: Business Grammar Builder. : (.. .. )


: 4302

Unit 28 articles 1


 Articles A


 A/an is called the indefinite article, and we use it to introduce new information. The is called the definite article, and we use it when the listener knows which person or thing we are talking about. 'No article' is the noun by itself, without an article. We use no article when we want to speak generally.


 Compare:

I read an interesting report last week. ('report' is mentioned for the first time)

Have you read the report I gave you?(the listener knows which report)

Reports are sent out four times a yea., (speaking generally)


 A/an B


 We use a / an to introduce new information. The listener does not know which person or thing we are talking about.


 We use a/an to refer to something for the first time.

We must have a meeting next week. I have an idea I'd like to discuss.


 We use a/an to refer to one of a group of things. Can you pass me a paper clip

from that box by your side?


 We use a/an to describe someone's job, but not areas of business. Fiona used to be a teacher, but now she's in management training.


 We use a/an to describe something. It's an interesting idea Cairo is a very big city. This is a better product.


 We use a/an in expressions of measurement. Per can also be used. twice a /per month


 A/an mean 'one', so we cannot use a/an with plurals or uncountable nouns. Can you give me some information?


 A or an? C




His contract with the club is due to run out in December.(=if a ticket or an official document runs out, it reaches the end of the time when it is officially allowed to be used or have an effect)


 We use a in front of a consonant sound, and an in front of a vowel sound.

Consonant sounds: a manager, a job, a university, a one-way street, a

European law. Vowel sounds: an idea, an employer, an hour, an MBA


 The D


 We use the for old information. It is clear which person or thing we are talking about. Six banks are interested in buying a stake in Peru's Banco Latino. Three are North American banks, one is a major Spanish institution, another is Ecuadorean and the other is Peruvian. The six have been invited to study Latino's books and bid by the end of March. (Business News Americas website)


 We often know which one because we mentioned it before, using a/an. We must have a meeting next week. The meeting should focus on the auditors' report. I went to an interesting show last week. It was the Paris Spring Collection.


 Sometimes we know which one because it is clear from the situation, or it is shared knowledge from the lives of the speaker and listener. Where's the newspaper? (we know which one from the situation) The meeting will begin at ten. (both the speaker and listener know which meeting) Note that in this case we can use the to refer to something for the first time.


 We use the when there is only one of something. It is clear which one we are talking about. Ill speak to the boss when he gets back.


 We use the with nationalities and other groups. I really admire the Italians for their sense of design. The government is trying to do more to help the poor.


 We use the with superlatives. This is the best quality material we have in stock.


 No article E


 No article is used when we are talking generally. The first issue of the Agency Magazine features an article called 'Health and safety at work A question of costs and benefits?'. (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work website)


 PLURAL NOUNS . Compare: I sent the emails this morning, (we know which emails) I usually reply to emails within 24 hours. (emails in general)




We had to step up the production to meet increased demand.(=to increase the amount of effort, pressure etc, or increase the speed of something)



The information in this report gives us the (we know which information and power)

power to target our advertising.

Information is power. (information and power in general)

The insurance business is doing well. (we know which business)

Business is going well at the moment. (business in general)

The negotiating was a lot easier last time. (we know which negotiating)

Negotiating with suppliers takes a lot of time. (negotiating in general)


 A common mistake is to use the with plural nouns and uncountable nouns used in a general way. Small companies often grow faster. (NOT The email companies) For me, football is like life. (NOT For me, the football is like the life.)




We have to wind up the company because we cant pay our debts.(=to end or to end something)




Exercise 1 (A, B, D)

Underline the correct words.


1 Where's a/the fax they sent this morning? I can't find it.

2 I have an/the appointment at a/the bank.

3 I had a / the very good holiday. A/The weather was marvellous.

4 I've been working so hard that I need a/the break.

5 They are a/the largest manufacturer of light bulbs in a/the world.

6 A/The presentation was a/the great success.

7 Can I give you a/the lift to the station?

8 I think I need a/the new pair of glasses.

9 We need to reach a/the decision as soon as possible.

10 There must be an/the answer to a/the problem.

11 Mike is an/the accountant. He works on another/the other side of town.

12 His office is a/the biggest one in a / the building.

13 Where is a / the document that we were looking at just now?

14 The Portuguese/The Portuguese people are very good negotiators.


Exercise 2 (A, B, C, E)

Put either a/an or a dash (-) to show no article.


1 ..... money makes the world go round.

2 Sheila drives..... . French car.

3 Rita works in ..... insurance agency in Lisbon.

4 ..... health is the most important thing in ..... life.

5 This is ..... good time for ..... sales of new cars.

6 This is the number to call for ..... information.

7 I've got ..... colleague who is ..... systems analyst.

8 ..... product knowledge is very important for ..... sales representative.

9 He is ..... engineer. He studied ..... engineering at university.

10 We produce ..... full sales report four times ..... year.


Exercise 3 (A, B, C, D, E)

Put either a/an, the or a dash (-) to show no article.




After carefully weighing up the costs and benefits of using solar energy, the committee gave its approval.(=to compare the advantages and disadvantages of a situation, so that you can make a decision)


1 ..... Italians have given us ..... lot of ..... business...... most people thought that it was ..... very good product.

2 I like to drink .. glass of ..... wine in ..... evening.

3 I wish I could speak ..... English like ..... English.

4 As soon as ..... Helen gets off ..... plane, ask her to give me ..... call.

5 ..... smoking is not permitted in this area.

6 There's ..... visitor at ..... reception desk.

7 When I arrived at ..... airport, I had ..... drink and waited for ..... flight.

8 I want ..... action, not ..... words.

9 ..... person with ..... MBA usually gets ..... good job.

10 I'll get you .............. coffee from ..... machine.

11 Marie comes from ..... France.




The chairman stepped down after doing the job for ten years.(=to leave an important job or official position)


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