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The definite article in English is “the”

The indefinite article is “a” or “an”.

Before a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) we use “an” eg “an elephant”.

Before a consonant (b,c,d,f,g,h,j,k,l,m,n,p,q,r,s,t,v,w,x,y,z) we use “a” eg “a dog”

We use “a” to show any one (no specific one)

He went to a restaurant.

He went to a travel agent.

After that if we refer to the same object or place in the same conversation again, we use “the”.

He ate lunch in the restaurant.

He bought a ticket at the travel agent.

Look at the conversation “I was doing yoga” to see examples.

Note that there is no article with proper names of people eg “Mark” not “the Mark” or places eg “Delhi” not “the Delhi”

Note that “a travel agent” becomes “the travel agent” for the rest of the conversation because it is the same travel agent. If you say “a travel agent”, it would mean another one (not the same one).

Note that “a Japanese guy” becomes “the Japanese guy” because it is the same guy.

Note that “another customer” becomes “the other customer” because it is the same customer.

Test: If you wanted to ask the Japanese guy about the price of his yoga class, would you ask:

How much was a yoga class?

or

How much was the yoga class?

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30 Responses to “Articles”

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  1. nina says:

    hi,i think this is right to say:”how much was the yoga class?” because,as some guys said,its known for us.(thank you for good explanation!)

  2. Tod Defrank says:

    I don’t agree with it, many thanks for making the effort to write it down

  3. .Abdusalam Mabrouk Dufan says:

    hi,
    could you do me a favour ? i want to know how the Yoga class will cost me.

    thanks a lot….

    and i will keep my fingers crossed for you.

  4. simin says:

    how much was the yuga class? bc it was defined

  5. ekchanthorn says:

    please sent me this lesson

  6. Rivo says:

    Hi there,

    This is a simple but a big problem.

    WHEN to PRONOUNCE “a” either as /schwa/ OR /long a/ ??
    Similarly, WHEN to PRONOUNCE “an” either as /schwa + n/ OR /short a + n/ ??

    IPA transcription
    “a”
    /long a/ == /e?/
    /scwha/ == /?/

    “an”
    /short a + n/ == /æn/
    /schwa + n/ == /?n/

    OR the following are the transcriptions from Collins Online Dictionary (http://www.collinslanguage.com/results.aspx?context=4&reversed=False&action=define&homonym=-1&text=a)

    a
    [?]
    [e? strong]

    an
    [?n]
    [æn strong]

    BUT WHEN TO USE THEM? (There are neither examples nor explanations)

    • Rivo says:

      Oops…
      Pay attention to some strange thing in my post. As I guessed the schwa and /short i/* symbols are not recognized by the system, and replaced by “?” symbol :-). So please, you can either try to understand my wordy explanation such as /long/ and /short/ OR follow the Collins Online Dictionary link to know HOW the transcription look like. ^_^

      */short i/ symbol as in the word “is”, “hit”, “mix”

      peace. GB

    • Aaron says:

      Hi Rivo….Good question. The answer is: it does not matter which pronunciation you use and when. Both pairs of pronunciations to which you refer are pretty much interchangeable.

      However, in North American English the long vowel sounds are often used in favor of the schwa sounds whenever the speaker deems it necessary to emphasize the particle.

  7. Bandu Maran RoiSan says:

    thank you very much for your guided me
    I think “how much was a yoga class” is correct.

  8. attiya says:

    well i say
    how much is a yoga class

  9. wana says:

    “how much is the class?”

  10. wana says:

    ”How much is the yoga class?”

  11. dinesh says:

    how much is a yoga class?

  12. Doris Gongar says:

    i’m so impress to be a part of this class because i want my english a improved one.

  13. mariam says:

    How much is the yoga class?

  14. Mark White says:

    You are right, Taher.
    You would probably say:
    “How much was your yoga class?”
    However “How much is a yoga class?” is also possible.
    If you say “the yoga class”, you are referring to that particular class. If you say “a yoga class” you are referring to any yoga class.

    Of course all yoga classes (at that school) are the same price so both patterns are possible.

    cheers Mark

  15. Taher Galaleddine says:

    yes, i agree with Travis because i already know that the japanese guy’s class in defined place which he use. so that i will ask him:
    How much is the yoga class? (not) how much is a youga class?
    Right or wrong?

  16. TRAVIS says:

    HOW MUCH IS THE YOGA CLASS? BECAUSE U ALREADY KNOW THE JAPANESE’S YOGA CLASS AND HE ALREADY KNOWS WHAT CLASS YOU TALKING ABOUT

  17. Mustafa says:

    how much for a yoga class?

  18. Naresh Panchal says:

    How many fees in your yoga class ?

  19. bpsingh says:

    hi dear
    yoga is a good exercise for all of us. i think u should ask him that “how much ll u take for an yoga class.” where r u? u went to risikesh.. is is in inda. thats a nice nd peace place. if u can practice yoga in ur home then its ok.. bt if u wanna join yoga class then its also ok.. its depend on u.u can watch the ramdev baba’s yoga class. i think its helpful to u. ramdev baba is such a great person. he gives idea abt all the yogas.. nd which yoga for which disease…by
    tc

  20. Mark White says:

    Hi Guys

    I think I paid about three or four US dollars an hour. The US dollar is down now so I guess it would be more expensive. It was reasonable though. I did two hours of yoga every day while I was in Rishikesh. It was great.

    Mark

  21. Alan says:

    It is “How much is a yoga class.”

  22. ngoc Minh says:

    If I wanted to ask the Japanese guy about the price of his yoga class, would I ask:

    How much was an yoga class?

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