2. 1. Speakers use indefinite (non-specific or generic) nouns when they do not have a particular person, place or thing in mind. Use the indefinite article a/an with indefinite singular count nouns. 3. 1. For example: He wants to buy a statue. She wants to be an anthropologist. He got a new car. Im going to take a psychology course. She is going to ask for a raise. Im writing a story. 4. 2. A noun is often indefinite the first time a speaker mentions it. It is usually definite after the first mention. 5. 2. For example: I heard of an interesting mystery. The mystery is about Easter Island. Shes going to ask for a raise. It will be the first raise she has had since she started working here. Im writing a story. Its the story I was telling you in class last week. 6. 2. NOTE: a is used before a consonant sound and an is used before a vowel sound: a banana, an apple a hat, an umbrella a train, an airplane a hot summer, an icy winter 7. 2. BUT this rule applies to sounds and not letters! a useful tool a used car (The letter is the vowel u, but the sound is /y/.) 8. 3. Use zero article (no article) with indefinite plural count nouns, indefinite non-count nouns, names of people, names of most countries, and habitual locations. 9. 3. For example: Kind of Noun Example Indefinite plural count noun The island used to have tall trees. Indefinite non-count noun Platinum and gold are valuable minerals. Name of a person Mr. Flenly is a botanist. Name of a country Many statues have been found in Egypt. Habitual locations People spend most of their time at work, at school, or at home. 10. 3. For example: Kind of Noun Example Indefinite plural count noun June is the season for peaches and cherries. Indefinite non-count noun Rice is the basis of the diet in many Asian countries. Name of a person The governor of California is Jerry Brown. Name of a country My classmate is from China. Habitual locations She is usually in church on Sunday. 11. 4. A noun is generic when it represents all members of a class or category of persons, places or thingsgeneric nouns talk about things in general. 12. 4. For example: 3 ways to use nouns generically are: Example Indefinite article + singular count noun A computer is a machine that does calculations and processes information. Zero article + plural count noun Computers are machines that do calculations and process information. Zero article + non-count noun Computers are machines that do calculations and process information. Water is essential for survival. 13. 4. For example: 3 ways to use nouns generically are: Example Indefinite article + singular count noun Drunken driving can easily cause an accident. Zero article + plural count noun Drunken driving can easily cause accidents. Zero article + non-count noun Drunken driving can easily cause accidents. 14. 4. NOTE: You can also make a generic statement with definite article + adjective + plural verb: 15. 4. For example: The rich are fortunate. They need to help the poor, who are not so fortunate. 16. 4. = Rich people are fortunate. They need to help poor people, who are not so fortunate. 17. 5. A noun is definite when the speaker and the listener know which particular person, place or thing is being talked about. 18. 5. The speaker may have a picture in his or her mind of the thing she or he is talking about, or the speaker may be thinking about the name of the thing. 19. 5. Use the definite article, the, with non-count and singular and plural count nouns that are definite for you and your listener. 20. 5. For example: Non-count noun: The food we had for lunch was terrible. (Which food? The food that we had for lunch. I can see and taste it in my mind.) 21. 5. For example: Singular count noun: The island used to be covered by forests. (Which island? The island we were just reading about, Easter Island.) 22. 5. For example: Plural count noun: The statues were made by tribal chiefs. (Which statues? The statues on Easter Island, the ones we have been reading about. 23. 5. NOTE: A noun or noun phrase is normally definite if you can ask a which question about it. Nouns of this type are often followed by a phrase with of. 24. 5. For example: The population of Easter Island has declined a great deal. The population of which island has declined a great deal? 25. 6. Use the definite article with nouns that describe something unique. (That means that there is only one of the thing you are talking about.) 26. 6. For example: The sun gives us light and heat. The earth is becoming warmer. Jerry Brown is the governor of California. 27. 6. An adjective can often make a noun represent something unique. 28. 6. For example: Adjective first Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. last He always sits in the last row. only Number 51 is the only bus that stops near my house. right I didnt know the right answer to the last question on the test. wrong We took the wrong turn and got lost. superlatives My grandmother is the oldest person in our family. This is the best book that I have ever read. China is the country with the largest population in the world. The smallest bird is the bee hummingbird. 29. 6. NOTE: Your textbook includes comparatives here, but the teacher thinks the book is wrong. A comparative more often takes the indefinite article. 30. 6. For example: This is a more difficult class than the grammar I took last semester. This dress is too big. Do you have it in a smaller size? 31. 7. You can use the definite article generically to talk about inventions, musical instruments, living things, and parts of the body. 32. 7. For example: inventions The wheel was invented thousands of years ago. The computer has completely changed our lives. musical instruments The harpsichord was a keyboard instrument similar to the piano. The pipa is a traditional Chinese instrument. living things The blue whale is the largest animal in the world. The dog is descended from the wolf. parts of the body Cancer of the stomach often is not discovered until it is far advanced. Sugar is bad for the teeth.