Article Chart

Article Chart


ESLgold Apple_Bird_Child



(This one, that one)

(This/that group)

Which one?

Which ones?


Any one

Any group

One of many

One of many groups


In general



The apple

The bird

The child

An apple

A bird

A child





The apples

The birds

The children

Some apples

Some birds

Some children




Non-count The water

The information

Some water

Some information




Specific articles are used with nouns which have been identified previously. (The speaker and the listener both know which thing/person/substance/idea is being referred to.)

  • The teacher is coming up the stairs.

(Both listener and speaker know which teacher and which stairs.)

  • Give me the red shirt. (I know which one you are talking about.)

Non-specific articles are used with nouns that have not been identified previously (by both the speaker and the listener.) They are used with items that have not been singled-out yet. (Note: As soon as the items are identified, they require a specific article.)

  • I want a candy bar. (Any candy bar will do.)
  • Which one do you want? (Asking for specification)
  • The one on the right. (I choose that one.)

  • Give me some milk. (Any milk is fine.)
  • I need some new shoes. (But I haven’t decided which ones to buy yet.)


  • I bought some shoes at Valmart. (I know which shoes, but you don’t.)
  • These are the shoes that I bought. (Now we both know which ones.)


Non-count and plural nouns are used without articles in the generic sense.

  • Cats are afraid of dogs. (in general)
  • Water is necessary for survival.

*However, singular count nouns cannot stand alone in a sentence, so an article (usually a or an) is used.

  • Oranges contain Vitamin C. (generally)
  • Orange contains Vitamin C. (incorrect)
  • An orange contains Vitamin C. (okay)

If you have questions or comments about this page, please contact us.

ESL Videos to help you speak English

Rosetta Stone – English

Speak English as a Second Language

Learning English – Lesson One

English Greetings & Phrases

English Pronunciation

English – Introductions