Posts tagged articles
English Lesson: Articles with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
As I’m sure you know, food is one of my highest joys in life. I especially love breakfast. There is something about breakfast food like eggs, toast, and bacon that makes me feel good. My sister, on the other hand, likes brunch. The brunch at a hotel in town is very good, and we go there once in a while to have it. As for dinner, I like a variety of restaurants. From steak to sushi, I’m happy going out seven days a week…if I could.
The nouns we use for meals (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper) sometimes take an article, and sometimes don’t. Do you know the rules? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson:
When breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper are used to refer to our everyday meals, they is no article.
- I can skip lunch, but I need to have breakfast each morning.
- Paul invited me to have brunch at his house on Sunday.
- What do you usually have dinner?
When breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper are used to refer to special events, or set meals at restaurants, then you need to use an article with them.
- The breakfast at the hotel includes juice, coffee, unlimited buffet, and dessert.
- Lori said the Sunday brunch at the Plaza is amazing.
- I was invited to a dinner for Jack’s retirement.
Which is your favorite meal of the day? What do you like to eat for breakfast? What time do you usually eat dinner?
I saw a man and a woman today. The man was very short, and the woman was very tall. The man was carrying a newspaper. I don’t usually read the newspaper. The news is generally bad anyway, so why bother.
We spent some time this week talking about nouns and the indefinite articles a and an. Click here if you need to review. Today, let’s talk about the definite article, the. There are three basic rules for using the.
Talking about specific or particular things
When a noun represents a specific or particular thing, use the. Compare the following sentences:
1. I ate a banana. (It’s not a specific banana, just one of many)
2. I ate the banana I bought yesterday. (It’s a specific banana – the banana I bought yesterday)
1. We had a meeting this morning. (It’s not a particular meeting, just one of many)
2. We had the budget meeting this morning (It’s a particular meeting – the budget meeting)
1. Jenny gave me a nice pen. (There are many pens, Jenny gave me one)
2. Thanks for the nice pen you gave me. (The nice pen is specifically the one you gave me)
Mentioning something for the second time
When you mention a general noun the second time in the conversation, use the. When you talk about something for the second time, that something is a particular thing, so we use the for the second mention.
- I saw a man and a woman today. The man was very short, and the woman was very tall. (The second time I mention man and woman, I use the)
- I have a car. The car is a Jeep.
- I heard a noise last night. The noise came from the backyard.
Talking about common knowledge
When you believe the listener knows the specific thing you are talking about, use the. When you talk about something that is common knowledge, that something is a particular thing, so we use the for things that are common knowledge.
- I don’t usually read the newspaper. (I believe you understand what a newspaper is. It’s common knowledge)
- The news is generally bad anyway, so why bother. (I believe you understand what news is. It’s common knowledge)
- Someone took my bag! Call the police! (I believe you know what I mean when I say the police. It’s common knowledge)
- Joe is sick. He went to the hospital last night. (I believe you know what I mean when I say the hospital. It’s common knowledge)
These are the basic rules of articles. The basic rules. There are a lot of exceptions as well and we will cover those at a later date. Thanks for studying today.
Before moving ahead, let’s take a moment to review the concepts that we have covered so far. For more details, check out the previous three lessons from this week.
Countable and non-countable nouns
There are two kinds of nouns in English, countable & non-countable. Countable nouns can be counted with numbers. A countable noun is a noun that you can count with a number. For example, 1 banana, 2 oranges, 3 dogs, 5 cars, etc. Non-countable nouns cannot be counted with a number. Liquids, like water and milk, group nouns, like fruit and furniture, and abstract words like love and trouble are not countable.
Talking about things in general.
When you want to talk about things in general, use a countable noun in the plural form, or a non-countable noun like this:
- I like dogs.
- Bananas are yellow.
- Fruit is very good for you.
- Water covers most of the earth.
You can also use a or an before a countable noun when making generalizations, like this:
- A dog is a good pet.
- An apple is red.
- A vacation would be nice.
Talking about one of many
When you talk about something that is non-specific or ”one of many”, use a or an before a countable noun, like this:
- I bought a pen.
- The zoo is helping an elephant.
- Did you eat a banana today?
- I think there is a meeting tomorrow morning.
Singular, countable nouns (like pen, elephant, banana, meeting, etc.) NEVER travel alone. In addition to a or an, you can use a possessive noun or pronoun before such a noun, like this:
- I have an alligator.
- I have Naomi’s alligator.
- It’s her alligator.
- It’s my alligator.
- I want that alligator.
- This alligator is cute!
Ok. That is all for our review. Tomorrow, we will move on to the. Thanks for studying today!