Session 2

Most of us love to talk about our holidays and travels – and in English, that means using articles. So, when and how should we use them? In this session, Emma hears some more travellers' tales as we explore the rules of the articles a, an and the

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Session 2 score

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    Activity 1
  • 0 / 4
    Activity 2
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    Activity 3

Activity 1

Learn the language: articles

A virtual postcard

It's good to keep in touch with friends when they go abroad - but not when they're bragging about their holiday. Rob sent Emma a message from a very exciting location. Take a look - and listen out for the articles a and an.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello again. My friends are so lucky - they always seem to have the time and money to go on holiday to some really nice places. Rob's just put a message on Facebook...

"Hi! I'm in Sydney, Australia. Wow, what a great place this is. I've been to a concert at the famous Opera House. I went to Bondi Beach but I couldn't go in the sea because a lifeguard said he'd seen a shark. I went on an amazing trip to the Blue Mountains - it's only an hour away on the bus - and I got to stroke a koala bear. The trip's cost an arm and a leg but it's well worth it."

An arm and a leg? That sounds painful! Oh I'd love to go to Australia. How about you - where would you like to go to?

Did you notice the articles Rob used in his virtual postcard? Here is an explanation of how and when to use a and an. Have a read, and try the activity to test your understanding.

Articles 'a' and 'an': meaning and use 

a or an means one person or thing.

We use a or an:

1) before singular nouns: I've been to a concert. We had a great day and we saw an elephant. 

2) before the name of a job: My sister wants to be an engineer.

Articles and adjectives

Adjectives go between a or an and the noun: What a great place this is! I went on an amazing trip.

A or an?

Use a before consonant sounds: a chair, a horse, a laptop

This includes letters u or eu when they are pronounced y (/j/): a university, a euro

Use an before vowel sounds. These words usually start with a, e, i, o, u: an architect, an idea, an umbrella

Also use an with words that start with the letter h when the h is not pronounced: an hour, an honour

To do

Now check your understanding with this activity. Look at the notes if you need help.


Click here to download the video (size: 15.2MB).

‘a’ and ‘an’

7 Questions

Choose the correct article to fill each gap

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How was that? Easy? Well there are more rules about articles to learn on the next page. Prepare to hear more travel stories and learn about using articles with place names.

Session Vocabulary

  • bragging
    telling everyone that something you have or did was very good, often making them feel jealous

    someone whose job is to watch over a swimming pool or part of the sea where people swim, to make sure they are safe

    cost an arm and a leg
    be very expensive

    virtual postcard
    a message you send over the internet to tell someone about a place that you are visiting, usually as a holiday