Trouble with A, An and The

A lot of students have problems using articles, the short words a, an and the.


A/an means one single thing
The means one particular thing or some particular things/stuff or things we know and are talking about (or sometimes about animal or plant species.
No article means any things/ stuff.

A and an are often used to introduce topics.
The is often used to talk about a topic already introduced.

You can practise using a, an and the by using news stories.

First, go to an English news site, such as BBC News or The Japan Times.

screenshot_printIf you have problems with articles (the short words a/an and the) there are different ways to learn them.

Print the story then copy and paste it into Word or another word processor.

Go to Edit then Find and Replace. Find ‘a’ and replace it with three spaces. Do the same for ‘an’ and ‘the’. Print your document.


On the printed document write in ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘the’ then check your answers with the original story.

You can also do this with prepositions (words such as ‘in’, ‘at’ and ‘to’).