Grammar 8 rules for using 'THE' in English
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Hi, everyone. I'm Jade. In this lesson today, we're looking at the rules for articles, but more specifically, the rules where we have exceptions in using articles. So when I'm observing people's English, all the time I'm hearing the same mistakes with articles. So what you will learn to do in this lesson is how to avoid those really, really common mistakes I hear all the time. If you're somebody who just doesn't use articles at all because in your native language, you don't have articles, I understand it can be really, really hard to start using them. But they are an important aspect of grammar, and you should be using them. So if you watch this lesson, you'll get some tips for using articles, where you need them, and where you shouldn't use them. And also, if you're someone who's getting articles right nearly all the time, I'm quite sure that you will pick up one or two rules here that you didn't know before. So let's get started. There are eight different rules. Rule No. 1: When we're talking about countries, most countries we don't use an article. So here some sentences. "She lives in England. They live in America." We don't use articles. But if the country's considered to be a nation state, a collection of different states, or a collection of different countries in one bigger state, then we use articles. Here are examples. So "the U.S.A., the U.K., the U.A.E." — where I spend a lot of my time — and here are — also, we need to mention islands. When a country is a group of islands, we always use articles. So we would say "the Virgin Islands", and we'd say "the Philippines" as well. It's interesting that we can say, "She lives in England" because England is one country, but when talking about the same — okay, it's not exactly the same place, the U.K., because it's — the U.K. is more than one country. It's more than just England. But sometimes people think of it as being the same place. It's not. When we're talking about the U.K., we need an article, but just for "England", it's okay not to use an article. Let's take a look at rule No. 2. Rule No. 2 — this is a really subtle rule, here. And this one I always correct in sentences. When people talk about meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, also brunch is a meal you might not know. It's in between breakfast and lunch. — we don't use articles. So here's a correct sentence. "I don't eat breakfast." I'm talking in general there. "I don't eat breakfast." That's okay to say. However, if I'm being specific, "We didn't like the dinner", it's okay to use an article here. You need to. So what does the sentence actually mean? Imagine that we were out last night, and we had a meal. And now, we're talking about it. "Well, the place was nice, but I didn't like the dinner." Being specific about that experience we had. If I'm talking in general, "I don't like dinner", that would just mean all the time, okay? So it's a very big difference in meaning. Now, we'll look at rule No. 3 for jobs. Jobs take the indefinite article. That's a grammar word. And "indefinite article" means "a". We don't use "the". Here's our example. "I want to be a politician." I actually really don't want to be a politician, but maybe some of you watching this do. If you want to be a politician, you should really study English really hard. It's very important. Let's have a look at the next rules. No. 4 — do you know this English language board game called "Scrabble"? In this board game, you get points for spelling words.