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The Article Chart

The Article Chart

Begin by looking at the noun in your sentence.

Is the noun common or proper?

If the noun is a proper noun, it will take either no article, or the definite article "the."

For detailed rules about using articles with proper nouns, you can consult the handout The Use of Articles with Proper Nouns, created by the Graduate Writing Center at Yale University.

If the noun is a common noun, is it count or non-count?

If the noun is non-count, determine if it is specific or non-specific.

If specific, use "the"

If non-specific, use no article

If the noun is count, determine if it is singular or plural.

If singular, determine if the noun is specific or non-specific.

If specific, use "the"

If non-specific, use "a" or "an"

If plural, determine if the noun is specific or non-specific.

If specific, use "the"

If non-specific, use no article

 

 

Handout created by Sarah Bermingham, Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley

©2006 UC Regents

Handout revised by Carolyn Swalina, Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley

©2011 UC Regents

 

 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.