation is what makes it enjoyable and   interesting. Another example is fiction. Think of 
good books and movies. The stories hold together   because they follow a pattern. First, we learn 
the setting and the characters. Then a conflict   develops. Drama increases until we reach 
a climax, and then we enjoy a resolution. Patterns. That's all grammar is. Grammar   is made up of language patterns 
that we can follow and predict.   Once you learn these patterns, you can become 
more accurate and confident in your communication. So, let's go over some 
common mistakes with articles.   These are mistakes people make when 
they don't follow the usual patterns. Are you looking for a job? 
There's a opening at my company.

Which article is incorrect? The second one. Right? I need to say "an opening" 
because "opening" begins with a vowel sound. We use A before consonant sound. We use AN 
before a vowel sound. Notice I said vowel sound,   not letter. "University" begins with the 
letter "u," but I pronounce that with a /y/   sound. University. So, I say "a university" 
not "an university." A university. Take a look at this list.

Which 
article do we need in each phrase? a unit an Uber driver, an honest person a horrible person an equal opportunity, a European city And your bonus phrase: an herbal supplement. 
Notice I choose AN because I don't pronounce   the "h" in "herbal." I speak American English. 
Someone outside the US might pronounce the "h,"   in which case they'd choose A. 
I say "an herbal supplement." Do you go to the office every day? Did you hear the mistake? Listen again. 
Do you go to the office every day? I said "thuh." I should say "thee." The 
office.

Do you go to the office every day? Here's a pronunciation pattern you need to 
remember: We say "thuh" before a consonant sound.   We say "thee" before a vowel sound. 
Office begins with /ɔ/, a vowel sound, so   "the office." And I link the two words with the 
help of /y/ a "y" sound. The office. The office. I'll put a link to my lesson on linking 
vowel sounds in the video description.

How do we say these phrases? The one and only. the opportunity of a lifetime the ultimate sacrifice the unity needed the entire population the Euro When I worked in the cruise line 
industry, I visited Bahamas weekly. Do you see the mistake? Is it in the 
first or second half of the sentence? The second. I need to say "the Bahamas" because 
it's an island nation, a group of islands.

Most   countries don't require an article, but here's 
a pattern you can follow: If the country is a   union of some kind, then use the definite article, 
like the United States and all of its short forms.   The USA. The US. The States. But don't use the 
before "America." If you have a geographical   name with UNION, UNITED, STATES, REPUBLIC, 
ISLANDS, then you'll need the definite article.

Take a look at this list. 
Where are articles needed? The UK or the United Kingdom, the Hawaiian Islands, the Philippines,   like the Bahamas — an island nation. Notice 
how both end in -s. They sound plural. Right? the former Soviet Union People often ask for an 
advice about learning English. Do you see the mistake? Is advice countable? 
No, so we can't use the indefinite article. You can ask for advice.   Pattern. The indefinite article A or AN can 
only be used before a singular countable noun. Don't say "an advice" or "advices." Say: a 
piece of advice, some advice, a lot of advice. Likewise, don't say "a homework."   Say: a homework assignment, a homework task, 
or simply homework.

That's an uncountable noun. We often use "stress" as an uncountable 
noun. It's an idea, something abstract,   so don't say something causes "a stress." 
It simply causes stress. You have stress,   suffer from stress, experience stress. Don't 
stick the indefinite article in those phrases. Which indefinite articles should be removed? We only need two of those indefinite articles. Parents can reward good behavior. You need to have confidence to succeed. Some people place too much value on money. There's a clock on the wall. A 
mistake isn't the end of the world. There's always traffic in the city. When students are at the school, 
they must turn their cell phones off. Where's the mistake? We don't need that article. We say 
"at school" as a common location. Pattern: At school, at work, at home — are three 
common locations that don't require any article.   Where's Mom? At work.

Where's Grandpa? At 
home. Where are the children? At school. Other common places around town use the article:   at the bank, at the pharmacy, at the 
grocery store, at the gas station. These places are specific 
from context. When I say,   "My neighbor is at the bank," I mean the bank in 
our town, the bank my neighbor usually goes to. Where are articles needed? I don't know anyone in prison. Do you? Leah is still in high school. 
Her sister is in college. I live in Boston. I live in the suburbs.

Nathan is at the dentist's. Learn this pattern: Jail, school, 
college — are examples of institutions.   We use the zero article before these 
nouns. Someone can be in jail, in prison,   in court, in high school, in graduate school, 
in business school, in medical school, etc.   Do you know the pattern with types of places? 
Places where people live. We use the definite   article, so people can live in the city, the 
suburbs, the countryside, in the mountains.

The dentist's is the dentist's office. It's a 
place around town, so we use the definite article. Now I'm going to give you a longer 
quiz on other common uses of the   indefinite and indefinite articles. Tell 
me your score when you're done. Okay? So, how did you do? You can gain more practice 
by going back and answering the questions in the   quiz. You can learn and reinforce 
grammar patterns through practice.   We'll end here. Remember I have other lessons 
on articles as well as countable and uncountable   nouns. I'll put all useful links in the video 
description. That's all for now. Please like   the video if you found the lesson useful. As 
always, thanks for watching and happy studies! I'd like to say a special thank you to a 
Kind-Hearted Patron who pledged two dollars   a month for one year.

Thank you, Jing! Follow 
me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I invite   intermediate and advanced students to join me 
on Patreon. And subscribe to me on YouTube!.

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