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Use of a, an and the in special cases

We use a or an before singular countable nouns.
Did you do the translation with a dictionary.
You cant enter the theatre without a ticket.
Mary is working as a janitor.


His car met with an accident


I waited for an hour at the bus halt.
Its a rainy day. Take an umbrella.

We use a or an after hasnít or havenít?.
Nita hasnít got a pen.
You havenít taken a haircut.
John hasnít seen a procession.
The beggar hasnít taken a bath for a few days.
They havenít got a car.

We use a or an in exclamations.
What a grand idea!
Itís a crazy idea!
What a comedown!
What an exciting match!
What a pity!

We use a or an before hundred, thousand million and billion?
The printing of the book took a hundred days.
A thousand people walked behind their leader.
What would you do if you won a million rupees.
He has saved a billion dollars.
He gave me a hundred rupee note.

Common expressions with the.
Your hair is the same colour as your motherís.
Most of the children live in the country.
We prefer the country to the city.
He likes to climb the mountains in the island.
The church is on the left.
Write your name at the top of the page.

Mary is working as a janitor


I frequently go to the cinema.
Most of us go the theatre on Sundays.

We do not use a, an? or the with possessives.
Write your address here, please.
My friend helped me to find a job.
His car met with an accident.
Your camera is in the cupboard.
Their house was robbed last night.
Her face is round.

[Activity]

Put in a, an, the or - in the blanks and check your answers with the key.

1. My parents live in .... big apartment.
2. Whereís .......... toilet?
3. My colleague has got ....... loud voice.
4. She doesnít like ........ animals.
5. I donít play ....... cricket.
6. ........ music is too loud, please turn it down.
7. Have you ever seen ........ Taj Mahal?
8. My friendís son is ...... doctor.
9. Amanda works at ........ HIlton.
10. ........ Mahaweli is ...... longest river in Sri Lanka.

Key:

a 2. the 3. a 4. - 5. - 6. The 7. the 8. a 9. the 10. The, the


Match words and meanings

Here?s an exciting way to enrich your vocabulary. Match the words in column A with their meanings in column B and check your answers with the key. The first has been done for you.


[Column A]

P 1. cringe
... 2. crisis
... 3. crisp
... 4. criterion
... 5. criticise
... 6. croak
... 7. crockery
... 8. crone
... 9. crook
... 10. crooked
... 11. croon
... 12. crossfire
... 13. crotchety
... 14. croupier
... 15. crowded
... 16. crucial
... 17. crude
... 18. cruel
... 19. cruise
... 20. crumb
... 21. crumble
... 22. crummy
... 23. crumple
... 24. crusade
... 25. crush

[Column B]

A. simple and not skilfully done
B. a very small piece of bread
C. extremely unkind
D. to break something into small pieces
E. of very bad quality
F. a journey on a large ship for pleasure
G. full of people
H. bullets fired towards you from different directions
I. hard enough to be broken easily
J. someone who works in a casino
K. often in a bad mood and easily annoyed
L. dishonest
M. an unpleasant woman
N. cups, plates and bowls made of China
O. to express disapproval of someone or something
P. to feel very embarrassed
Q. to press something hard to break it
R. a determined attempt to achieve something
S. to become full of folds
T. extremely important
U. to sing or talk in a sweet low voice
V. a dishonest person
W. to speak in a rough voice
X. a standard by which you judge
Y. a time of great disagreement

Key:

2. Y 3. I 4. X 5. O 6. W 7. N 8. M 9. V 10. L 11. U 12. H 13. K 14. J 15. G 16. T 17. A 18. C 19. F 20. B 21. D 22. E 23. S 24. R 25. Q


This, that, these? and ?those?

?This? is used for someone or something near the speaker.
This man is lying.
This clock has stopped.


This is an Indian musician


This building is about to collapse.
This is the man who sold me the watch.
This food is stale.

?These? is used for people or things near the speaker. It is the plural form of ?this.?
These men are idling.
These books are very expensive.
These posters should be removed.
These girls are good dancers.
These boys can run very fast.

We use ?that? for someone or something further away from us.
That man has been selling sweep tickets for two years.
That dog has bitten several children.
That house is to be auctioned.
That car is very expensive.
That woman is a beggar.

We use ?those? for people or things further away from us. It is the plural form of ?that.?
Those curtains are very cheap.
Those apples are rotten.
Those boys are playing truant.
Those undergraduates are boycotting lectures.
Those ships are sailing to Hambantota.

When we are in a place or situation we use ?this? to refer to it.
You can have a nice view of the sea from this room.
This play is boring, shall we go home?
There is no quorum and this meeting will never start.
This is the place from which the killer fired his gun.
This is the hospital where my sister works.

We use ?this? to introduce people.
This is Bob, an engineer from the United States.
This is an Indian musician.
This is the boy who passed the G.C.E. Advanced Level examination with flying colours.
This is the girl who won the gold medal for English speech.
This is the teacher who taught me English.

We use ?that? to identify people.
That's Sam sitting over there.
That's rosy who studied with me in college.
That's the planter who sold all his estates.
That's the man who owns a chain of hotels.
That's the manager of the Green Bank.

We use ?this? on the phone to say who we are. We use ?this? or ?that? to ask who the other person is.
Hello, this is Hardy speaking.
Who is this / that, please?

We use ?this? and ?these? to mean ?near in time.?
What have you planned for this week?
Where will you be during this vacation?
Are you busy these days?

We use ?that? to mean ?further away from time.?
Do you remember that day we met for the time?
Those were the days!


Quiz on idioms

An idiom is a special kind of phrase. It is a group of words which have a different meaning when used together from the one it would have if the meaning of each word were taken individually. Tick the meaning of each idiom in bold and check your answers with the key.

1. If someone is building castles in the air ...
(a) they have unrealistic plans
(b) they are building big houses
(c) they have a clear vision of the future

2. In a game of cat and mouse ...
(a) one person tries to kill the other
(b) one person tries to deceive the other
(c) one person tries to help the other

3. If you refer to someone as a cat on a hot tin roof ...
(a) they are very warm-hearted
(b) they are very happy
(c) they are very nervous

4. If someone thinks that they are the cat's whiskers ...
(a) they are very pleased with themselves
(b) they are deceiving themselves
(c) they are very unhappy

5. If two people fight like cat and dog ...
(a) they like each other's company
(b) they frequently have violent arguments
(c) they like to live peacefully

6. If someone is grinning like a Cheshire cat ...
(a) they are laughing loudly
(b) they are crying bitterly
(c) they are grinning broadly in a foolish way

7. If someone lets the cat out of the bag ...
(a) they reveal something secret
(b) they put the cat out of the bag
(c) they don't know what they are doing

8. If a person or animal moves like a scalded cat ...
(a) they move very slowly
(b) they move very fast
(c) they move stealthily

9. If someone looks like the cat that got the cream ...
(a) they look satisfied with themselves
(b) they look frightened
(c) they look confused

10. If someone looks like something the cat dragged in ...
(a) they look annoyed
(b) they look very fresh
(c) they look very unpleasant

Key:

1. (a) 2. (b) 3. (c) 4. (a) 5. (b) 6. (c) 7. (a) 8. (b) 9. (a) 10. (c)

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