definite article / indefinite article / no article - when to use

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by pumisa, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. pumisa Member

    España, Español
    I don't know when i need to put "the" before a noun. Could someone explain me the rule?
  2. flakabanana Senior Member

    *Could someone explain the rule to me?*
    About your question, I'll do my best. I'll start from the beginning to make sure I'm clear, so I'm sure you'll already know a lot of this. Let me apologize ahead of time if this is more than you wanted to know.

    First recognize the different kinds of nouns. Singular, plural, Proper, count and noncount.
    Proper nouns are names. They usually are not plural. *Eiffel Tower, Dad (different than my dad), Mr. Peterson
    Count nouns are things, well, that you can count. So, they can be singluar or plural. *dog, TV, cloud, girl, 2 schools, 5 bikes, etc.
    Noncount nouns are things that you can't count. So, they cannot be plural.
    *electricity, flour, happiness, money, people (you can't say 3 moneys or 5 peoples)

    Proper nouns (as far as I know) never have a, an, or the before them. So leave them out.
    Singular count nouns- not specific, or in general, you will use a, an.
    I want a sandwich. He went to buy an apple. I saw an elephant at the zoo today.
    - something specific or mentioned before, you will use the
    The sandwich looks funny. The apple he bought was red. The elephant was fat.
    Plural count nouns- not specific, in general, use nothing.
    Dogs are my favorite animal. Leaves are pretty. Onions make me cry.
    - something specific, you will use the
    The leaves are pretty. (you are looking at them right now.) Pass me the onions.
    The clouds are gray. The dogs won't stop barking!
    Noncount nouns- not specific, you will use nothing
    Electricity can be dangerous. You need flour to make cookies. Yesterday he spilled milk on the couch.
    - specific, you will use the
    The electricity went out. The flour fell on the floor. I think the milk is sour now.

    Some nouns appear to need "the" but they don't because it applies an event. They are Go to church, go to school, go to work. Don't use the here unless you are talking about the church building, the school gym. Never the work.

    Sometimes you can avoid a, an, or the by using another word that describes the noun. his house, that job, next year, those keys, my happiness, some milk etc.

    Well, if that doesn't answer your question, I'll feel bad. :p
  3. pumisa Member

    España, Español
    that's an explanation ;)

    thanks for your help and time. xxx

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