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Dərs 41: 1/5 - Qrammatika dərsləri. (seçdiyiniz səviyyə: advanced)


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We use a before nouns and noun phrases thar begin with a consonant sound. If the noun or noun phrase starts with a vowel letter but begins with a consonant sound, we also use a:

  • a university       a European      a one-parent family

We use an before words that begin with a vowel sound:

  • an orange      an Italian      an umbrella

These include words that begin with a silent letter 'h':

  • an hour      an honest child      an honour      an honorary degree

and abbreviations said as individual letters that begin with A, E, F, H, I, L, M, N, O, R, S or X:

  • an_MP       an_FBI agent       an IOU

But compare abbreviations said as words:

  • a NATO general a FIFA official but an OPEC meeting

Notice that we say

  • a history (book)   but an (or a) historical (novel)

We use a/an (not one) to talk about a particular but unspecified person, thing or event:

  • I really need a cup of coffee.
  • You never see a police officer in this part of town, do you?

We also use a/an, not one, in number and quantity expressions such as:

  • three times a year    half an hour    a quarter of an hour    a day or so (= 'about a day') 50 cents a (= each) litre (notice we can also say '50 cents for one litre')
    a week or two (= somewhere between one and two weeks; notice we can also say 'one or two weeks')
    a few      a little      a huge number of...

We use a rather than one in the pattern a...of... with possessives, as in:

  • She's a colleague of mine.
  • That's a friend of Bill's.

Before a singular countable noun one and a/an both refer to one thing:

  • We'll be in Australia for one year, (or ...a year.)
  • Wait here for one minute, and I'll be with you. (or ...a minute...)

Using one in sentences like these gives a little more emphasis to the length of time, quantity, amount, etc.:

  • He weighs one hundred and twenty kilos! Would you believe it! (using one emphasises the weight more than using a)

However, we use one rather than a/an if we want to emphasise that we are talking about only one thing or person rather than two or more:

  • Do you want one sandwich or two?
  • Are you staying only one night?
  • I just took one look at her and she started crying.

We use one, not a/an, in the pattern one...other/another:

  • Close one eye, and then the other.
  • Bees carry pollen from one plant to another.

We also use one in phrases such as one day, one evening, one spring, etc. to mean a particular, but unspecified day, evening, spring, etc.:

  • Hope to see you again one day.
  • One evening, while he was working late at the office...

We usually use the when we talk about things which are unique - there is only one of them (or one set of them):

  • the world    the sky    the atmosphere    the sun    the ground    the climate     the sea the horizon    the human race    the environment    the travel industry    the arms trade

We also refer to general geographical areas with the as in:

  • the beach      the country      the countryside      the town      the seaside      the forest where 'the country' or 'the countryside' means 'the area where there are no towns'.

We also talk about:

  • the past      the present      the future

Notice, however, that some nouns like this can be used with zero article (i.e. no article) to refer to a concept in general:

  • Climate is one of the many factors involved in changing farming methods, (or The climate...)
  • The flowers grow best in sandy soil and sun. (= sunshine)
  • In autumn the temperature difference between land and sea reduces, (or ...the land and the sea...)

If we want to describe a particular instance of these we can use a/an. Compare:

  • I could see the plane high up in the sky. and
  • When I woke up there was a bright blue sky.
  • What are your plans for the future? and
  • She dreamt of a future where she could spend more time painting.

We can use the when we make generalisations about classes of things using singular countable nouns. Compare the use of the and a/an in these sentences:

  • The computer has revolutionised publishing, (this refers to computers in general) but not A computer has revolutionised publishing, (computers in general have done this, not an individual computer)
  • The computer is an important research tool, and   A computer is an important research tool, (this statement is true of both the general class and the individual item)

As an alternative to the singular countable noun we can use a plural countable noun to talk about a class of things:

  • Computers are an important research tool.

Notice that if the is used with plural and uncountable nouns we refer to a specific thing or group:

  • The computers have arrived. Where shall I put them?
  • The music was wonderful. I could have listened to the orchestra all night.

When we define something or say what is typical of a particular class of people or things, we generally use a/an rather than the:

  • A corkscrew is a gadget for getting corks out of bottles.
  • A garden is there to give you pleasure, not to be a constant worry.

Some nouns can be used uncountably when we talk about the whole substance or idea, but countably when we talk about an instance or more than one instance of it. When these nouns are used countably we can use a/an (and plurals). Compare:

  • I don't drink coffee.    and   Would you like a coffee? (= a cup of coffee)
  • She's got blonde hair,  and   There's a hair in my soup!
  • He shook with fear.    and   He has a fear of heights.

There are many other nouns like this, including conversation, grammar, importance, iron, pleasure, shampoo, sound. Some of these nouns (e.g. grammar, iron) have different meanings when they are used countably and uncountably.

We use a/an ro say what a person's job is, was, or will be:

  • She was a company director when she retired.
  • Against her parents' wishes, she wants to be a journalist.

However, when we give a person's job title, or their unique position, we use the or zero article (i.e. no article), not a/an. Compare:

  • She's been appointed (the) head of the company, and
  • I'm a production manager at Fino. (= there may be more than one production manager)

After the position of, the post of, or the role of we use zero article before a job title:

  • Dr Simons has taken on the position of Head of Department.

We usually use zero article (i.e. no article) before the name of an individual person or place. However, we use the -
* when there are two people with the same name and we want to specify which one we are talking about:

  • That's not the Stephen Fraser I went to school with.

but compare 'There was a Stephen Fraser in my class.' (= a person named Stephen Fraser)

* when we want to emphasise that the person we are referring to is the most famous person with that name.Used this way, the is stressed and pronounced:

  • Do they mean the Ronald Reagan, or someone else?

* with an adjective to describe a person, or another noun which tells us their job:

  • the late Buddy Holly
  • the artist William Turner

* when we talk about a family as a whole:

  • The Robinsons are away this weekend.

Notice that a/an, or sometimes zero article, is used with a name when referring to the particular excellent qualities of the person named:

  • Jane plays tennis well, but she'll never be (a) Steffi Graf.

We also use a/an when we refer to an individual example of a product made by a particular manufacturer (e.g I've just bought a Mercedes) or a work by a particular artist (e.g. Do you think it could be a Van Gogh/a Rembrandt?).

You can use a/an before a person's name if you don't know the person yourself. Compare:

  • Dr Perch is here for you. (= I know Dr Perch) and
  • There's a Dr Kenneth Perch on the phone. (= I haven't heard of him before) Do you want to talk to him?

In stories and jokes in conversation, this is commonly used instead of a/an to introduce a new person or thing. Using this highlights the person or thing as the topic of what is to come next:

  • As I was walking along, this spider (= 'a spider') landed on my head, and...
  • This man (= 'a man') goes into a chemist and he says...

We use the before a superlative adjective (the biggest, the most expensive, etc.) when the superlative adjective is followed by a noun or defining phrase:

  • He is the finest young player around at the moment.

However, we can often leave out the, particularly in an informal style, when there is no noun or defining phrase after the superlative adjective. Compare:

  • a: Why did you decide to stay in this hotel?
    b: It was (the) cheapest, and It was the cheapest I could find.

With plural and uncountable nouns, zero article (i.e. no article) is used to talk generally, without definite people or things in mind. The is used when we assume the listener or reader will understand who or what we are referring to, or when other words in the noun phrase make the reference specific. Compare:

  • The government has promised not to tax books. (= books generally) and
    The books have arrived. (= the books you ordered)
  • Music played an important part in his life. (= music generally) and
    I thought the music used in the film was the best part. (= this particular music)

We often use zero article with the names of holidays, special times of the year, months, and days of the week including Easter, Ramadan, New Year's Day. But compare:

  • I'll see you on Saturday. (= next Saturday)   
    We met on Saturday. (= last Saturday)
  • They arrived on a Saturday as far as I can remember, (we are only interested in the day of the week, not which particular Saturday)
    They arrived on the Saturday after my birthday, (a particular Saturday, specifying which one)

With winter, summer, spring, autumn, and New Year (meaning the holiday period), we can use either zero article or the:

  • In (the) summer I try to spend as much time as I can in the garden.

We use the when it is understood or we go on to specify which summer, spring, etc. we mean:

  • I'd like to go skiing in the autumn. (= this year) □ I first went skiing in the spring of 1992.

We say 'in the New Year' to mean near the beginning of next year:

  • I'll see you again in the New Year.

When we want to describe the features of a particular holiday, season, or other period of time and say that it was somehow special when compared with others, we can use It/That was... a/an noun modifying phrase. Compare:

  • That was a winter I'll never forget. (= compared to other winters it was unforgettable) and
    That was the winter we went to Norway. (= a statement about a particular winter)

We use zero article with times of the day and night such as midnight, midday, and noon:

  • If possible, I'd like it finished by midday.  
  • Midnight couldn't come quickly enough.

But notice that we can say either the dawn or dawn:

  • He got back into bed and waited for (the) dawn.

We use the morning/afternoon/evening for a day which is understood or already specified:

  • I enjoyed the morning, but in the afternoon the course was boring. But compare:
  • Morning is the time I work best. (= mornings in general; The morning... is also possible)
  • I'll be there by (the) morning/evening, (but the afternoon, not afternoon)
  • I waited all morning, (more usual than all the morning/afternoon, etc.)
  • 'You look upset.' 'Yes, I've had a terrible morning.' (= compared to other mornings)

We use by zero article to talk about means of transport and communication, including go/travel by car/taxi/bus/plane/train/air/sea; contact/communicate by post/email/phone. Compare:

  • I generally go by bus to work,   and
    I generally take the bus to work.

We often use zero article in patterns where repeated or related words are joined by a preposition and used with a general meaning:

  • The government makes grants according to criteria that differ from region to region.

Other examples include person to person, back to back, end to end, face to face, side by side, start to finish, day by day, put pen to paper.



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