Unit 1 Articles
The use of articles in English is complex, and there are a lot of exceptions that need to be remembered and learned.
Here are the basic rules.
to refer to a singular countable
noun which is indefinite –
either we don’t know which one, or it doesn't matter which one.
They live in a
good book at the moment.
to describe what something or someone is.
instrument for measuring distance.
before a singular or plural
noun, when both the speaker and the listener know which specific
object is being referred to.
They live in the
green house on top of the hill.
book I’m reading is all about the
emancipation of women.
baby! She’s near the
sweater I bought is blue.
before a noun if it is the only
one (the Queen, the Earth, the Atlantic).
Also use it with certain public places, especially when referring to them in a general way:
went to the theatre
I have to go to the bank.
It should also be used when referring to general groups of people (the French, the rich and famous)
3 Zero article
article with plural
nouns when talking about things in general.
Compare the use of articles in the following sentences.
the root of all evil.
Put the money
on the table.
I have for you will last for ever.
is cheaper than electricity.
I forgot to pay the bill, and now the
gas has been cut off.
4 Final points
Notice the difference between the use of articles in the following sentences:
My daughter is at school.
The meeting will be held at the school.
I go to church
The firemen went to the church
to put out the fire.
He was rushed to hospital
I’m going to the hospital to
The use of the
emphasises the place simply as a building.
The use without
suggests that the place is being used for its proper function as an institution,
i.e. a place of learning, healing etc.
Pubs, hotels, theatres,
usually have the
Some geographical areas
seas ............................. the
rivers ........................... the Seine; the Mississippi
island groups ............... the
mountain groups.......... the Alps
deserts ......................... the
etc. in towns usually have no
Other nouns which take no
lakes ............................ Lake Superior, Lake Victoria
countries ..................... Spain, Norway, China
continents ................... Asia, Europe
The following types of noun take no article when referred to generally:
games .......................... squash, football, chess
academic subjects ....... medicine, literature, physics
abstract nouns ............. freedom, understanding
meals ........................... dinner, tea, breakfast
Compare these sentences:
Do you prefer hockey or football?
they play in America is different from the kind they play in England.
usually at eight o’clock.
they served yesterday was the best I remember.
1 Fill each gap (if necessary) with a suitable article.
1 - What’s her job?
- She’s ___ teacher.
2 Britain is ___ island.
3 Excuse me, can I ask ___ question?
4 What do you usually have for ___ lunch?
5 Is there ___ life on Mars?
6 Can you tell me ___ time, please?
7 ___ air is so fresh today.
8 She has ___ long brown hair.
9 Is she ___ English?
10 Where’s ___ bag? It’s gone!
11 Would you like ___ coffee?
12 She works six days ___ week.
2 In this exercise you have to put in a / an or the.
There was __a__
man and __a__
woman in the room. _The_
man was English but _the_
woman looked foreign. She was wearing __a__
1 This morning I bought _____ newspaper and _____ magazine. _____ newspaper is in my bag but I don’t know where _____ magazine is.
2 My parents have _____ cat and _____ dog. _____ dog never bites _____ cat but _____ cat often scratches _____ dog.
3 I saw _____ accident this morning. _____ car crashed into _____ wall. _____ driver of _____ car was not hurt but _____ car was quite badly damaged.
4 When you turn into Lipson Road, you will see three houses: _____ red one, _____ blue one and _____ white one. I live in _____ white one.
5 We live in _____ old house in _____ middle of the village. There is _____ beautiful garden behind _____ house. _____ roof of _____ house is in very bad condition.
3 Read these sentences carefully. Some are correct, but some need the (perhaps more than once). Correct the sentences where necessary.
Everest was first climbed in 1953. Right
Milan is in north of Italy. Wrong
north of Italy
1 Last year we visited Canada and United States. ...........................
2 Africa is much lager than Europe. ...........................
3 South of England is warmer than north. ...........................
4 We went to Spain for our holidays and swam in Mediterranean. ...........................
5 Tom has visited most countries in western Europe. ...........................
6 A friend of mine used to work as a reporter in Middle East. ...........................
7 Next year we are going skiing in Swiss Alps. ...........................
8 Malta has been a republic since 1974. ...........................
9 Nile is longest river in Africa. ...........................
10 United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. ...........................
Unit 2 Prepositions
Prepositions of place and directions
¨ You normally use prepositional phrases to say where a person or thing is, or the direction they are moving in.
¨ You can also use adverbs and adverb phrases for place and direction.
¨ Many words are both prepositions and adverbs.
You use prepositions to talk about the place where someone or something is. Prepositions are always followed by a noun group, which is called the object of the preposition.
He stood near
Two minutes later we were safely inside
Note that some prepositions consist of more than one word.
There was a man standing in front of
The books were piled on top of
You can also use prepositions to talk about the direction that someone or something is moving in, or the place that someone or something is moving towards.
They dived into
She turned and rushed out of
Many prepositions can be used both for place and direction.
The bank is just across
the High Street.
We live in the house over
his keys and escaped over
You can also use adverbs and adverb phrases for place and direction.
Sheila was here
a moment ago.
Can’t you go upstairs
and turn the bedroom light off?
Note that a few noun groups can also be used as adverbials of place or direction.
at number 23.
I thought we went the other way
Many words can be used as prepositions and as adverbs, with no difference in meaning. Remember that prepositions have noun groups as objects, but adverbs do not.
Did he fall down the stairs?
Please do sit down.
I looked underneath the bed.
but the box had gone!
Always put a sheet of paper underneath
Prepositions of place – at, in, on
¨ You use ‘at’ to talk about a place as a point.
¨ You use ‘in’ to talk about a place as an area.
¨ You use ‘on’ to talk about a place as a surface.
You use ‘at’ when you are thinking of a place as a point in space.
She waited at the bus stop
for over twenty minutes.
‘Where were you last night?’ – ‘At Mick’s house.’
You also use ‘at’ with words such as ‘back’, ‘bottom’, ‘end’, ‘front’, and ‘top’ to talk about the different parts of a place.
was waiting at the bottom
of the stairs.
They escaped by a window at the back
of the house.
I saw a taxi at the end
of the street.
You use ‘at’ with public places and institutions. Note that you also say ‘at home’ and ‘at work’.
have to be at the station
by ten o’clock.
We landed at a small airport.
A friend of mine is at Training College.
She wanted to stay at home.
You say ‘at the corner’ or ‘on the corner’ when you are talking about streets.
The car was parked at the corner
of the street.
There’s a telephone box on the corner.
You say ‘in the corner’ when you are talking about a room.
She put the chair in the corner
of the room.
You use ‘in’ when you are talking about a place as an area. You use ‘in’ with:
- a country or geographical region
When I was in Spain,
it was terribly cold.
A thousand homes in the east of Scotland
suffered power cuts.
- a city, town, or village
I’ve been teaching at a college in London
- a building when you are talking about people or things inside it
They were sitting having dinner in the restaurant.
You also use ‘in’ with containers of any kind when talking about things inside them.
She kept the cards in a little box.
Compare the use of ‘at’ and ‘in’ in these examples.
had a hard day at the office.
(‘at’ emphasises the office as a public place or institution)
left my coat behind in the office.
(‘in’ emphasises the office as a building)
There’s a good film at the cinema.
(‘at’ emphasises the cinema as a public place)
was very cold in the cinema.
(‘in’ emphasises the cinema as a building.)
When talking about addresses, you use ‘at’ when you give the house number, and ‘in’ when you just give the name of the street.
They used to live at 5, Weston Road.
She got a job in Oxford Street.
Note that American English uses ‘on’: ‘He lived on Penn Street.’
You use ‘at’ when you are talking about someone’s house.
see you at Fred's house.
You use ‘on’ when you are talking about a place as a surface. You can also use ‘on top of’.
sat down on the sofa.
She put her keys on top of the television.
You also use ‘on’ when you are thinking of a place as a point on a line, such as a road, a railway line. a river, or a coastline.
Scrabster is on the north coast.
Oxford is on the A34
between Birmingham and London.
1 Put the correct preposition into each gap.
When my grandmother was at school, she had to learn everything (a) ________ heart, and even years later she could recite countless poems (b) _______ memory. She was discouraged (c) _______ thinking (d) _______ herself, and concentrated simply (e) _______ learning facts. The teachers were very strict (f) _______ pupils in those days. My grandfather confided (g) _______ me that he was expelled (h) _______ school (i) _______ playing truant just once.
It is always worthwhile for governments to invest (j) _______ education. Nobody should be deprived (k) _______ a good education, and everybody should benefit (l) _______ it. Nothing can compensate (m) _______ a bad start in life. Pupils (n) _______ public schools still account (o) _______ many of the students at Oxford and Cambridge University. Until quite recently these universities seemed to be prejudiced (p) _______ pupils from state schools. Many people objected very strongly (q) _______ this and at last things are changing.
I had no intention (r) _______ staying (s) _______ at university after I had finished my first degree. I finally succumbed (t) _______ parental pressure, but only (u) _______ protest, and carried out research (v) _______ the life of Baudelaire.
2 Put the correct preposition into each gap (if necessary).
1 Are you coming to classes _____ Monday?
2 Can’t you hurry up? The train leaves _____ 9 o’clock.
3 There weren’t many people _____ the party.
4 David has been a teacher _____ 10 years.
5 They got married some time _____ .
6 Do you know the names of the letter _____ English?
7 I don’t live far _____ my office. In fact, it’s quite _____ .
8 What time do you usually come _____ home?
9 He lives _____ the country.
10 I think she’s gone _____ holiday _____ the South.
11 I’m going to stay _____ my parents _____ July.
12 It’s so difficult to wake him up _____ the morning.
13 The girls are _____ the bus stop.
14 They are going _____ school.
15 The children are playing _____ the garden.
16 Did you see the film _____ television yesterday?
17 I try to go _____ bed before midnight.
18 Young people are fond _____ sports.
19 Charles is very good _____ languages.
20 It might be John but I thought he was _____ work.