Using the article picker app

This page has information about countable and uncountable nouns, as well as a video explaining how to use the article picker app.

Basic information about articles

The articles in English are a, an and the. There is also what is known as the zero article (i.e. the absence of the article).

Articles always found in front of nouns. So if you want to know how to use the articles correctly, you must know what a noun is. If you don't, click the button below before continuing.

About nouns

Take a look around you. Everything you can see and name is a noun: computer, door, light, chair, etc. Nouns are also the names of feelings and concepts: sadness, health, democracy, etc. And nouns are the names of people and places: Lincoln, Moscow, Everest.

There are different ways to categorize nouns. One way is to divide them into common nouns (such as water, computer, happiness) and proper nouns (such as London, John or Christmas) - note that all proper nouns start with a capital letter.

Another way is to divide them into concrete nouns such as dog, river, cloud, and abstract nouns such as idea, problem and memory.

A third way is according to whether a noun is count (it can be counted) or uncount (it cannot be counted).

It is the count/uncount categorization that is the basis for deciding which article, if any, is needed.

More on Simple English Wikipedia .

The most important thing to know in order to choose the correct article for the noun you want to use is to know whether the noun is a countable or uncountable noun. A countable noun is a noun that you can put a number in front of: 1 book, 2 books, 20 books, etc. An uncountable noun is a noun that you cannot put a number in front of. You cannot say 1 water, 2 waters, 20 waters, etc.

Countable / uncountable nouns

There are some nouns which can be either countable or uncountable, depending on their meaning in the context (sentence) in which they are being used.

The noun hair is a good example of a noun that is both count and uncount. When it means all the hair on the head, hair is an uncount noun. This means that we cannot put a number in front of it or make it plural. So She has nice hairs is wrong. It has to be She has nice hair. Another example is Some cats don't have hair.

On the other hand, when hair is referring to the individual strands of hair, it is a count noun. It can therefore have a number in front of it. For example, There is one hair growing from the birthmark on his shoulder or Waiter, there are 3 hairs in my soup.

Another example is the noun paper. It is an uncount noun when it means the material that many things are made of: The plates in the cafeteria are made of paper. But when the word paper means a piece of academic writing or is short for newspaper, then it is count. I always buy a paper on the way home or She has written many papers on the topic of the banking system.

You can look up nouns in The Longman Dictionary Of Contemporary English. The LDOCE identifies each noun as count or uncount in its context. Before using the How to choose the correct article app, you should make sure you know whether the noun you are asking about is count or uncount.

How to choose the correct article: Video

View the following video if you want to learn more about the article picker app and how to use it.

Final comments

The How to choose the correct article app can suggest the correct article to use in the most common situations. However, @it is important to note that the use of articles is a very complex aspect of English grammar. ~

In fact, whole books have been written on the topic (for example, the Collins Cobuild English Guides, Volume 3). For this reason, you should understand that the article suggested by the app is only probably, not certainly, the right article for the chosen noun in your context (sentence).